Norwich City Under-23s took yet another win upon their return from the international break, beating Stoke City 2-1 on Friday evening.
Under-23s coach David Wright named three changes from the same side that beat Newport County 5-0 in the EFL Trophy, bringing Ethen Vaughan, Josh Giurgi and Jon McCracken back into the team in place of Bali Mumba, Josh Martin and Daniel Barden respectively.
The first chance of the game fell to the Canaries with striker Tyrese Omotoye going for a header in the Stoke 18-yard box. The forward got underneath the ball slightly, nodding it over the bar on ten minutes.
William Hondermarck then found himself as an impromptu winger when he dashed down the sideline to keep the ball in play, squaring it to Giurgi in the box. However, Stoke defended the danger well.
After a quiet period in front of goal, Zach Dronfield tested Nathan Broome’s reflexes with a header from a corner. Despite catching it nicely, the nod didn’t carry too much power as Broome caught to stifle the danger.
The Canaries wouldn’t have to wait much longer for their goal as the clock struck the 30-minute mark, Reece McAlear the scorer. Cutting inside from the left, the Scot let his shot go from distance outside the 18-yard box, curling the ball wonderfully into the far corner.
The Potters made sure the young City side wouldn’t keep that lead for long, replying with a close-range header from Douglas James Taylor after he beat Jon Tomkinson and Andrew Omobamidele to a cross, levelling the scores just four-minutes after conceding.
A goal apiece by the half-time whistle, it was the Canaries who enjoyed most of the chances and possession in the first 35-minutes, the visitors taking back a bit of control in the last ten of the 45.
As the second-half began, City resumed control of the game. A McAlear free-kick found itself to be the first real chance of the half, prompting the Potters’ goalkeeper to punch the effort away as it headed towards goal.
The visitor’s defence was called into action once more moments later to crucially block an on-target effort from close, Broome picking up the remnants of an attack by saving Omotoye’s follow-up header.
With City continuing the pressure, McAlear nearly got his second as he cut inside the box and let fly once more, the shot escaping under the ‘keeper and forcing a goal-line clearance from William Forrester.
On 75 minutes, Josh Giurgi found the much-needed goal and potential winner the young Canaries were chasing. Pressuring with continuous chances around the box, the ball finally fell to Giurgi, who cut in on his left-foot and curled his shot from the edge of the 18-yard box, finding the top corner perfectly.
Looking to wrap the game up with a third, a ball over the top beat the Potters high-line, freeing Hondermarck in a one-on-one with the ‘keeper. Attempting to round the shot-stopper, Broome clutched onto the ball with a firm grip, stopping the chance in its tracks.
Nonetheless, the Canaries continued their domination of the game, going on to take a 2-1 win over the visitors and keep yet another three points in Norfolk.
Norwich City starting XI: McCracken (c), Vaughan, Omobamidele, Tomkinson, Nizet (Khumbeni, 70), Giurgi, Dronfield, McAlear, Hondermarck, Dennis (Dickson-Peters, 55), Omotoye
Subs not used: Blair, Warner, Springett
Goals: McAlear (31), Giurgi (76)
Bookings: McCracken (39)
Stoke City starting XI: Broome, Coates, Jones, Malone, Forrester (c), Taylor, Varian (Arnold, 63), Sparrow, Taylor, Adebambo (Griffiths, 70), Verlinoen
Subs not used: Okagbue, Robson
Goals: D. Taylor (35)
Bookings: Varian (39), Malone (73)