Norwich City Under-23s were left disappointed after a second half comeback saw Middlesbrough Under-23s take the win at the Lotus Training Centre on Friday afternoon.
David Wright named two changes from the side that took a 2-0 loss to Leeds United in their last fixture, with Daniel Barden coming in for Jon McCracken and Jon Rowe replacing Josh Giurgi.
Middlesbrough were the first to get the game started, making their way up the pitch and testing Daniel Barden’s reflexes early with a close-range header. It wasn’t far from the ‘keeper, who did excellently to react and tip the header over the bar in just the second-minute.
The Canaries responded well to the early attack, going up the other end and having a go of their own in front of the Boro goal, Reece McAlear firing just over the bar from the edge of the 18-yard box.
Zach Dronfield found the next City chance, catching a volley inside the box as a result of a corner, his effort also shooting over the crossbar from eight-yards out.
Tackled in another attack, Tyrese Omotoye did well to recover the ball, going on to beat three players before trying his luck from outside the box, forcing a deflection from the Boro defence just after the 20-minute mark.
After a back-and-forth between both sides, Jon Rowe was given a free shot on the edge of the box on his first U23s start, mistiming his effort as the ball curled wide of the post.
Barden was called into action once more in the first half, coming out to smother an attack well from the visitors before a shot could be taken.
After facing some pressure in the last ten-minutes of the first half, City found the opener through a fast-break counter-attack. Getting the ball up the pitch to Omotoye, the striker made space for himself as he shook a Boro defender off, lacing the chance into the bottom corner.
Holding out until the referees’ whistle, City went into the break with a much-deserved 1-0 lead.
Motivated by the deficit, Middlesbrough came out for the second half with an even more intense press, giving City little time on the ball as they attacked often.
Barden was called into action again in the 57th minute, making a fantastic fingertips save to tip the ball over the crossbar and keep the Canaries lead alive.
That save wouldn’t keep Boro out for much longer however, a cross at the far post seeing the visitors header the ball home to level the scoring.
Substitute Shae Hutchinson nearly got the lead back shortly after conceding. Carrying the ball into the box, the forward did well to dribble past several players before curling his shot from a tight angle, the effort just blocked as it head for the target.
Continuing their attack, the visitors were given a golden chance to take the lead, being awarded a penalty after a foul in the City 18-yard box. Converting from the spot, Middlesbrough took the lead into the last 15 minutes of the game.
Despite the Canaries’ best efforts to get the scoring back on level terms, it would be Middlesbrough who found the back of the net again before the full-time whistle.
Awarded another penalty after a pull in the City 18-yard box, Middlesbrough made no mistake in lacing the chance past Barden to end City’s hopes of taking any points from the game.
With the full-time whistle following shortly after, Middlesbrough took all three points back to Teesside after their comeback in the last 45 minutes.
Norwich City Starting XI: Barden, Vaughan, Omobamidele, Tomkinson, Stewart, Rowe (Hutchinson, 52), Dronfield (Khumbeni, 70), McAlear, Hondermarck (Kamara, 64), Dickson-Peters, Omotoye
Subs not used: Blair, Jackson, Kamara, Hutchinson, Khumbeni
Goals: Omotoye (41)
Bookings: McAlear (82)