Norwich City Under-18s took an emphatic 5-1 win over West Brom Under-18s on the opening day of the 2020-21 U18 Premier League season on Saturday afternoon.
Under-18s coach and head of football development Steve Weaver named a starting XI of second-year scholars, with notable players such as Eddie Jackson, Jaden Warner, Tom Dickson-Peters and Jon Rowe coming back into the starting line-up since their last outing.
City started strong early on, winning a free-kick on the edge of West Brom’s box in the fifth minute. Tony Springett swung in a nice delivery for Zak Brown to nod it towards goal, his header just wide of the post.
West Brom came back swinging after the Canaries close call, as Mo Faal capitalised on a defensive miscommunication to get behind the backline. The West Brom striker was pushed to a tight angle by Brown, causing his shot to spill wide.
Just after the 15-minute mark, City found the opener. A textbook through ball from Springett broke the defensive lines for Dickson-Peters to take it in his stride nicely, keeping his cool to slot it through the ‘keeper's legs to find the lead.
Settling into the game and dictating the pace, it was inevitable for the young Canaries to find their second goal. Dispossessing West Brom with an intense press, the ball soon found Abu Kamara in the box who, much like Dickson-Peters, was clinical to see it past the ‘keeper for their second goal.
West Brom felt they should have had a penalty just minutes later, claiming Jackson had handled the ball in the box as he went in with a slide tackle. The referee was right there with it, waving off any appeal as play resumed.
To make things worse for West Brom, this resumption would lead to yet another goal in favour of the hosts. Attacking the left flank, Sean Stewart whipped a great ball into the box for Dickson-Peters, who laced past the ‘keeper for his brace in a high scoring affair.
As the first-half was coming to an end, West Brom brought another goal on themselves, bringing Jon Rowe down from behind in the 18-yard box. There was no question in who’d take the spot kick as Dickson-Peters stepped up, sending the ‘keeper the wrong way to finish off his first-half hat-trick.
Four first-half goals and a hat-trick among them, the first 45 minutes was a rampant display from the young Canaries in their first game of the season.
Despite City starting comfortably in the second-half and enjoying most of the early possession, it was West Brom who scored first after the interval.
England Under-17 international Rico Richards found himself in space at close-range just shy of the sixty-minute mark, making sure the Baggies wouldn’t make the same mistakes as earlier on in the match, lacing it past Blair to make it 4-1.
West Brom came close to making it 4-2 just before the 80th minute, but their options were limited. Centre-half Jaden Warner stood firm and guided the attack to a tight angle, their subsequent effort wide as a result, keeping the Canaries in firm control of the game at 4-1.
Dickson-Peters quickly looked to punish the visitors as he went up the other end for a chance of his own. Hunting his fourth goal of the afternoon, the striker was left disappointed, ringing the ball off the post from a tight angle in the closing stages of the game.
Although Dickson-Peters couldn’t find the fifth goal of the afternoon, first-year scholar substitute Oscar Thorn could. Linking up with fellow substitute Harry Pitcher, the forward caught a cross nicely, volleying it past the ‘keeper to make it five.
Rounding off the full 90-minutes with another goal in a dominant win, City were well-deserving of their three points in the opening fixture of the 2020-21 U18 Premier League season.
Norwich City XI: Blair, Jackson, Warner, Brown (Shipley, 71), Stewart, Springett (Thorn, 70), Earley (Pitcher, 55), Khumbeni, Rowe, Dickson-Peters, Kamara
Subs not used: Duffy, Alidor-Hamilton
Goals: Dickson-Peters (16, 31, 40) Kamara (21), Thorn (88)
Bookings: Rowe (84)
West Brom XI: Boruc, Ingram, De Sousa (N’Goma, 46), Lamb (Ohaha, 65), Macuisa, Ashworth, Richards, Iroegbunam, Faal (Malcolm, 56), Teixeira, Shepherd
Subs not used: Dwyer, Emery
Goals: Richards (58)