Norwich City Under-18s were beaten 1-0 by Aston Villa in the U18 Premier League at the Lotus Training Centre on Saturday afternoon.
Under-18s coach and head of football development Steve Weaver named an unchanged side from the U18s fixture against West Brom last week, a game they won 5-1.
It was City who had the first chance of the game, making a habit of starting off on the front foot. A free-kick on the right side of the Villa 18-yard box saw Zak Brown get his head to the cross, the result brushing past the top corner.
‘Keeper Sam Blair was forced to get involved just ten minutes later, making an excellent reflex save with his feet to deny Villa, the opposition’s second shot screaming over the bar from the edge of the box.
Competition between the sides was fierce, with neither side able to get a foothold on a real chance in front of goal until the 28th minute.
That chance would be the Canaries’ as forward Jon Rowe put an early cross into the box for substitute Oscar Thorn, who came on as a replacement for Tony Springett early in the match. Thorn lined the shot up, but Villa saw the effort come to nothing as they got bodies in front to collect the ball.
Villa reminded City of their danger as the clock showed ten minutes left of the half, an early cross finding Dewain Sewell in a counter-attack. The forward was the only Villa shirt in the box, nodding it to the far corner, the header barely wide as it rolled past the post to the relief of Blair.
As the first-half finished and the second started, no competition was lost as both sides resumed their end-to-end action.
Tom Dickson-Peters, who recently signed a contract extension with the club, was on the receiving end of the first chance of the half, getting the ball in the box with space. The forward spun to get his shot off, slipping in the process as the ‘keeper saved the chance with little trouble.
Actionless until after the 60th minute from then on, the next chance was almost worth the wait. Running onto a deflected pass from about 20 yards out, Thorn laced the ball the ball on the volley with menace. The shot dipped nicely as it head for the goal, leaving the forward with his head in his hands as the effort bounced just wide.
Just after the 70th minute, Villa found that elusive first goal. Attacking the City box with multiple bodies, an effort was swung in from the left flank, substitute Harry Pitcher covering his face with his hands. The referee didn’t like what he saw however, booking Pitcher and awarding a penalty to Villa.
Brad Young stepped up, converting from the spot and giving Villa the lead in the 73rd minute.
Just minutes after scoring, Villa then went down to ten men after Brad Lindley was shown a second booking, just four minutes after his first.
With just five minutes to go, City were still chasing the leveller, their best chance coming from a Rowe counter-attack. The move saw Villa captain Paul Appiah bring down Rowe on the edge of the box, taking his second booking and subsequent red card, leaving Villa with nine men.
Continuing to chase the game, nine-man Villa parked the bus tightly, seeing the game out to take all three points in a 1-0 win.
Norwich City starting XI: Blair, Jackson (Pitcher, 69), Warner, Brown, Stewart, Springett (Thorn, 18), Earley (c), Khumbeni, Rowe, Dickson-Peters, Kamara (Duffy, 61)
Subs not used: Shipley, Alidor-Hamilton
Bookings: Pitcher (72)
Aston Villa starting XI: Marschall, Ealing, Crisene, Appiah (c), Swinkels, Lindley, Reddin (Trialist, 57), McBride (Bogarde, 52), Young, Raikhy, Sewell (Jay-Hart, 81)
Subs not used: T O’Reilly, A O’Reilly
Goals: Young (72)
Bookings: Appiah (59, 88), Lindley (74, 78), Raikhy (89)