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Match Reports

Stiepermann, Nizet and Giurgi on target in U23s win over Middlesbrough

26 February 2021

Norwich City's Under-23s bounced back to winning ways in Premier League 2 Division 2 with a 3-0 win over Middlesbrough on Friday afternoon.

The two sides played out a goalless first-half but it was the Canaries who felt they should have been ahead, with Tom Dickson-Peters twice being denied from close range and Tony Springett having a fierce strike well-saved.

However, City made the most of their superiority in the second-half and goals from Marco Stiepermann (pen), Rob Nizet and Josh Giurgi saw them run out comfortable winners.

Head coach David Wright made six changes to the team which lost 2-0 to Leeds United at the Lotus Training Centre seven days earlier, with Louis Lomas, Jon Tomkinson, Zac Dronfield, Nelson Khumbeni, Springett and Dickson-Peters coming into the eleven in place of Bali Mumba, Jaden Warner, Josh Martin, Matt Dennis and suspended duo Melvin Sitti and Reece McAlear.

Boro made the brighter start and City were forced to be patient defensively in the opening 15 minutes.

Inside the opening three minutes, captain Jack Robinson had a free-kick tipped over by Joe Rose before quick thinking from Andrew Omobamidele saw him block a shot from Isaac Fletcher on the left side of the six yard area.

However, City began to wrestle control in the match after the early Boro flurry and created a host of opportunities in the first-half which should have had them ahead.

On 21 minutes, Marco Stiepermann crossed for Lomas to head wide before, twice in 13 minutes, Dickson-Peters broke the offside trap but on both occasions, Boro goalkeeper Brad James was equal to his efforts.

City continued to look the more threatening of the two sides and, on 40 minutes, James was forced into a fine save low to his left. Springett was fed the ball just inside the area and unleashed a powerful strike on goal, only to be thwarted by the inspired Boro goalkeeper.

Photo 25-02-2021, 23 01 55.jpg

The second-half was a relatively even affair until the hour mark when the Canaries capitalised on a mistake at the back from Boro and eventually, Nizet was tripped in the box. That allow Stiepermann to step up and roll the ball into the bottom corner for the opener on 62 minutes.

Moments later, it was two thanks to a flowing move as City swept through their opponents with ease. It ended with Stiepermann switching the ball wide to Nizet who burst into the box and drilled an unstoppable strike into the top corner.

Boro tried their best to respond but City kept them at bay, with Hayden Hackney's free-kick the best they could offer, but Joe Rose dived to his right to beat the ball away.

City had been a threat all afternoon and they made sure of the points with just over ten minutes remaining when Giurgi fizzed a low strike into the bottom corner from the edge of the area with the goalkeeper stranded.

It could have been more for the Canaries late on but Dickson-Peters was again thwarted by a strong save by James in the Boro goal.

Middlesbrough: James (GK), Gitau, Kokolo, Hackney, Hannah, Robinson (c), Gibson (Folarin, 55), Malley, Coburn, Fletcher (Leak-Blunt, 81), Green (Burrell, 46)
Subs not used: Marshall, Hemming
Goals: None
Bookings: Hackney (38), Gibson (48)

Norwich: Rose (GK), Lomas, Nizet, Omobamidele (c), Tomkinson, Dronfield, Springett (Rowe, 63), Khumbeni (Riley, 77), Dickson-Peters, Stiepermann, Giurgi (Dennis, 81)
Subs not used: Warner
Goals: Stiepermann (pen 62), Nizet (66), Giurgi, (77)
Bookings: None

HT: 0-0
Venue: Heritage Park, Bishop Auckland FC
Referee: Elliott Swallow
Attendance: None

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