Norwich City Under-23s took a 4-0 loss to Crystal Palace U23s at Crystal Palace Academy on Monday afternoon.
David Wright’s side saw a series of changes to the side that lost 3-2 to Aston Villa in their last fixture, Jordan Thomas replaced by Louis Lomas, as well as Sebastian Soto and Melvin Sitti coming into the side upon their return to City from respective loans.
It was Palace who had the first chance of the game in the first minute, Harlem Hale looking for the early lead as he fired inside the 18-yard box, his shot over the bar.
Sebastian Soto replied with an effort of his own, making a quick run down the right flank before cutting inside the edge of the box, although his shot was also off-target as it deflected off a City shirt and out for a goal-kick.
Five minutes later and Palace’s Alfie Matthews thought he’d found the lead as Jon Tomkinson’s intercepted pass set the midfielder up one-on-one with Joe Rose. The chance looked dangerous but was short work for Rose, who parried the shot wide.
The next chance wouldn’t come until the 19th minute, when Rose came to retrieve the ball outside the 18-yard box, beaten to it by Hale. The midfielder shot for the open net, seeing his shot blocked by Tomkinson as he got back to cover for the ‘keeper.
Hale was motivated to find his goal, finishing a Palace counter-attack with another shot on goal, this time the effort hitting the crossbar with the closest chance of the first 25 minutes.
The Canaries then went close themselves four minutes later, Soto winning the ball in the attacking half for a City counter. Wright’s side rushed bodies forward for the move as Matthew Dennis shot from outside the box, the effort deflecting off a Palace shirt and forcing a fingertip save from Jacob Russell.
However, after nearly scoring, it was Dennis’ foul inside the City box that gave Palace a penalty in the 33rd minute. A challenge from behind saw no hesitation from the referee to point for the spot, seeing Eagles’ captain Sion Spence step up to the spot-kick and convert calmly for the lead.
Spence then went on to bag his second of the afternoon minutes before the end of the first half, tapping-in a cross at the far post from Palace’s trialist to double the Eagles’ lead.
As the second half began, the young Canaries looked positive, dominating early possession. However, Palace showed their counter-attacking threat was still very much alive when Rose was prompted into an excellent double-save to deny Palace their third goal in the 52nd minute.
This counter-attacking threat remained throughout the second half, epitomised when Spence completed his hat-trick with a first-time volley inside the box to find the third for Palace.
The Eagles then made it four when substitute Reece McAlear was dispossessed in the City half, leaving John-Kymani Gordon one-on-one with Rose as he slot it into the back of the net in the 61st minute.
Despite the Canaries effort to find a goal to start any potential comeback in the last 30 minutes, Palace held on to their 4-0 lead, keeping both a clean sheet and all three points by the referee’s final whistle.
Norwich City starting XI: Rose, Vaughan (Kamara, 67), Lomas, Tomkinson, Nizet, Trialist (McAlear, 46), Giurgi, Sitti, Trialist, Soto, Dennis (Thomas, 68)
Subs not used: Blair
Bookings: Vaughan (9), Sitti (10)
Crystal Palace starting XI: Russell, Trialist, Hannam, Boateng, Watson, Baghuelou, Hale (Rak-Sakyi, 79), Taylor, Gordon (Akinwale, 72), Spence (Boateng, 84), Matthews
Subs not used: Russell, Whitworth
Goals: Spence (33, 41, 60) Gordon (62)
Bookings: Baghuelou (9), Hale (40)