Two goals in two halves saw Norwich City Under-23s take a 2-1 loss to Stoke City on Monday evening.
The young Canaries started brightly with an early finish from Tom Dickson-Peters, but Stoke would go on to score two, one of which a penalty, to take all three points.
David Wright made four changes to the side who drew 0-0 with Fulham in their last outing, the rotation seeing Jon Tomkinson, Rob Nizet, Ethen Vaughan and Zach Dronfield coming back into the side against the Potters.
The young Canaries found the first chance of the game. A curling cross into the box went looking for Tom Dickson-Peters, but the pass was too high for the striker.
Less than a minute later, Stoke went up the other end to find a chance of their own, Ethon Varian’s shot blocked by Tomkinson.
Just after the ten-minute mark, Stoke stole the ball from Nizet and began to counter, the Belgian left-back getting back with a vital block to make up for the mistake.
Despite Stoke’s early attacking presence, it was City who found the back of the net first. Tony Springett found the ball high up, surging forward into the box and shooting, his toe-poke falling for Dickson-Peters to smash home.
The Potters looked to level not long after inside the 18-yard box, Jon McCracken diving well to the save to deny the equaliser.
Then, after a quiet period, Stoke levelled on the stroke of the 40th minute. After seeing their corner headed away from danger, Tom Sparrow fired a screamer back inside the 18-yard box, nestling his shot past McCracken.
The hosts were then given a chance to take the lead with the last kick of the ball in the first half, the referee awarding a penalty for a foul inside the box.
Christian Norton stepped up for the Potters, but McCracken dived the right way and saved, keeping the scores level by the break.
Sebastian Soto looked for goal early on into the second half, lacing a shot on-goal from outside the box and prompting the save.
But seven minutes into the second half, Stoke were awarded another penalty after a foul from McCracken. Ethon Varian took the spot-kick in place of Norton, beating the City ‘keeper and finding the lead.
Fighting for what was now a leveller, City’s next clear-cut chance wouldn’t fall until the 73rd minute. Josh Martin found space on the left-side, dragging the ball back for Matthew Dennis inside the box, his shot blocked.
Despite City’s high work-rate searching for the elusive equaliser, it wasn’t meant to be for the young Canaries, who left Stoke empty-handed.
Norwich City Under-23s starting XI: McCracken, Vaughan, Omobamidele (c), Tomkinson, Nizet, Dronfield (Riley, 65), Springett (Giurgi, 69), McAlear, Martin, Soto (Dennis, 56), Dickson-Peters
Subs not used: Lomas, Rose
Goals: Dickson-Peters (12)
Bookings: McCracken (53)
Stoke City Under-23s starting XI: Yates, Coates, Jones, Malone, Taylor, Macari, Wright-Phillips (Goodwin, 60), Sparrow, Varian (c), Adebambo, Norton
Subs not used: Nixon, Cooper, Sy, James-Taylor
Goals: Sparrow, (40) Varian (53)
Bookings: Coates (32), Varian (54), Sparrow (88)