Second-half goals see City start pre-season with win

THREE goals in six second-half minutes saw Norwich City kick-off their pre-season with a routine 3-0 victory over Dorados de Sinaloa at Raley Field in Sacramento.

After an uneventful first-half, the Canaries sprung into life when Luciano Becchio netted his first goals for the Club on 65 minutes..

Soon after, Anthony Pilkington doubled the lead with a low effort from inside the area before Josh Murphy finished the scoring in style with a stunning third.

Equally as important, all of the squad appeared to get through the match unscathed with Saturday's fixture against San Jose Earthquakes so close on the horizon.

The Mexican opposition offered the occasional foray forward but City's quality eventually shone through.

The Canaries gave a start to summer signing Nathan Redmond, with the former Birmingham City man starting on the left side of midfield with Becchio up front.

A selection of the travelling party, including Dutch pair Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Leroy Fer, were left out of the match squad however as they catch up with their team-mates’ fitness levels following their international commitments.

Redmond showed his threat in the sixth minute when he drew a foul from a defender close to the left corner flag, but David Fox’s delivery was palmed away by Jesus Garcia.

The ground, primarily used for baseball, harboured an enthusiastic and near-capacity crowd that included a smattering of Norwich City shirts among its numbers.

John Ruddy saw his first action of the season on 16 minutes – Adolfo Dominguez did well to find some space for the Mexican side but his shot was a comfortable stop for City’s goalkeeper.

When Becchio was caught by a late tackle on 19 minutes, David Fox stepped up to take the free-kick and was only denied by the outstretched arms of Garcia, with Ryan Bennett nodding over from the subsequent corner.

Redmond was causing some headaches for the Dorados back four but Joshua Abrego managed to force a header towards goal up the other end, though it flew wide of the post.

Hector Velasquez hit a tame shot at Ruddy moments later after beating the offside trap and Redmond’s effort off-balance was well wide for the Canaries.

City almost got fortunate when Adel Gafaiti nearly caught out Garcia with a deep cross from the right, but half-time arrived with neither side having eked out a clear-cut opportunity.

HALF-TIME: Norwich City 0-0 Dorados de Sinaloa

Robert Snodgrass and Russell Martin were introduced in two of five changes at the break by Chris Hughton, but City looked in trouble when Dorados were awarded a set-piece on the very edge of the penalty area.

Thankfully, Velasquez fired his drive straight at the wall, before another substitute, Pilkington, offered the Canaries’ first threat of the half on the hour mark with a low shot after cutting in from the left.

City took the lead five minutes later – Snodgrass got to by-line down the right-hand side and his reverse cross was met by the unmarked Becchio, and the Argentinian forward made no mistake with his header.

It was Becchio’s first goal for the Canaries since his January move from Leeds United, and he was to play a part when City doubled their lead three minutes after.

The forward’s presence in the box allowed him to force the ball into Pilkington’s vicinity, and the winger, who had found some space in the area, confidently struck the ball under Garcia.

Two became three almost instantly, and Pilkington turned provider for Josh Murphy – the FA Youth Cup winner picked the ball up from his team-mate and curled a glorious effort into the far corner from the outside the box.

Three goals in six minutes appeared to take the stuffing out of Dorados, and Norwich were well on top as the match entered its final quarter, even though Cristian Lopez shot into the side-netting on 82 minutes.

Mark Bunn, who replaced Ruddy at the break, then tipped a powerful Cesar Salidivar shot around the post, with that proving to be the last action of the game as the Canaries began their 2013-14 season with a comfortable win.

FULL-TIME: Norwich City 3-0 Dorados de Sinaloa

GOALS: Norwich City – Luciano Becchio (65), Anthony Pilkington (68), Josh Murphy (70).

NORWICH CITY: Ruddy (Bunn 45); Gafaiti (Garrido 45), R Bennett, Ayala (Martin 45), Surman; E Bennett (Whittaker 67), Fox, Tettey (Pilkington 45), Redmond (Snodgrass 45); Butterfield (Josh Murphy 67); Becchio. Subs not used: Nash (GK).

DORADOS DE SINALOA: Garcia; Castro, Brouzatti, Saldivar, Abrego; Dominguez, Velasquez, Contreras, Castillo; Villegas, Radilla (starting 11) Subs: Carrisosa (GK), Quiroz, Casro, Ibatuza, Salasm Rodriguez, Orozco, Lopez.

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