NORWICH City’s Development Squad slipped to a 2-1 defeat to Newcastle United at Colney Training Centre on Monday afternoon.
Dan Gosling’s header with just less than ten minutes left on the clock settled a game of few chances in Group Two of the Barclays Under-21s Premier League.
Harrison Heath had given the Canaries the lead a quarter of an hour in, only for Gael Bigirimana to level proceedings midway through the first-half with a free-kick.
The strength of the Magpies eleven eventually shone through, even though neither side showed the cutting edge in the box to regularly trouble the other’s goalkeeper.
City began the match with four trialists in their starting line-up, and after a quiet opening period, they took the lead on 15 minutes through Heath.
He has Jamar Loza to thank for the goal, though – the Canaries’ left midfielder ran half the length of the pitch, beating a number of Newcastle players in the process, before squaring a cross that Heath just had to turn in from five yards.
Newcastle started to get a grasp on proceedings and moments after a goalmouth scramble where Jed Steer just beat Michael Richardson to the ball, they got their equaliser.
Bigirimana, who has played 24 times for the first-team this season, picked his spot perfectly from a set-piece 25 yards out, leaving Steer with no chance.
City were forced into a reshuffle when Fope Coker limped off on the half hour, but it was they who almost regained the advantage when Aaron Wickham rattled the bar three minutes before half-time.
HALF-TIME: Norwich City 1-1 Newcastle United
The visitors started the second period the better, with Adam Campbell drilling wide and Gosling having a goal chalked off after the former Everton man drifted offside.
Michael Kalu steered a shot wide up the other end, but as the half progressed, it looked as though the points were going to have to be shared as both struggled to break the other’s defence down.
Newcastle looked the most likely, however, and they eventually knocked the door down on 81 minutes – Campbell found space on the left and found Gosling with his cross, who headed powerfully past Steer.
Norwich never threatened to draw level in the closing stages, and Newcastle got the victory that lifted them to the top of the table with season's close on the horizon.
FULL-TIME: Norwich City 1-2 Newcastle United
GOALS: Norwich City – Heath (15). Newcastle United – Bigirimana (27), Gosling (81).
NORWICH CITY: Steer; Sheriff (c), Tunnicliffe, Gafaiti, McNeil; Kalu, Coker (Carroll 31), Clunan, Loza; Heath (St Louis 87), Wickham. Subs not used: Matthews (GK).
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Mitchell; Sterry, Satka, Tavernier, Desmond (Miele 52); Bigirimana, Richardson; Aarons, Gosling (c), Gilliead; Campbell. Subs not used: Quinn, Olley.