Match Reports

Under-23s keep a clean sheet against Southampton

Norwich City Under-23s drew 0-0 against Southampton Under-23s under the light s at Colney Training Centre, after Billy Johnson’s second half penalty save meant the visitors couldn’t find a way past the City keeper.

Senior members Grant Hanley and Nelson Oliveira joined the Under-23s  in a strong City starting XI. Hanley featured for the first time in three month after suffering a hamstring injury against Ipswich Town in September.

Striker Adam Idah also started for City for the first time since October. Summer signing Billy Johnson made his second start of the season for the Under-23s following a solid display last week against Athletic Club Bilbao.

The visitors got the game under way at Colney, and dominated the early stages of the game, putting City under pressure from the off.

Johnson was called into action for the first time 10 minutes in as midfielder Marcus Barnes cut in from the left hand side before driving a low shot towards the centre of the goal. However Johnson collected the ball at ease.

Three minutes later, Saints striker Jonathan Afolabi was through on goal after taking the ball past Ciaren Jones, but Hanley came and stopped the forward in his tracks.

The Canaries were starting to find space and gather a bit of momentum going forward, Idah and Oliveira started to get on the ball behind the Southampton defence.

Mid-way through the first half Oliveira drove forward with the ball before seeing his deflected strike from the edge of the area hit the post and eventually cleared by a Saints defender.

Towards the end of the first half, a dangerous set-piece from Will Smallbone for the visitors caused trouble for City as his free-kick nearly allowed Tyreke Barnes to score a tap-in at the back post, but the midfielder was offside.

City were defending well to keep the Saints away from the goal, however with seconds of the half left, Johnson was forced into action punching Barnes’ cross out to Timi Odusina and away from any danger.

The Canaries started the second half in better fashion, testing Jack Rose within a minute of the re-start, although Spyrou’s effort didn’t cause much trouble for the keeper as he collected comfortably.

With 30 minutes to go, the visitors had started to dominate the ball and push City back. The Canaries made their first substitution with wide-midfielder Josh Coley coming on and replacing Oliveira.

Ten minutes later City started to rack up their corner count, earning four corners within quick succession, however none of which came to any real chances for the canaries.

Moments later, Smallbone took Southampton's free-kick from the right - mid-way in City’s half. The ball managed to scramble through the box to find Harry Hamblin, but he was unable to get the ball past Johnson.

With just over five minutes remaining, the visitors were awarded a penalty after substitute Enzo Robise was brought down in the box.

The penalty was saved by Johnson who dived to the right and palmed the ball as far as Barnes, whose effort was kept out again by the City goalkeeper.

In stoppage time, Southampton were looking dangerous as striker Afolabi saw his flick on from inside the box smash the top of the woodwork before getting cleared.

With seconds remaining, Payne ran on to a through ball from Spyrou before sending his shot over the bar in what was to be the final chance of the game.

City Starting XI: Johnson; Odusina (c), Richards, Jones, Hanley, Phillips, Spyrou, Payne, Oliveira (Coley 61, Scully, Idah.

Unused Subs: Aransibia, Blair, Kamal.

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