Norwich City’s Under-18s were beaten by Preston North End in the FA Youth Cup at Deepdale.
The home side went ahead 10 minutes before half-time after a good spell of pressure by City, with Adam O’Reilly placing past Daniel Barden from the edge of the area. Preston doubled their lead just before the whistle when Lewis Earl nodded the ball in at the back post.
City dominated the opening periods of the second half, but fell further behind on the 70th minute. Louis Potts poked a through ball past Barden and into the back of the net to give Preston a three goal cushion.
Barden replaced Sam Blair who started in between the sticks last time the Canaries played in the FA Youth Cup. Jordan Thomas and Atli barkson were replaced by Ethen Vaughan, who dropped into a more defensive position whilst Arash Ahmadi came in at left-back. Andrew Omobamidele and Louis Lomas remained as the centre-back pairing.
New signing William Hondermarck was given his debut for the Under-18s replacing Vaughan on the right side of midfield. Paul Williams opted for Denzelle Olopade over Josh Giurgi, whilst Adam Idah was partnered by an in-form Isak Thorvaldsson up front.
The home side started the game on the front foot, with midfielder Ethan Walker looking a constant menace on the left. In the opening five minutes Walker beat both Vaughan and Omobamidele before his cross was cleared by Olopade at the back post. But City were given a warning of what Walker could produce.
Walker continued to cause problems throughout the first half. Just over 20 minutes in he created his second chance of the game, this time the winger decided to go on his own but his effort from the edge of the City box drifted just wide of Barden’s goal.
Preston took the lead with 10 minutes left of the first half. Tyrhys Dolan capitalised on a Lomas mistake on the half way line before driving his way to the edge of the City box and laying the ball off to O’Reilly to stroke past Barden.
The first real City chance came on the 40th minute. Saul Milovanovic picked up the ball around 40-yards out with plenty of space but the midfielder saw his shot from distance saved by Jimmy Corcoran down to the keepers right.
Just before the half-time whistle Preston doubled their lead. Dolan’s corner was met by the head of Earl at the back post and the defender nodded in from close range to give City a mountain to climb in the second half.
Norwich started the second period brightly. Vaughan’s cross from the right was cleared, but only as far as Olopade who then saw his powerful shot blocked by a Preston defender before the ball was eventually cleared.
Two minutes later Idah’s free kick from around 25-yards out looked to be goal bound, but the ball didn’t dip enough and narrowly went over the crossbar.
Despite the early pressure from City, the home side put the game out of sight of City with 20 minutes left to play. Potts prodded the ball over the goal line, and after being given offside originally the referee overruled the decision and the goal was eventually given.
Ten minutes from time Josh Giurgi nearly made an instant impact after coming from the bench after showing a nice bit of skill before drilling a low shot into the side netting.
The home side saw the final 10 minutes out with ease, keeping possession against the tiring City side, yet the Canaries still battled away looking to get on the score sheet.
City Starting XI: Barden; Vaughan, Omobamidele, Lomas, Ahmadi, Olopade (Girugi 79), Milovanovic, Dronfield, Hondermarck (Omotoye 63), Idah, Thorvaldsson.
Unused Subs: Berkeley, Blair, Richardson