Norwich City’s Under-18s drew 0-0 against a strong Chelsea side with a fantastic performance against the Premier League’s high-flyers.
City started the game on the front foot and could have took the lead seven minutes in when Dickson-Peters sent a curling shot narrowly wide of the far post before Springett forced a fine save from Tie later in the second half. The best chance of the half fell for James Clark whose headed effort with five minutes remaining left the crossbar rattling.
Chelsea dominated the opening period of the second half with Barden keeping City in it twice with two wonderful diving saves. Chelsea nearly nicked the three-points with the last kick of the game, but Ballo’s shot was kept out by Barden to keep his clean sheet in-tact.
Daniel Barden remained in-goal for the Canaries after making some fine stops against Tottenham Hotspur last time out. Ethen Vaughan and Atli Barkarson once against started as City’s full-back’s whilst Andrew Omobamidele and Zach Dronfield partnered up as centre-backs to complete an unchanged back four.
Anis Mehmeti returned from international duty and started in a wide-midfield position whilst Tony Springett lined-up on the opposite side. Denzelle Olopade partnered Nelson Khumbeni in the central midfielde with Tom Dickson-Peters starting alongside Kole Lambert up top for the Canaries.
The first chance of the game fell for City seven minutes in when Mehmeti broke from the centre midfield before playing the ball through to Dickson-Peters. The Scotland Under-17 international took a touch before curling the ball agonisingly wide of the far post.
Moments later Armando Broja’s glancing header inside the City box looked to have put the visitors ahead, but the Chelsea striker was judged to have been in an offside position.
Twenty minutes in and the Canaries had another golden chance to take the lead when the ball worked it’s way from left to right after a good exchange of passes between Lambert, Dickson-Peters and Mehmeti. The ball eventually found its way through to Springett, but the midfielder’s shot was blocked by the legs of Blues ‘keeper Nicolas Tie.
Mid-way through the first half the visitors started to take control of the game but up until 10 minutes to go in the first half didn’t have an opportunity to take the lead. However in the 35th minute James Clark sent a headed effort towards goal, but the ball crashed against the top of the crossbar.
In the latter stages of the first half the Blues started to dominate possession but were struggling to find a way past a rigid City defence and the Canaries had chances to get behind the Chelsea defensive line, but the final ball let Norwich down on two occasions.
Chelsea dominated the early stages of the second-half, with the home side struggling to gather any momentum following the interval. 15 minutes in, Broja’s cross from the left looked to be going to George Nunn at the back post, but Omobamidele made a crucial block to deny Chelsea the chance to take the lead.
The visitors continued to dominate the ball as the half went on, but were once again struggling to find any space in and around the Norwich box to create any clear cut chances on goal with Chelsea’s half-efforts on goal getting blocked by City defenders.
With 15 minutes remaining of the second-half a ball from midfield was met by the on-running Dickson-Peters, but the strikers touch let him down as he was eventually tackled by Pierre Ekwah on the edge of the box.
Broja managed to wriggle his way through on-goal in the 80th minute and with only the City ‘keeper to beat he sent a shot flying towards goal, but his shot forced Barden into making a wonderful diving save to keep his clean sheet intact.
The Canaries started to put the visitors under some serious pressure in the final few minutes of the game winning a series of corner’s in stoppage time. However, it was Chelsea who very nearly nicked the game, but Barden’s diving save from Ballo’s effort meant the game ended all square.
City’s Starting XI: Barden; Vaughan, Omobamidele, Dronfield, Barkarson, Khumbeni, Olopade, Springett, Mehmeti, Lambert (Omotoye 75), Dickson-Peters
Unused subs: Berkeley, Rose (GK), Ahmadi