Norwich City Under-21s got their first three points in the Leasing.com Trophy with a 2-1 win away to Crawley Town on Tuesday evening.
Goals from Gassan Ahadme and Louis Lomas were enough to earn the Canaries the win. However, previous defeats against Oxford United and Portsmouth mean they won't be able to progress to the next round.
Under the floodlights at a wet People's Pension Stadium, Akin Famewo immediately had business to take care of, clearing a shot from Gyliano Van Velzen off the line within the first minute.
City responded to that early danger sign brilliantly, creating a handful of good chances at the other end. The Canaries skipper sent a shot high and wide from a Philip Heise cross, before Isak Thorvaldsson had the visitors' second chance of the game when he hit the post from Lewis Lomas' delivery on the 11th minute.
The breakthrough came for David Wright's side by way of a move not typically associated with a Norwich City team, Billy Johnson sending a goalkick upfield towards Gassan Ahadme. With the aid of a misplaced Crawley flick-on, Ahadme took the ball down and placed it into the bottom left corner from outside the 18-yard box.
The City 'keeper kept his side 1-0 up moments later, stretching acrobatically to his left to deny Ashley Nathaniel-George from scoring a brilliant, curled effort from distance. It was an all-round impressive first half display from Johnson, who also showed he wasn't afraid of charging out of his area to head the ball clear if required to do so. However, in referee Alan Young's view, Johnson was a tad too eager on one occasion and was shown a yellow card as a result.
Half an hour into the first half, Nathaniel-George continued to look like Crawley's most promising attacking outlet, as he saw a decent effort from the left side of the box sail just wide of the far post.
There was still time for a couple more City chances as the first half approached its conclusion, with Thorvaldsson heading a Heise corner wide and the latter seeing a free-kick tipped onto the post by Michael Luyambula before the break.
The second-half wasn't quite as straightforward from a City perspective, as Crawley found the equaliser with 63 minutes played. Andrew Omobamidele did well to block Nathaniel-George's first shot, but could do little to stop the second as the Crawley forward twisted and turned before finding the bottom left corner for 1-1.
Heise continued to be involved going forward, however, sending a venomous strike straight at the Crawley 'keeper from the left wing minutes later.
Nevertheless, following their equaliser, the momentum began to swing towards the home side. Tarryn Allarakhia shot just wide from a Nathaniel-George cross, while Johnson was on hand to make a good save from Galach's curling strike.
But Crawley's increasing pressure did not pay dividends, and Lewis Lomas made them pay. Gathering a pass from the left wing courtesy of Heise, Lomas looked up and curled a shot in via the right post in front of the Norwich supporters.
Josh Martin came close to increasing the lead further when he hit the post from distance with ten minutes remaining, but that effort proved to be the final chance of the game, with Crawley unable to solidify their chances of qualifying for the next round of the competition.
Crawley Town: Luyambula, Young (C), Doherty, Payne, Dallison, Van Velzen, Nathaniel-George, Allarakhia, Sendles-White, Lubala (Galach 59), Boadu (Ferguson 49)
Subs not used: Morris, McNerney, Nadesan
Goals: Nathaniel-George (63)
Bookings: Dallison (23)
Norwich City U21s: Johnson, Lomas, Omobamidele, Famewo (C), Heise, Milovanovic, Adshead, Martin (Hondermarck 88), Thorvaldsson, Nizet (Scully 70), Ahadme
Subs not used: Thomas, Blair, Jones, Parsons
Goals: Ahadme (19), Lomas (74)
Bookings: Johnson (20), Milovanovic (52)
Referee: Alan Young
Kick off time: 7.45pm
Venue: The People's Pension Stadium