Norwich City Under-23s found themselves on the receiving end of a 2-1 loss to Swansea at the Swansea Youth Academy Training Centre on Monday, with the home side taking all three points after a last-minute winner.
The game started off in a less than desired way for City, with the Swans coming out the gates swinging as soon as the game began. The Canaries tried to defend their efforts, finding success in more areas than others, but Swansea remained ruthless until their efforts paid off in the 14th minute. A superb cross by Liam Cullen found the feet of Ali Al-Hamadi, who capitalised on the chance by seeing it home from a short-distance past Joe Rose.
It didn’t feel like the Canaries’ night, as Swansea just kept coming. The Swans almost doubled their lead within five minutes of scoring the first but were pained to see the woodwork coming to City’s rescue, marginally missing the target.
The first-half was a complete write-off for the Canaries, the side unable to connect the right passes to find themselves making any chances in the Swansea box, often being dispossessed early in their build-up. The Swans were having the time of their lives, finding chance after chance as the City players seemed more and more unnerved.
The half-time whistle eventually came, giving the Canaries time to reform and regroup, hopefully to emerge a new side from the dressing room.
The start of the second-half seemed very similar to the first, Al-Hamadi finding another chance just a minute in by drilling a shot on goal. A textbook save for Rose made sure the Canaries were still in it just a single goal behind, regardless of the performance prior.
After that effort, City seemed transformed. Confidence levels shot back up as they started applying more and more pressure to the Swans, creating more free-flow chances as they got into the swing of the game. It didn’t take long for this new-found confidence to show, with the Canaries finding the elusive equaliser in the 57th minute.
An excellent corner found the Aidan Fitzpatrick, who headed it on goal, with the ‘keeper just deflecting the effort. The following scramble for the ball saw it fall out of the box to skipper Akin Famewo who struck it nicely with a volley through the sea of players and to the back of the net.
Continued Canaries efforts just fell short as they couldn’t find that finishing strike to seal a goal, all whilst keeping the Swans relatively quiet in attack.
In the dying embers of the game came City’s fate. A dangerous free-kick on the edge of the Canaries’ box sat waiting to be struck, Kees de Boer stepped up to deliver as Rose set up his wall. The young midfielder struck it perfectly, as the effort curled over the top of Rose into the top corner, giving Swansea the winner and the all-important free points in the game's last seconds.
Swansea U18s: Webb, Blake, Bevan, Rickard (Thomas, 71), C. Evans, J. Evans, Paulet, de Boer, Cullen, Al-Hamadi (Gudjohnsen, 78)
Subs not used: T. Evans, Kenko-Djoudie, Butler
Goals: Al-Hamadi (14), de Boer (90+3)
Norwich City U18s: Rose, Famewo, Lomas, Odusina, Thomas, Thorvaldsson, Fitzpatrick, Hondermarck (Hutchinson, 82), McAlear, Idah, Ahadme
Subs not used: Stewart, Scully, Johnson
Goals: Famewo (58)
Bookings: Famewo (54), Thorvaldsson (50)
Referee: Lloyd Wood
Kick-off time: 7pm
Venue: Swansea Youth Academy Training Centre