Norwich City’s Under-18s showed determination and character despite losing 6-2 against Arsenal at London Colney.
City’s Under-18s lost against Arsenal, but dug in right till the end. City were without various members of the Under-18s squad due to them taking part in last night’s Under-23s victory away against Manchester United.
Adam Idah and Gassan Ahadme were both on the scoresheet last night, and both are still eligible for City’s Under-18s. Some players going out on-loan along with injuries has meant many Under-18s players have been called up to the Under-23s this season.
Daniel Barden remained in-goal for the Canaries, and came up against his former club. The defence remained unchanged, with Ethen Vaughan and Arash Ahmadi starting at full-back whilst Matt Richardson partnered Ante Berkeley at the heart of the City defence.
William Hondermarck started after featuring for the Under-23s on Monday, with Denzelle Olopade alongside him in the central midfield positions. Josh Giurgi returned to the City starting line-up on the left with Tony Springett starting on the opposite side. Tom Dickson-Peters once again partnered Kole Lambert up-top for the Canaries.
Arsenal started the stronger of the two sides and very nearly went ahead 30 seconds into the game when Flo Balogun was sent through on-goal, but the striker could only direct his effort well-over the City crossbar.
Moments later, Arsenal took the lead after what was a replica of the first chance a few minutes before. This time Balogun made no mistake and slotted the ball past Barden and into the back of the net.
Despite dominating large periods of the opening exchanges, City nearly responded with a goal themselves 10 minutes in. Lambert produced a fine bit of skill on the-half way line, flicking the ball over an Arsenal defender before crossing in. The ball was met by Dickson-Peters at the far post, but the striker couldn’t get under control of the ball.
Five minutes later Barden was forced into making a close-range save with his head before Arsenal’s second attempt saw Ahamdi clear superbly off the line to put the ball out for a corner.
The game started to open up, with chances at both ends, with City finding themselves incredibly unlucky not to be level 17 minutes in. Lambert’s shot fell for Dickson-peters, but this time the forwards shot hit the underside of the crossbar before bouncing on the line and eventually cleared.
The Gunners doubled their lead after 20 minutes, with Balogun once against putting past Barden after being one-on-one with the ‘keeper. Tyreece John-Jules scored from the spot after 30 minutes before Balogun got his hat-trick six minutes later.
Just before half-time Hondermarck turned round an Arsenal defender on the edge of the Gunners box before curling the ball narrowly wide of the far right post, out of the reach of Arthur Okonkwo in goal for the home side.
City got off to a great start in the second-half after Dickson-Peters squared the ball to Springett who bundled the ball over the line under pressure and pulled a goal back for the Canaries who were determined to not fold-in.
However the Gunners responded instantly and added a fifth, after Coyle stroked the ball into the back of the net. Sam Greenwood extended the home sides lead four minutes later, with a low-drive from the edge of the box.
City started to come into the game as the half went on and nearly pulled a goal back with 30 minutes remaining. Dickson-Peters took a touch to steady himself before smashing a shot towards goal, but his effort was blocked by the Arsenal ‘keeper at his near post.
The City striker was again in the thick of action in the Arsenal box, but this time his half-volley at the back post forced Okonkwo into a fine diving save to deny Dickson-Peters from getting his goal.
Five minutes later Norwich were awarded a penalty after a good spell of pressure, and their pressure was rewarded when Dickson-Peters was fouled in the box which resulted in a penalty being awarded. Dickson-Peters took the penalty and slotted it into the bottom right-corner.
City’s starting XI: Barden; Vaughan, Berkeley, Richardson, Ahmadi, Hondermarck, Olopade (Jackson 74), Giurgi, Springett, Dickson-Peters, Lambert (Khumbeni 34).
Unused Subs: Blair (GK).