Norwich City Under-18s kept the chance of group stage progression in the Premier League Cup alive, when they beat Sunderland a comfortable 3-0 at Academy of Light Training Ground on Saturday morning.
It didn’t take long for the game to find its tempo, with City prospects Tyrese Omotoye and Eddie Jackson leading the first charge, a great effort early on forced the ‘keeper to spring to action, saving his team from going down within the first five minutes.
The chances didn’t stop there, just minutes later Josh Giurgi tried to leave his mark, lacing the ball perfectly towards the Sunderland shotstopper just two minutes after the first effort. The Sunderland man was required to make yet another sublime save to keep the scores level, working harder than he was probably hoping to be early on.
The Canaries kept knocking, and Sunderland had no answer. After continuous efforts, the home side were punished. The opening goal came from a terrific cross by Jackson, which found the City forward Omotoye, who slotted it home with ease past the ‘keeper. Expected, especially when the ‘keeper was continually having to make saves, one was bound to find its way past him.
In a one-sided first-half, things could only go one way. A beautifully sighted pass by U18s skipper, Zach Dronfield found the deadly trio of Tom Dickson-Peters, Giurgi and Omotoye. The three forwards were sure to raise the goal-margin by linking up perfectly, with succinct passes ending at the feet of Omotoye, who bagged his brace with another tidy shot to the back of the net in the 25th minute.
After 20 minutes of relatively few moments of action, the first-half came to it’s conclusion. City were looking more comfortable than ever, connecting passes professionally and stifling any Sunderland effort before the threat came into fruition. Confidence was at an all-time high going into the second-half, yet the Canaries knew they still had 45 minutes ahead.
As the second-half began, the game looked a lot more even. It was clear the home side were looking to find a way back into the game, and being used to having to make a comeback, City weren’t going to underestimate that possibility. The biggest test for the young Canaries was their maturity, the question of would they get complacent lingered in the mind.
Fortunately, the Canaries proved that thought wrong. Continued attacks showed everyone what the City way is all about, emanating the same philosophy as the first-team, never laying off. A deliberate hand-ball on the line saw a penalty go City’s way, seeing the Sunderland man receive a straight red. Dickson-Peters stepped up to take the penalty, striking it nicely. Luck wasn’t on the striker’s side on this occasion, with the ‘keeper diving in the right direction, keeping the score’s the same. Not too much of a worry for City, still being two goals up with 20 minutes remaining.
Sunderland’s only real sight of goal didn’t come until the 78th minute, an effort which found them clear on goal, but with a chipped effort going wide, Joe Rose’s clean sheet was maintained. The game wasn’t going the home sides way, and it was clear it most likely wouldn’t in the last ten minutes.
Just two minutes remained, the game seemed done and dusted, but the young Canaries weren’t finished. A ball down the line by Lewis Shipley found substitute Abu Kamara, who saw the ball to the back of the net once more, taking it to 3-0 by the final whistle. An impressive performance for City, who proved what they were all about, taking all three points home in the Premier League Cup.
Norwich City U18s: Rose, Jackson, Rowe (Springett, 71), Shipley, Omotoye (Kamara, 77), Dronfield (c), Tomkinson, Warner, Dickson-Peters, Khumbeni, Giurgi (Pitcher, 74)
Subs not used: Alidor-Hamilton, Blair
Goals: Omotoye (17, 27) Kamara (88)
Sunderland U18s Cameron, Armstrong, Wombwell, Ord, Smith (Diciccio, 46), Krakue, Jones, Pye, Foster (Compper, 86), Watts, Kiernan (Barnett, 88)
Subs not used: Newman, Hugill
Bookings: Ord (70, Red), Jones (86)
Referee: James Westgate
Kick off time: 11am
Venue: Academy of Light Training Ground