Norwich U21s 2-3 Spurs
Report from Carrow Road
15 October 2015|Tottenham Hotspur
It was a night of firsts as our young team beat Norwich City 3-2 in the Barclays Under-21 Premier League at Carrow Road on Thursday (October 15).
Keanan Bennetts, just 16, scored his first Under-21s goal on his debut and Ryan Loft marked his first start at this level with his first strike, a smartly-taken one-on-one finish in the second half.
Bennetts and Loft - who scored a hat-trick against the Canaries for our Under-18s on Saturday - put us 1-0 and 2-1 up in an entertaining affair in front of over 6,000 fans and the live television cameras.
Norwich hit back on both occasions but we landed maximum points when substitute Zenon Stylianides picked out Anton Walkes to finish first-time from 12 yards on 81 minutes.
We started well and took an early lead seven minutes in. Bennetts, prominent from the first whistle, initially saw a shot headed away for a corner by Afolabi Coker. Walkes played in a clever low flag kick, Filip Lesniak measured a sidefooted effort at goal and his shot was touched home by Bennetts.
Kyle Walker-Peters was soon away down the right and dragged a shot across goal a few minutes later, but the home side responded on 16 minutes. It all stemmed from a quick break led by Benny Ashley-Seal, who cut in from the left and saw his low shot parried away by goalkeeper Tom Glover. Coker headed the first corner wide via a deflection but the second corner was floated in by Todd Cantwell and met by Cameron Norman, whose header found the top corner.
Chances followed in quick succession at both ends. Shayon Harrison shot wide, Bennetts had a penalty appeal waved away, Jamie Eaton-Collins might have done better after collecting Glover's clearance and then Loft somehow failed to connect with Walker-Peters' cross after the full-back beat two men and squared.
The action settled a little in the final 15 minutes of the first half with Anthony Georgiou hitting the side netting and Lesniak's 20-yarder grazing the roof of the net.
The second half picked up where the first started with chances at both ends as Christian Maghoma headed straight at Ben Killip and Eaton-Collins forced a sharp save from Glover.
Harrison fired just wide and Norman missed the chance to repeat his opener when he headed over from Ray Grant's free-kick.
We took the lead on 66 minutes when Lesniak rolled in an inch-perfect pass to Loft who finished clinically, touching the ball past the advancing Killip.
Still the game went from end to end. Glover saved from Glenn Middleton, Georgiou was inches away from 3-1 after beating Coker and Norman and then Maghoma's shot was cleared off the line by Louis Ramsay.
Norwich levelled for the second time on 76 minutes when Middleton drilled in a low cross from the right and Eaton-Collins slid in at the far post to score.
Undeterred, we pushed for the winner and it arrived with nine minutes remaining. Rather than crossing into the box, Stylianides picked out a pass for Walkes, who swept home with his left foot in some style from 12 yards.
Ugo Ehiogu said
“It wasn’t the greatest performance technically but what we’ve become over the last few games is more resilient,” said Ugo.
“There is a good spirit in the core of the group and we’ve integrated First and Second Year trainees this time around after what has been a patchy week with only six of the development squad training.
“Kyle Walker-Peters travelled back in after playing 90 minutes for England (in Macedonia) on Tuesday and he was probably the best player on the pitch.
“Milos Veljkovic as well. He played 90 minutes for Serbia (in Lithuania) on Tuesday but was insistent that he came back and played. Anthony Georgiou has been injured and unable to train but he came in and started. I’m really proud of the team in that sense.
“There is so much more to come as well, so much more to work on. We need to be better at set-pieces and more concentrated tactically, but you can’t take away the fact that this was a massive win for us in tough circumstances.”
“What we’ve tried to do is put down a marker, the minimum requirement is a high work ethic and to compete and then you have a platform, that’s the scaffolding of any successful team and then we have players who can turn a game, win a game, players who can excite you,” added Ugo.
“There are pleasing signs but we have to go again next week.”
Norwich City U21s: Killip (c), Efete, Ramsay, Grant, Coker, Norman, Eaton-Collins, McIntosh (Hall-Johnson 60), Ashley-Seal (Couzens, 88), Cantwell, Middleton (Lewis, 84). Substitutes (not used): Crowe, Oxborough (GK).
Spurs U21s: Glover, Walker-Peters, Maghoma, Veljkovic (c), Amos, Lesniak, Walkes, Bennetts (Goddard 84), Harrison, Georgiou (Duncan 81), Loft (Stylianides 68). Substitutes (not used): Brown, Voss (GK).