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#U21 #PL2 #MatchReport #Norwich

Lankshear's late heroics sees Under-21s win at Norwich

Norwich City 3-4 Spurs

Fri 03 November 2023, 22:30|Tottenham Hotspur

Will Lankshear’s late, late winner ensured our Under-21s continued their perfect start in the Premier League 2 with a dramatic victory at Norwich City.

Yago Santiago continued his fine form to give us an early lead on eight minutes before Lankshear slotted his first of the night to double our advantage 12 minutes later. The score somehow remained the same, despite a plethora of chances for both sides, until Norwich got a slice of fortune when Pedro Lima’s deflected shot looped in from 35 yards out to halve the deficit in the 69th minute to spark a late flurry of activity.

Just as Jude Soonsup-Bell had restored our two-goal cushion three minutes later, the Canaries staged a comeback through Ken Aboh’s brace in two second-half minutes before Lankshear clinched all three points as he swept home in the third minute of stoppage-time.

After our 10-game winning run in all competitions was ended by League One outfit Peterborough United in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday evening (31 October), our Under-21s had the opportunity to bounce back just three days later looking to continue our flawless league form.

Lacking a clinical edge in the final third at times against the Posh last time out, we put that swiftly behind us as the in-form Santiago, recently nominated for October’s Player of the Month award, netted our first attempt on target with a shot that squeezed under goalkeeper Caleb Ansen after Tyrell Ashcroft’s dangerous cross from the right channel had caused problems for the hosts.

Luca Gunter was called into action for the first time when Lima registered the hosts’ first shot on target in the 13th minute, but we made our early dominance count to deservedly extend our lead on 20 minutes. Winning a throw in deep inside our opponent’s half after lovely play again down our right channel, Ashcroft found Jamie Donley – also up for the Player of the Month prize - who turned it to Lankshear and the striker did the rest by cutting across the box whilst evading multiple defenders to slot a tidy left-foot finish into the bottom corner.

More good opportunities went begging for us midway through the first half, Santiago almost sending Lankshear through on 23 minutes before lovely interplay in midfield between Rio Kyeremeten, Dante Cassanova and Nile John, who drew a caution from Norwich defender Grant Hanley – making his return from injury – as he sent Ashcroft clear through down the right, but the quality on our final pass evaded us.

As the home side looked to grab a foothold in the game, Aboh saw his shot deflected narrowly wide just after the half-hour mark and a full-stretched Gunter tipped Lima’s deep cross out for a corner with Aboh somehow turning the ball over the bar from six yards out at the resultant set piece. As the opening 45 drew to a close, we were forced into an early change when Santiago limped off six minutes before the break with his replacement Soonsup-Bell rattling the crossbar in the last action of the half.

The second half picked up in a similar vein with chances for both sides, Donley’s teasing low cross just evading our number nine at the far post and Aboh again going closest for his side with a volley until Lima found the net in bizarre fashion with a speculative 35-yard drive that looped agonisingly over Gunter’s head with little over 20 minutes to play. We almost had an immediate reply when Donley and Lankshear combined again to no avail a minute later but Soonsup-Bell made no mistake when he placed John’s cross into the top corner to restore the buffer on 72 minutes.

Through a combination of our focus levels and the home side raising the intensity looking for a lifeline, we became uncharacteristically loose in possession to gift Norwich a way back into the game. In the 79th minute, our poor clearance at the back resulted in a penalty being awarded – as the sliding Alfie Dorrington was adjudged to have handled in the box – which Aboh tucked away before their number 10 restored parity two minutes later as he nodded in Gabriel Forsyth’s dangerous corner from close range.

As the Norfolk-based outfit looked to have rescued an unlikely point to end our winning streak, we pushed forward in the closing stages not wanting to settle for a draw. It duly came in the third minute of seven added on when Charlie Sayers clipped a through-ball to Donley down our left, our number 10 finding the underlapping Soonsup-Bell, who then squared to an unmarked Lankshear in the area whose instinctive finish sealed a dramatic victory.

Watch - Burnett's honest reflections on Norwich win

Norwich City 3-4 Spurs

Norwich City: Ansen, McIntosh (Coker 88), Forsyth (Eze 88), Renecke, Hanley (Wilson 66), Adegboyega (c), Manning, Brooke, Welch, Aboh, Lima. Substitutes (not used): Craven, Djedje.

Spurs: Gunter, Ashcroft, Lyons-Foster (c), Dorrington, Sayers, Cassanova, John (Robson 90+6), Kyerematen (Williams 81), Donley, Santiago (Soonsup-Bell 39), Lankshear. Substitutes (not used): Keeley, McKnight.

Match data

Goals: Norwich City - Lima 69, Aboh 79, 81; Spurs - Santiago 8, Lankshear 20, 90+6, Soonsup-Bell 72.

Yellow cards: Norwich City - Hanley 25; Spurs - Kyerematen 56, Dorrington 78.

Referee: F Hallam.

Venue: Lotus Training Ground, Norwich.

Weather: Clear, 10 degrees.