Norwich City U21s 2, Arsenal U21s 4
Archant © 2012
Norwich City’s England U19 international Joshua Murphy underlined his huge promise with a sparkling display in tonight’s 4-2 development league defeat to Arsenal’s U21s at Carrow Road.
Murphy was a constant menace down the left flank for Scott Marshall’s young side against a talented visiting outfit featuring the likes of Serge Gnabry and Thomas Eisfeld, who both appeared recently in the Gunners’ 7-5 Capital One Cup epic at Reading.
Eisfeld struck a brace to put Terry Burton’s side in command after Jamar Loza had swiftly cancelled out Cjuba Akpom’s first half opener. David Fox converted a 72nd minute penalty when Murphy was upended by Sead Hajrovic, but Kristoffer Olsson slotted a fourth for the slick visitors three minutes later. Fox, Marc Tierney and Leon Barnett all played the full game for the Canaries as they looked to push their claims for involvement in Chris Hughton’s first team plans.
Tierney and Declan Rudd inadvertently gifted Akpom the opener, when Norwich’s keeper could only smack Tierney’s back pass against the advancing Arsenal forward from inside his own six yard box. Loza spared the keeper’s blushes barely a minute later when he rifled a long range strike past Damian Martinez.
Eisfeld calmly finished past the advancing Rudd to restore the Gunners’ lead after gliding through the heart of Norwich’s defence to latch onto Jernade Meade’s clinical pass. City’s most productive outlet looked down either flank through the Murphy twins. Joshua smacked an angled drive a yard beyond Martinez’s far post before failing to gather a sharp angled pass from his brother with Martinez left exposed.
Tierney made his first overlapping burst of the game in the final minute of the opening period to support Joshua Murphy, but his hanging cross slipped behind Loza. Barnett’s awareness cleared Meade’s dipping corner seconds after the interval, but Eisfeld escaped the attentions of Norwich’s defence for a second time to curl an angled right footer beyond Rudd. Joshua Murphy drilled at Martinez on the hour mark, but City still looked suspect to the counter with Barnett racing back to deal with Meade.
Joshua Murphy earned City a lifeline in the 71st minute when he burst between two Arsenal defenders before Hajrovic’s rash challenge halted the youngster inside the Gunners’ penalty box. Fox stepped up to send Martinez the wrong way from the spot, but Arsenal restored their two-goal buffer when Olsson was afforded far too much time to smash past Rudd.
Joshua Murphy continued to probe in the final minutes, when he lined up the over-worked Martin Angha before checking back onto his right foot to steer a cross to the far post that brother Jacob stabbed behind. Fox picked out City substitute Carlton Morris in the 84th minute with a free kick glanced behind from close range before the midfielder advanced onto Michael Clunan’s corner but hammered over in stoppage time.
• Norwich: Rudd, Durojaiye, Tierney, Fox, McNeil, Barnett, Jacob Murphy (Morris 82), Clunan, Loza, King (Hall-Johnson 64), Joshua Murphy. Subs (not used): Gafaiti, Matthews, Toffolo.
• Goals: Loza (14), Fox (72)
• Booking: Loza
• Arsenal: Martinez, Angha (Jebb 90), Bihmoutine (Monteiro 84), Mugabo (Ormonde-Ottewill 58), Hajrovic, Miquel, Olsson, Meade, Akpom, Eisfeld, Gnabry. Subs (not used): Charles-Cook, Jeffrey
• Goals Akpom (13), Eisfeld (32, 49), Olsson (75)
• Bookings: Meade, Hajrovic
• Referee: M Blackledge