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Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Norwich City’s Under-18s reached the sixth round of the FA Youth Cup with a 2-1 win over Birmingham City at Carrow Road.
A last minute equaliser had meant extra-time was needed, but Cameron McGeehan’s 113th minute header sealed City’s safe passage.
City’s best opening of the first half took just 14 seconds to materialise, as Joshua Murphy burst down the left before pulling the ball back for Reece Hall-Johnson who saw Birmingham keeper Nicholas Townsend fingertip his side-footed effort beyond the far post.
Two goalmouth scrambles also offered sights of the visitors’ goal as City enjoyed more of the possession, while constantly looking for the twin outlet of Jacob and Joshua Murphy on the right and left flanks respectively.
But Birmingham’s bright forward line threatened on the counter throughout. Kyle McFadden’s sliding block from Koby Arthur’s drive saw muted claims for a handball in the box; claims that were much louder and more convincing when Reece Hales beat City keeper William Britt to the ball on the byline, before the striker was sent into the hoardings.
Moments earlier the City stopper had done well to get down to Callum Thomson’s deft flick, which had looked destined to cross the line.
The promise of the game opening up after the break failed to materialised, instead both sides exchanged efforts from distance.
The visitors’ attacks became more direct as City tried to force the issue but struggled to show a ruthless touch, and only superb work from Harry Toffolo - recently handed his first call-up to England’s Under-18 squad - kept out a combination of the hard running Hales and Arthur.
With the game losing its way, a bit of 77th-minute magic from Jacob Murphy looked enough to seal City’s progress to the sixth round. The winger cut inside full-back Bobby Moseley down the right before firing in an unstoppable low drive with his left that gave Townsend no chance.
Britt then did his bit, producing a wonderful save at full stretch to keep out Liam Truslove’s true strike.
Murphy should have put the tie beyond doubt only for his drive to thump against the bar, while Townsend stood up well to deny clean-through substitute Rod Young.
And City were made to pay four minutes into five added, as Kyle McFadden’s slip let in Blues substitute George O’Neill who pounced to coolly slot home under the advancing City goalkeeper. The opening minute of extra-time saw Arthur fail to make the most of being put through on goal, while lively substitute Rod Young cut in from the right before striking the inside of Townsend’s near post - only to see the ball agonisingly ricochet across the face of goal.
But with seven minutes before penalties, Birmingham keeper Townsend had a moment to forget as he inexplicably let City captain Cameron McGeehan’s header slip into his net after Joshua Murphy’s well-flighted free-kick.
• City (4-2-3-1): Britt; Norman, McFadden, Toffolo, Wyatt; McGeehan (c), Hall-Johnson; Jacob Murphy, King (Young 78), Josh Murphy; Morris. Unused sub: Lokko, Swatman, Carroll, Randall. Booking: Toffolo; Goal: Jacob Murphy 77, McGeehan 113
• Birmingham (4-4-1-1): Townsend; Bernard (Ebanks 46), Fry (c), Thomson, Moseley (O’Neill 83); Adams, Truslove, Brown, Gray (Solomon-Otabor 78); Arthur; Hales. Unused sub: Kalenda, Preston. Goal: O’Neill 90+4.