Leon looking for winning combination

PUBLISHED: 08:22 21 February 2006 | UPDATED: 09:13 14 September 2010

CHRIS LAKEY

Norwich Reserves 2, Chelsea Reserves 2: Canaries striker and boxing fan Leon McKenzie is aiming to deliver a stunning one-two in London at the weekend to put the city of Norwich firmly into the national headlines.

Norwich Reserves 2, Chelsea Reserves 2: Canaries striker and boxing fan Leon McKenzie is aiming to deliver a stunning one-two in London at the weekend to put the city of Norwich firmly into the national headlines.

McKenzie, whose rehabilitation after injury continued in impressive style with City's Reserves last night, will be keeping his fingers crossed that gets a run-out against Crystal Palace in the afternoon before heading a few miles around London to the Docklands area to support city fighter Jackson Williams in his headline-grabbing clash with rising star Amir Khan.

First on McKenzie's agenda is Selhurst Park and Palace, a club he left in October, 2000, where a third win on the trot for the Canaries would really have some of the other play-off contenders looking over their shoulders.

McKenzie came off the bench to score City's third in a 3-3 draw at Selhurst Park last season and is itching to get another chance this weekend.

“We have just got to go there and treat it like any other game,” said McKenzie. “It would be nice to come on and put one in against them again.”

McKenzie's comeback continues apace, with three appearances as a sub, and an excellent hour for the reserves against Chelsea at Carrow Road last night.

McKenzie slotted home a penalty after just nine minutes after Ian Henderson had been fouled, and on 17 minutes made a superb run down the left and into the area before squaring the ball for Ryan Jarvis to back-heel past goalkeeper Lenny Pidgeley - a finish reminiscent of Gianfranco Zola's FA Cup strike for Chelsea against City four years ago.

It was a terrific start to the game for City, who were fielding a side containing just one outfield player - Andrew Fisk - without senior first team experience.

Jason Shackell was a rock in the centre of City's defence, with Jason Jarrett and Simon Charlton pulling the strings in midfield, and McKenzie an ever-willing runner up front.

Reserve team matches are so often dull affairs, but this was anything but, as the experience of City pitted its wits against the youngsters from the King's Road. For most of the first half it was no contest, as the Canaries strung together some fine one-touch passing moves.

Chelsea may have a different attitude towards their reserve team than many other clubs, rarely fielding first team players, but they don't stint with their support crew; there was hardly enough room in and around the visiting dug-out for their backroom staff - and they also had their own TV crew who were filming it for live broadcast on Chelsea TV.

On the field, their main dangerman was impressive midfielder Danny Hollands, who has a left foot to savour, and isn't afraid of using it.

It was Holland who brought Chelsea back into the game on 26 minutes. Fisk lost possession and Holland saw a gap in the far corner, some 25 yards away. One swing of the trusty left foot and Paul Gallacher was picking the ball out of the net.

Chelsea's equaliser wasn't quite so exquisite, although Holland was once again involved as his shot was deflected past the stranded City keeper. Jimmy Smith took the credit, although it looked suspiciously like a yellow sock that had the last touch.

McKenzie almost put City in the lead two minutes before half-time with a brilliant turn and shot, but the ball went inches wide of the far post.

After a cracking first half, the second petered out in comparison: there endeavour and commitment was still evident, but the football was quite as flowing as the changes were made.

Hollands went close with a shot that hit the post but as the subs came and went, so did the game. City lacked McKenzie's punch up front and both team and player will be looking for just that little extra in London.

The perfect weekend for McKenzie would be three points at the Palace, followed by a good result for City boxer Williams, who should have the support of a number of Canaries player among the 10,000 crowd at London's ExCeL Arena.

McKenzie has boxing in his blood - his father Clinton was a British and European light-welterweight champion and uncle Duke is a former three-time world flyweight title holder - and is a regular visitor to the Kickstop gym in Norwich where Williams trains.

“It's a great opportunity for Jackson because he is fighting someone who is the man of the moment,” he said.

“It will obviously be tough but I am sure he will go out there and give a good account of himself.

“Amir Khan has got it all. He has got youth on his side, he's fast, he's strong - and he's getting bigger and hitting harder. When he starts fighting at the highest level he'll perhaps need to tighten up on his defence but I don't see any reason why he shouldn't follow in the footsteps of Duke and become a world champion.”

Norwich: Gallacher, Colin (Cave-Brown 76), Spillane, Shackell, Rossi Jarvis, Fisk, Jarrett, Charlton, Ryan Jarvis (Eagle 66), Henderson, McKenzie (El Ouargui 61).

Chelsea: Pidgeley, Smith, Elmer (Bertrand 90), Mancienne, Pettigrew, Grant (Cork 81), Younghusband (Cummings 61, Smith, Sinclair, Hollands, Simmonds. Subs not used: Hamann.

Attendance: 4,507

Time added on: 1min/2mins

Referee: J Hopkins

Bookings: Chelsea - Hollands, 71, dissent; Smith, 76, foul on Henderson.

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