Talented teens impress despite ‘scruffy’ performance from Norwich U23s during draw with Brighton

Louis Lomas, right, in Youth Cup action against Barnsley, made his full U23s debut against Brighton.

Louis Lomas, right, in Youth Cup action against Barnsley, made his full U23s debut against Brighton. Picture by Matthew Usher/Focus Images - Credit: Matthew Usher/Focus Images Ltd

The efforts of a young Norwich City Under-23 side to draw away at Brighton impressed coach Matt Gill.

With two 17-year-olds making their full debuts at U23 level, centre-back Louis Lomas and Adam Idah, the young Canaries drew 1-1 with the Seagulls in Premier League Two.

The PL2 point, earned at Crawley Town’s Checkatrade Stadium, saw Gill’s squad finish 2018 on a three-game unbeaten run following on from 1-0 wins at Division Two leaders Middlesbrough and at Bury, in the PL Cup group stages.

“We were a really young team tonight, probably the youngest we’ve been in a long time,” Gill said after Monday’s draw.

“We had a few 17-year-olds playing and it was a really good experience for them to come away and not get beat.

“It was both Adam (Idah) and Louis’ (Lomas) full debuts at this level. For them both to start as first-year scholars is fantastic. All credit to them for the development they’ve made since being at the club.”

Those full debuts followed last week’s 4-1 win over Barnsley in the FA Youth Cup for City’s U18s, when Irish striker Idah scored a 10-minute hat-trick at Carrow Road.

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Full-backs Max Aarons and Bilal Kamal also played in that game but have featured regularly for the U23s as well this season.

It was a goal from 19-year-old defender Owen Walliss which had given City the lead against Brighton, heading home a Todd Cantwell corner in the 50th minute, only to be cancelled out 14 minutes later.

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“As far as away performances go, I’m slightly disappointed with our control of the game,” Gill also told City’s website. “We didn’t keep the ball as well as we normally do.

“We’re used to being a possession-based team and I felt we were a little bit scruffy tonight in all areas of the pitch. But they have to be exposed to different environments and games at this level. It was a tough pitch tonight and the lads dug in.

“We took the lead and on another night may have held out. But a point each is a fair result in the end.”

The U23s are scheduled to return to PL2 action at Stoke City on Monday, January 8.

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