Luton Town 1-5 Norwich City: Drmic hat-trick seals Canaries’ friendly romp at Hatters
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Josip Drmic plundered a first half hat-trick in Norwich City’s impressive 5-1 friendly victory against Championship new boys Luton Town at Kenilworth Road on Saturday.
City served up their most potent attacking display of pre-season with the Swiss international a stand out performer, along with another of the summer signings, Manchester City loanee Patrick Roberts.
Drmic grabbed a 29-minute hat-trick after Marco Stiepermann had opened the scoring, with Roberts sealing the rout in the second half from 20 yards.
The 22-year-old also served up two assists from corners and picked out Todd Cantwell with a sublime long pass in a move that brought Drmic's second.
Dan Potts had briefly responded for the Hatters, just past the half-hour mark, but the damage had already been done by Daniel Farke's visitors.
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Teemu Pukki and Emi Buendia were the notable absentees from the squad. Both took part in Friday's open training session at Carrow Road, although Buendia did limp out of the gentle work out before the end.
Drmic got a chance to lead the line with Cantwell, Stiepemann and Roberts supporting the Swiss international.
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Timm Klose showed his intent seconds into the friendly with a gorgeous raking ball for the overlapping Jamal Lewis but Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu produced a sliding half-volley to clear.
Roberts conjured another inviting switch for Lewis that led to the opening goal. From the corner, Stiepermann reacted quickest to guide home Kenny McLean's near post flick from Roberts' delivery.
City's early attacking endeavour was in marked contrast to the lethargic offering in the sweltering heat against Brentford during midweek. They doubled their lead in the sixth minute when Cantwell's flick freed Max Aarons who drove into the box and cut the ball back for the unmarked Drmic to sidefoot past Simon Sluga from close range.
Norwich's collective intent continued to unsettle the Championship new boys. Aarons worked space again but there were enough orange shirts on the cover.
City made it three inside the opening 14 minutes when Roberts superbly clipped a ball centrally for Cantwell. Sluga thrust out an arm to block the initial shot but Drmic was again quickest to react to cushion the rebound into the empty net.
Pockets of Luton's home support vented their frustration but the Hatters did pin City back in the 25th minute with a slick move down the left before McLean came across to thwart James Collins.
Roberts remained prominent in Norwich's best attacking work and just past the half-hour mark he checked inside to curl a right-footed goalbound effort that deflected behind for a corner.
City escaped in the 32nd minute when the diving Elliot Lee was just unable to divert Ryan Tunnicliffe's low cross past Tim Krul at the back post.
They were not so lucky two minutes later when Potts rose unchallenged to meet Andrew Shinnie's free kick to lash the rebound past Krul from inside the six yard box.
Norwich replied from the restart. Drmic completed his hat-trick with a soaring near post leap after meeting Roberts' corner with a looping header over the stranded Sluga.
Potts escaped down the left in the final minute of the opening period but Collins mis-kicked at the near post.
Farke resisted any temptation to make changes at the interval.
Lewis got caught under a high clearance to spark another near miss from the Canaries' perspective when Luton worked the ball to Tunnifcliffe who rifled a shot that brushed the top of Krul's netting.
But Roberts conjured the goal his all-round display merited in the 55th minute with a thumping hit from 20 yards that barrelled into Sluga's top right-hand corner.
That was Farke's cue for a trio of substitutions with both full backs replaced by Sam Byram and Philip Heise and Dennis Srbeny on for Stiepermann.
Roberts danced his way into the Luton box in the 67th minute but Byram carved his cut back well over before Grant Hanley planted Heise's corner over from eight yards.
The Scottish international was then needed in his own area to clear, with Collins lurking at the far post from Luke Berry's cross.
Adam Idah was part of the second wave of City substitutions as the game entered the final quarter and the Republic of Ireland was penalised for a shove on Berry, but Krul gathered the Luton midfielder's free kick.
Onel Hernandez spurned a late chance to add a sixth when he miscued 10 yards out, although the Cuban was adamant his sliced effort had brushed a Luton player.
- Luton Town: Sluga, Cranie, Potts, Tunnicliffe, Bradley, Pearson, McManaman (Cornick 75), Collins, Lee (Moncur 59), Shinnie (Berry 59), Mpanzu. Subs (not used): Jones, Galloway, Neufville, Shea.
- Booking: Berry (foul on McLean, 77)
- Goal: Potts (34)
- Norwich City: Krul, Aarons (Byram 60), Hanley (Godfrey 80), Klose, Lewis (Heise 60), Trybull (Leitner 73), McLean, Roberts (Hernandez 73), Stiepermann (Srbeny 60), Cantwell (Idah 73), Dmic. Sub (not used) Fahrmann.
- Goals: Stiepermann (4), Drmic (6, 14, 35), Roberts (55)
- Referee: Keith Stroud (Hampshire)
- Attendance: 4,280 (642 away fans)