‘Overall I’m pleased’ - Plenty of positives for City U21s despite loss
- Credit: Archant
Norwich City Under-21s were left to regret a slow start as they were beaten 1-0 by Cheltenham Town but coach David Wright felt his youngsters were unfortunate to be beaten by the League Two side.
Both teams went into Tuesday night’s game knowing they had already qualified for the knockout stages of the Papa John’s Trophy and that the winner would top the group and be seeded for the regionalised second round draw, with a home tie against a group runner-up.
“The intensity we came out with in the second half was a lot better,” said Wright. “We were braver in our play and more decisive, which enabled us to get up the pitch quicker and show more threat than we did in the first half.”
It was George Lloyd’s calm finish in the 67th minute which earned the win for the Robins but keeper Scott Flinders made good saves to deny City forwards Tyrese Omotoye and Matthew Dennis, while a goal-saving block from Cheltenham defender Grant Horton also thwarted William Hondermarck just before the goal.
“These experiences for our boys are invaluable, playing against seasoned professionals,” Wright continued. “I think it took us the first half just to sort of get into it and understand the game.
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“Then we had a good chat about our level of intensity and, fair play to the boys, they came out and improved that in the second half. Unfortunately we just missed that final pass at the end to finish things off, which would have been great. But overall I’m pleased with the boys.”
It means second place and an away tie against one of the southern group winners for the young Canaries. Of the groups settled so far, that could be against West Ham U21s, Arsenal U21s, Oxford United, Leyton Orient or Cambridge United, with two of the groups still to be completed.
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City’s U21s boss added: “We’ll have an away tie in the next leg, which in certain ways I prefer, because it’s a different experience for the boys, we’ll be going to another ground and playing under the floodlights. So in terms of their development it’s actually really good.
“It’s still regionalised at this stage and it will be against one of the group winners, so we look forward to the draw.”