City reserves thrash Southend
David Cuffley Norwich City Res 5, Southend United Res 0: Norwich City's sidelined senior players let their feet do the talking on the club's return to Combination football last night.
Norwich City Res 5, Southend United Res 0
Norwich City's sidelined senior players let their feet do the talking on the club's return to Combination football last night.
Defender Gary Doherty, forward Wes Hoolahan and goalkeeper Michael Theoklitos - all currently out of manager Paul Lambert's first team plans - and midfielder Darel Russell, just back in the fold after appearing in the last two games, all played their part in a comprehensive victory over Southend in front of nearly 1,000 fans at Carrow Road.
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The media were advised in advance that none of those four players would be available for interview after the game. Doherty, Hoolahan and Russell have all been subject to transfer speculation.
Doherty was among the scorers and Hoolahan was the outstanding player on show in a performance that delighted reserve team boss Ian Crook, who admitted City could have doubled the score but for Southend goalkeeper Ian Joyce.
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Said Crook: “Their 'keeper pulled off a few good saves. We seemed to hit him with most things in the second half, but I was really pleased.
“I thought some of the football we played at times was good and that's a pleasing aspect of it as well. I think there are ways to win and I always like the game played a certain way, so for me to see that we broke quickly and passed the ball around quite nicely, I'm very happy.”
City were ahead inside three minutes when Hoolahan's artistry set up Chris Martin for a neat sidestep and cool finish from 12 yards.
Four minutes later it was 2-0 as Cody McDonald's shot took a deflection off Justin Clayton to give Joyce no chance.
The Canaries scored a cheeky third in the 43rd minute when Hoolahan slid a free-kick along the ground for Doherty to sidefoot home from close range.
Goran Maric added a fourth in first-half stoppage time with an emphatic finish from McDonald's cross.
Five minutes after the break, Martin was just off target from Russell's pass, but it was 5-0 after 55 minutes. Russell was fouled just outside the Southend area and Simon Whaley scored direct from the resulting free-kick.
McDonald and Maric both came close to extending City's lead while at the other end, Theoklitos clawed away a shot left-handed from Southend substitute Danijel Kosovac in stoppage time to guarantee a clean sheet.
Norwich City Res: Theoklitos; Francomb (Brindley, 78 min), Doherty, Stephens, Habergham; Whaley, Russell (Dumic, 56 min), Hoolahan; McDonald, Maric, Martin (Dawkin, 68 min). Subs (not used) Steer, Kelly.
Southend United Res: Joyce; Sankofa, Clayton, Whittaker, Smith; O'Keefe, Scannell (Milner, 67 min), Sawyer (Dennis, 71 min); Freedman (Kosovac, 76 min), Subotic, Walker. Subs (not used) Bentley, Crawford.
Referee - I Cooper.
Goals - City: Martin 3 min, Clayton og 7 min, Doherty 43 min, Maric 45 min, Whaley 55 min.
Booking - Southend: Sawyer.