Dartford 2, Norwich City 7
David Cuffley Norwich City hit the goal trail in no uncertain fashion as they scored seven times in their pre-season friendly against Ryman League club Dartford at Princes Park.
Norwich City hit the goal trail in no uncertain fashion as they scored seven times in their pre-season friendly against Ryman League club Dartford at Princes Park.
The Canaries led 3-1 at the interval thanks to new defender Michael Nelson, triallist Scott Neilson and skipper Gary Doherty (43 min), while Dartford's goal came through Lee Noble after nine minutes.
After the break, Chris Martin struck twice to make it 5-1 before James White reduced the arrears.
Substitute Jamie Cureton then scored twice in the space of four minutes, netting from the rebound after his penalty was saved before floating in City's seventh with a delightful effort.
There was no sign of midfield duo Sammy Clingan and Darel Russell, whose absence is bound to throw doubt over their respective futures with the club after relegation to League One.
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Manager Bryan Gunn also revealed that 25-year-old Serbian striker Goran Maric, formerly with Barcelona B, was warming up with the squad and would travel to Scotland for the pre-season tour tomorrow, but would not play today.
To add a dash of spice to the afternoon, Andy D'Urso, controversial figure in the Canaries' games against Bristol City in the past two seasons, was referee.
City were ahead inside three minutes as Nelson took no time at all to make his mark, getting the better of 'keeper Andrew Young to head the Canaries in front from a free-kick by Simon Lappin after Scott Neilson had been brought down.
City forced their first corner after seven minutes and although Lappin's flag-kick was cleared, Adam Drury swung in a cross from the left and Nelson headed narrowly wide at the far post.
Dartford drew level from their first threatening attack with a well-worked goal after nine minutes when Ryan Hayes crossed from the right and Noble stole into the six-yard box to beat goalkeeper Declan Rudd from close range.
City were operating with Neilson on the right, Lappin on the left and Michael Spillane and Owain Tudur Jones in central midfield, with Wes Hoolahan alongside Martin in attack.
Noble threatened again after 14 minutes when his curling free-kick, from the edge of the area, was deflected over the top for a corner.
Martin got his foot to Lappin's low centre as City hit back but his first-time effort rolled wide.
Martin produced an excellent effort midway though the half, turning to hit a swerving left-foot shot from outside the area that Young dived to his right to keep out.
Hayes was proving a handful for the Canaries and after having one effort deflected wide, Jamie Day swung in a corner from which Jamie Coyle forced Rudd into action with a downward header.
Dartford made a change after 35 minutes with goalscorer Noble replaced by Husein Isa.
A fumble by Young presented Martin with a shooting chance, but the 'keeper recovered well to block the striker's low shot.
Seven minutes before half-time, City regained the lead with a superb goal through Neilson. The triallist latched on to a raking diagonal pass by Spillane and cut inside on to his left-foot to beat Young with a curling left-foot shot from the edge of the area.
Spillane's header was clawed off the line by Young two minutes before the break, but Doherty headed home from a Lappin corner moments later to make it 3-1.
James White hit the post for Dartford on the stroke of half-time.
t Half-time: Dartford 1, Norwich City 3
Neilson tried his luck from long range early in the second half, but shot straight at Young.
Eight minutes after the break, Matty Pattison and Jamie Cureton replaced Tudur Jones and Hoolahan, and Pattison made an impact in the space of two minutes.
Pattison found Martin with a well-judged through-ball and the striker showed excellent control before tucking a low shot past Young to make it 4-1.
Martin struck again after 66 minutes, heading home from a cross by Neilson to score his second.
Spillane then had two efforts blocked as City looked to add to their goal tally.
Dartford reduced the arrears after 68 minutes when White scored with a superb diving header from a cross by substitute Adam Burchall.
With just over 20 minutes left, Cody McDonald was given a rousing welcome on his old ground when he replaced Martin.
With 15 minutes left, McDonald was felled by Billy Burgess and referee D'Urso pointed to the spot. Cureton's penalty was well saved by substitute 'keeper Mott, but Cureton was first to the rebound to knock the ball home.
Cureton scored his second with 10 minutes left, floating in a delightful shot from a pass by McDonald to make it 7-2.
Lappin almost scored the eighth with a volley that flew over the top.
t Result: Dartford 2, Norwich City 7
t Dartford: Young (Mott, 56), Burgess, Gross, Beales (Eferakerho, 56), Coyle, Dafter (Dent, 70), Hayes (Dingri, 81), Day, Burns (Burchall, 64), White, Noble (Isa, 35, Crouch, 81).
t Norwich City: Rudd, Otsemobor, Drury, Doherty (Dumic, 66), Nelson, Tudur Jones (Pattison, 53), Neilson (McVeigh, 82), Spillane (Gill, 74), Martin (McDonald, 69), Hoolahan (Cureton, 53), Lappin. Subs (not used) Steer, Adeyemi, Stephens.
t Referee: Andy D'Urso.
t Attendance: 1,910.
Dartford: Noble (9), White (68).
City: Nelson (3), Neilson (38), Doherty (43), Martin (55, 66), Cureton (76, 80).