Diss Town 0, Norwich City XI 0
SLIDESHOW: Norwich City’s rising stars were given a taste of what is to come when they represent the club in the new season’s Norfolk Senior Cup.
Norwich City's rising stars were given a taste of what is to come when they represent the club in the new season's Norfolk Senior Cup.
The Canaries have returned to the county's premier knockout tournament, when the teenagers who learn their trade at Colney will come up against the men who represent Norfolk's best amateur sides.
Ridgeons League First Division club Diss were, therefore, perfect opponents.
“I'm very pleased,” said Academy boss Ricky Martin. “They are all under-18s, not a single players under, so from that point of view we are playing against a senior group of players who are physically a bit stronger - they are young men and men and I thought the lads dealt with that very well.
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“It's probably our best performance so far pre-season for the Under-18s group. “We may face Diss in the Senior Cup and this is the group of players that will play against them, so when we come here we now know we can compete and be able to express ourselves.”
The absence of any of City's seasoned performers at least ensured a competitive game.
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Richard Brindley was the first to show for City, strike a looping shot from fully 25 yards which was a foot wide of Matthew Webster's left post - the impressive Jordan Rocastle was a little more wayward for Diss minutes later.
Brindley forced Webster into a low save after a smart turn in the area while Andy Moody did well to get his head to a cross from the left by Sam Bryant, who was causing problems down the left flank, but saw his header loop over Remi Matthews' bar.
There was little between the sides in the early stages, although Alex Stephens should have done better on 28 minutes when he headed Matt Ball's header over the bar.
Ball was close soon after when he curled a free-kick over the bar - awarded after Brindley's run had been halted on the edge of the box - but almost gifted the hosts the opener when he lost possession, Moody saving his blushes when he was outnumbered in the City area. Moody was holding his head in his hand with five minutes of the half gone when he sidefooted a volley over the bar from a corner.
Diss skipper Brendan Foley's celebrations were cut short when an offside flag ruled out his goal within two minutes of the restart. Fellow defender Simon Jackson tried to get in on the act, but sent a header inches wide.
Both teams made changes around the hour mark as they sought their version of local bragging rights, and Rocastle almost put Diss in the box seat, with a glancing header that forced Matthews down to his right.
City might have hoped to gain ground in the closing stages as fitness issues came into play, although Brindley's long-range effort from a short free-kick that whistled past the post was all down to brute strength.
But Diss refused to buckle and Craig Skipp was almost their hero with a free-kick that went close as the Tangerines found a second wind.
Keeper Webster produced the save of the night to deny Brindley - and earn the hosts a well-deserved draw.
t Diss Town: Webster, Shadrack, Garner, Jackson, Foley, Watts-Sturrock, Rocastle, Catchpole, Moody, Abbott, Bryant. Subs: Hooks, Mann, Kirkby, Wynne, Bryant, Skipp, Hunt.
t Norwich City: Matthews, Florence, Gordon, Clunan (Dobbs 62), Campbell (McKenzie 80), Jones, Duncan, Ball, Loza (Oakley 46), Brindley, Stephens (Kelly 59). Subs not used: McKenzie.