Gunners crush weak City Reserves
CHRIS WISE Norwich City Reserves 0, Arsenal Reserves 5: City's miserable season at Premiership Reserve League level continued when an extremely inexperienced side was totally outclassed by a vibrant young Arsenal outfit.
Norwich City Reserves 0, Arsenal Reserves 5
City's miserable season at Premiership Reserve League level continued when an extremely inexperienced side was totally outclassed by a vibrant young Arsenal outfit.
With no professionals to call upon, coach Keith Webb was forced to draft in five students from Easton College to fill out his threadbare squad and although his side worked hard for the full 90 minutes they simply didn't have the quality to trouble the visitors.
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The Canaries defended bravely all night, with Andrew Cave-Brown doing a solid job as a makeshift central defender, while up front Bally Smart looked dangerous at times and Chris Martin worked his socks off for the cause.
But there was never any doubt that the Gunners were going to come away with the points. And they could easily have won by a far greater margin, with the woodwork twice coming to City's rescue in the first half - and Joe Lewis making a number of fine stops after the break to keep the final scoreline reasonably respectable.
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A crowd of over 4000 were treated to an exciting display of passing football from a visiting side including a number of players who were on the bench in Saturday's FA Cup defeat at Bolton.
It took the Gunners less than three minutes to move in front as Anthony Stokes latched on to a poor punch from Lewis to stroke the ball home.
But the visitors didn't have it all their own way and City then battled well, while riding their luck at times, to keep them at bay until the early stages of the second half.
Then the floodgates really opened, with watching assistant manager Pat Rice being treated to a spectacular three-goal blast from his side in the space of five minutes.
Italian youngster Arturo Lupoli gave the scoreline a more realistic look when he latched on to Nicklas Bendtner's through ball and beat Lewis with an exquisite chipped finish and then, in the very next attack, Giorgos Efrem nodded home a rebound following an excellent reflex stop from the keeper.
Bendtner promptly made it 4-0 as he muscled through the City defence before blasting home from close range - and at that stage you really feared for Webb's youngsters.
But, to their credit, they stuck to their task, and only conceded one more goal - a well-struck 22-yard free-kick from Stokes nine minutes from time.
t Norwich City Reserves: Lewis, Smith, Eagle, Edwards (Gitau 62), Fulcher, Cave-Brown, Eames (Kerr 70), Muddel, Martin, Howlett, Smart. Sub not used: Arnold.
t Arsenal Reserves: Mannone, Rodgers, Traore (Tracy 68), Larsson, Hoyte, Muamba, Efrem (Elston 68), Stokes, Bendtner, Lupoli, Murphy (Steer 75). Sub not used: Butcher.
t Attendance: 4644