Howell stars against his former team
Dereham Town 2, Norwich City XI 1: Norwich Academy product Nicky Howell showed the Canaries what they are missing on Friday night as a brace from the tricky right winger helped Dereham Town beat City 2-1 in a pre-season friendly.
Dereham Town 2, Norwich City XI 1
Norwich Academy product Nicky Howell showed the Canaries what they are missing on Friday night as a brace from the tricky right winger helped Dereham Town beat City 2-1 in a pre-season friendly.
Howell, 22, who scored for Norwich's youngsters in an FA Youth Cup tie at Old Trafford in 2004, bagged goals either side of half-time to deservedly secure a victory for the Magpies in front of a 1,200 crowd at Aldiss Park.
Chris Martin netted for City after eight minutes and he was among fringe first team players - also including Luke Chadwick, Simon Lappin and Robert Eagle - who played in the entertaining match which was full of free-flowing football.
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The rest of the City line-up was made up of Academy and reserve players and they will have learned a lot from their Ridgeons League opponents about commitment and application.
City first team coach Paul Stephenson - who managed the Canaries team last night - said it would be a good lesson for the players, especially with the new arrivals to Carrow Road strengthening the squad
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“The standard of players who have arrived has really raised the bar.
“If these lads wants to keep hold of the shirt they have to step up orthey will be left behind.”
Howell was understandably delighted with his winning double and admitted it had been extra special to score against Norwich as he had been released by the club.
“I am really pleased and we have got to carry this on now for the season,” he commented.
Dereham boss Matt Henman was thrilled with the performance of his players and the crowd - and hopes it will put the team in good stead for the league season to come and also mean they could play more friendlies against City.
Norwich have pulled out of the reserve league and have hinted that they could play more matches against local sides like Dereham.
Friday's match certainly showed it is a worthwhile exercise.
Martin's goal was a delightful lob over Dereham keeper John Higgs after an excellent through ball by left back Robert Eagle.
Danny Beaumont caught the eye for the home side and it was a through ball from him that allowed Howell to equalise for Dereham after 38 minutes.
Beaumont also hit the bar for Dereham and shot narrowly over from 25 yards before the break.
On the stroke of half-time Dereham's Adam Gusterson - another former Norwich player - suffered a dislocated knee and had to go to hospital for tests on the extent of the injury.
In the second half the home side were on top for long periods and Howell got the winner on 59 minutes when he sprang the Norwich offside trap and chipped Nelson.
City pressed for a leveller but the Dereham defence held firm and the home faithful were delighted with the victory.
t Dereham: Higgs, Gusterson, Furlong, Cousins, Miller, Smith, Howell, Hunt, Wood, Barrett, Beaumont.
Subs used: Thompson, Tuttle, Watts, Baker, Garner.
t Norwich City: Nelson, Cooper, Eagle, Smith, Stephens, Habergham, Chadwick, Adeyemi, Martin, Renton, Lappin.
Subs used: Francomb, Kelly, Davey, Daley.