Lowestoft Town 1 Norwich City 5 – Canaries bounce back from early slip to cruise past Blues in Micky Chapman’s testimonial
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Pre-season momentum continued to build for Norwich City with a second victory inside three days for new head coach Daniel Farke’s developing team.
The hosts had taken the lead through defender Travis Cole but goals from Cameron Jerome, Steven Naismith and Marley Watkins had fired the visitors 3-1 in front by the break at the newly named Amber Dew Events Stadium.
Further goals from substitutes Mario Vrancic and Nelson Oliveira added some gloss for the Championship side in the sunshine, as another friendly continued the fitness work in warm temperatures for the Canaries.
The match was a second attempt at a testimonial for Trawlerboys legend Micky Chapman – who served the club for 33 years as a player and manager before leaving Ady Gallagher in sole charge in 2015, having been involved in over 1,600 matches – after last season’s effort was washed out by a summer downpour.
Gallagher is getting his squad ready for another season at step three of non-league, the Bostik League Premier Division, after missing out on promotion last season and were well up for the game.
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Jerome was denied one-on-one by home keeper Ben Dudzinski in just the third minute and Steven Naismith fired wide five minutes later in a fairly sedate start.
Canaries academy product Harvey Hodd fired a shot straight at Michael McGovern from the edge of the box soon after before Dudzinski made another good save, denying Josh Murphy from close range.
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Marley Watkins curled a 15-yard shot against the post after being teed up by Jerome and Murphy fired across the face of goal as City moved through the gears – but it was the Trawlerboys who took the lead.
Christoph Zimmermann was penalised for a clumsy aerial challenge on Shaun Bammant, one of the few players on the pitch tall enough to battle with him, and the resulting free-kick was swung in by Ollie Humphrey. Rory McAuley headed down and McGovern thwarted striker Jake Reed initially, only for former Ipswich Town academy product Cole to poke home from close range.
The lead lasted just four minutes though, young left-back Jamal Lewis firing a shot which McAuley could only block with his hand. Jerome stepped up and fired the spot-kick into the bottom-left corner for 1-1 and his first goal of pre-season.
Another fine save from Dudzinski denied Watkins from close range in the 30th minute and a good block from McAuley denied a shot from Maddison as the visitors rallied.
More lively play from Lewis and Murphy on the left saw Maddison blast across goal and wide of the right post as his search for a goal continued but the Canaries claimed the lead in the 38th minute.
Watkins was in the thick of the action again, slipping Naismith in behind the Lowestoft defence and the Scot calmly firing under the onrushing keeper from the edge of the six-yard box.
There was time for another before the break as well, with Watkins getting on the scoresheet, beating Dudzinski to a lovely ball through from Murphy and rolling into an unguarded net for 3-1.
Norwich head coach Farke made six changes at half-time of his first game on East Anglian soil, replacing McGovern in goal with Remi Matthews and Lewis at left-back with Harry Toffolo. In the forward areas it was Jerome, Naismith, Maddison and Murphy to make way for Nelson Oliveira, Mario Vrancic, Alex Pritchard and Carlton Morris.
Those substitutes soon had an impact, Morris heading over from a Vrancic corner and Oliveira then making it 4-1 in the 58th minute, with a straight-forward finish from 10 yards after a low cross from the right from Morris.
The Portuguese striker has been strongly linked with Reading in recent days but it is understood those reports are wide of the mark and City are not interested in selling the striker, with Farke refusing to comment on the situation after the game.
Morris then started another move which brought a goal, holding up to allow Toffolo to roll to Vrancic from the left and the Bosnia & Herzegovina international slotting an arrowed shot into the top-right corner from around 15 yards for 5-1.
There were a couple of late injury scares, with Lowestoft youngster Callum Bishop booked for a clumsy studs-up tackle which left Southampton loanee Harrison Reed in a heap on the floor but appearing to escape without serious damage.
Zimmermann had rushed in to stop tempers boiling over in the aftermath of that incident but there was one further flashpoint, Blues defender Cole being left needing treatment after an aerial clash when defending a late corner. The centre-back was stretchered off the pitch around 15 minutes after the game had finished and taken to hospital to be checked over.
Norwich continue their pre-season preparation away at League Two side Stevenage on Tuesday night (7.45pm kick-off) and Lowestoft face local rivals Kirkley & Pakefield at home next Saturday (3pm).
Lowestoft: Dudzinski (Putnins 74); Barker, McAuley (Westlake 60), Cole, Humphrey; White (Nyadzayo 68), Zielonka (Bishop 85), Hodd (Haizel 63), Bammant; Greenleaf; Reed (Tarft 82)
Goal: Cole 21
Norwich first half: McGovern; Wildschut, Godfrey, Zimmermann, Lewis; Reed; Watkins, Naismith, Maddison, Josh Murphy; Jerome.
Norwich second half: Matthews; Wildschut, Zimmermann, Godfrey, Toffolo; Reed; Watkins, Pritchard, Vrancic, Morris; Oliveira.
Goals: Jerome pen 25, Naismith 38, Watkins 44, Oliveira 58, Vrancic 62
Referee: Andy Sannerude
Attendance: 2,500 (approximately)