Martin and Franke in action as Norwich U23s are beaten by Aston Villa at Carrow Road
- Credit: Archant
Experienced defenders Russell Martin and Marcel Franke were unable to prevent Norwich City Under-23s losing 2-1 to Aston Villa at Carrow Road on Sunday.
Neither player has played a league game for the first team since a 4-0 loss at Millwall in the Championship at the end of August but were included as overage players for Matt Gill’s development squad.
Club captain Martin has now played six of the U23s’ last nine matches but summer signing Franke has still been involved with Daniel Farke’s senior squad, featuring as an unused substitute regularly, including during Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Preston.
Alex Pritchard did come on during the closing stages of that first team draw as he played his first match since suffering ankle ligament damage during pre-season. The playmaker was due to get some more game-time with the U23s but a sore neck saw him miss out.
Young midfielders Adam Phillips and Todd Cantwell did start the Premier League Two Division Two game though, having also been unused substitutes for the first team the previous day.
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Despite the presence of Martin and Franke – as well as 31-year-old goalkeeper Paul Jones – Villa took the lead after seven minutes when Jack Doyle-Hayes found Callum O’Hare unmarked, who tapped into an empty net.
Harry McKirdy hit the post with a deflected shot after a rapid counter from the visitors soon after but the young Canaries equalised in the 23rd minute when right-back Max Aarons crossed to allow striker Tristan Abrahams to fire a shot into the top corner, the summer signing from Leyton Orient scoring his fifth goal in 11 games for the U23s.
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Jones made a double save from O’Hare and Jordan Cox in the 55th minute and James Finnerty headed into the side-netting 15 minutes later. Villa reclaimed the lead in the 79th minute when McKirdy broke clear and slotted a shot past Jones, with the same player denied by the City keeper in the closing stages as well.
City U23s: Jones; Aarons, Martin, Franke, Odusina; Phillips (C), Aransibia (Sambu 19); Cantwell (Idah 79), Fonkeu, Kamal (Higgs 63); Abrahams. Unused subs: Oxborough (GK), Wallis