Martin welcomes increased competition

DAVID CUFFLEY Lowestoft Town 0, Norwich City 12: Chris Martin fired a four-goal reminder to manager Peter Grant and his rivals for a place in the Norwich City attack, then insisted: “I don't mind the competition."


Lowestoft Town 0, Norwich City 12

Chris Martin fired a four-goal reminder to manager Peter Grant and his rivals for a place in the Norwich City attack, then insisted: “I don't mind the competition.”

The 18-year-old striker completed a first-half hat-trick against Lowestoft Town and followed up with a spectacular fourth goal as the Canaries won the Roy Harper Memorial Shield by a double-figure score in front of a crowd of 2,250 at Crown Meadow last night.

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The Trawlerboys' net was bulging at regular intervals, Martin contributing one third of City's dozen goals and fellow teenager Kris Renton scoring twice in the absence of new signings Jamie Cureton and David Strihavka.

Afterwards, the boy from Beccles said new faces in attack would gee him up in his bid for first-team football.

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He said: “I think competition is always healthy and I hope that will spur me on to improve and play well this season.

“It's my aim just to try to start as many games as I can and score as many goals as possible.

“Hopefully this has got me off to a good start. It's early in the season but it's still nice.

“It's the first time I've played 90 minutes in a while so the legs were a bit heavy towards the end but it should stand me in good stead for the rest of pre-season.”

City boss Peter Grant said of Martin's performance: “I'm delighted for him. I said to him it doesn't matter who comes into the place. Chrissy did exceptionally well last season.”

Martin opened the scoring after 11 minutes with a neat turn and right-foot shot from Luke Chadwick's cross.

Chris Brown made it 2-0 five minutes later with a header from Simon Lappin's centre, his first goal in Canary colours.

Youssef Safri's 35-yard effort caught everyone, including debutant 'keeper Adam Rix, by surprise as he scored the third after 22 minutes.

Robert Eagle fired in the fourth from Martin's pass nine minutes before the break, and Martin struck twice more before half-time, first with a left-foot shot as Chadwick pulled the ball back into his path, then with a header from Eagle's cross.

If Lowestoft were hoping City would go easy after the break, they were mistaken. It was like shooting fish in a barrel.

Michael Spillane scored the seventh after 48 minutes when Rix parried Eagle's cross into his path. Martin and Renton set up Chadwick for number eight five minutes later as he fired through a crowd of players, then a 25-yard special from Martin made it 9-0 in less than an hour.

Rossi Jarvis thumped in a left-footer to make it double figures after 66 minutes, then Renton struck after 68 and 76 minutes, first with a low shot from Bally Smart's cross, then firing home from Martin's pass.

Town only twice seriously threatened to get on the scoresheet. New signing Adam Mills' corner was tipped on to the bar by David Marshall in the first half, then substitute 'keeper Steven Arnold denied Ward four minutes from time.

Grant said: “I thought our attitude was first-class and I thought we played everything in the right manner. The great thing was the mixture of goals.”

Lowestoft joint boss Mick Chapman, who followed the Canaries as a youngster, said: “We can't really thank Norwich City enough for sending such a strong side. People came here tonight to watch Norwich City, not Lowestoft Town, which is quite right.

“It was no disgrace to lose by that score. For us, it's all about preparing for the first league game on August 11.”

The Blues are away to Swaffham in their Ridgeons League Premier Divison opener.

t Lowestoft Town (4-4-2) - Rix; Woodrow, Smith, Potter, Bloomfield; Mills, King, Godbold, Hunn; McGee, Stock. Subs: Poppy, McKenna, Pike, Wyndham, Le Compte, Pasque, High, Hough, Ward.

t Norwich City (4-4-2) - Marshall (Arnold, 63 min); Otsemobor (Lathrope, 56 min), Dublin, Spillane, Lappin; Chadwick (Smart, 60 min), Safri (Rossi Jarvis, 45 min), Hughes, Eagle (Miller, 60 min); Brown (Renton, 45 min), Martin.

t Referee - Mick Thorpe.

t Attendance - 2,250.

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