Norwich City 1, Colchester United 7

Norwich City's new campaign in League One under manager Bryan Gunn started in sensational fashion at Carrow Road - but in X-certificate manner with a nightmare thrashing at the hands of East Anglian rivals Colchester United.

The Canaries were a shocking 4-0 down inside 22 minutes and were eventually hit for seven on a shameful afternoon, suffering their heaviest home defeat of all time, beating the record of a 6-1 defeat at the hands of Bournemouth in 1946 .

The last time City conceded seven goals was in their 7-1 defeat at Blackburn in the Premier League on October 3, 1992.

Colchester scored four times in the space of 12 minutes as Kevin Lisbie, Clive Platt twice and David Fox stunned a 25,000-plus crowd, and Lisbie made it 5-0 before half-time.

Substitute Cody McDonald reduced the arrears after 71 minutes, but a stunning goal by substitute David Perkins made it 6-1 five minutes later.

Another Colchester substitute, Scott Vernon, scored the seventh in the final minute to complete an astonishing rout.

Soon after Colchester's fourth goal, two City fans ran on to the field and threw their season tickets in the direction of manager Gunn and the dug-out.

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City fielded six summer signings in the starting line-up with goalkeeper Michael Theoklitos, centre-half Michael Nelson, winger Simon Whaley, midfield pair Matthew Gill and Owain Tudur Jones and striker Grant Holt all included in Gunn's eleven.

International clearance was given for Danish defender Jens Berthel Askou and Serbian striker Goran Maric, but only Maric made it on to the bench.

Striker Jamie Cureton was included among the seven substitutes against his former club, while former City loan striker Lisbie was in the Colchester side after joining the club on a season-long loan from Ipswich.

The flag-waving fervour from that greeted the Canaries as they took the field could hardly have been greater had they been about to start a Premier League campaign, with a full house producing a blaze of colour and Colchester's 1,700 fans adding to the sense of occasion.

The match was preceded one minute's applause in memory of the late Sir Bobby Robson, former England manager, and both sides wore black armbands.

With six minutes gone, a surging run by Otsemobor almost provided the breakthrough but his low centre was cut out inside the six-yard box, and some wizardry by Hoolahan created a shooting chance for Whaley but his effort was blocked.

Colchester stunned the home crowd by taking the lead after 10 minutes, Lisbie scoring a bizarre goal. Otsemobor tried to chip the ball back to goalkeeper Theoklitos but it was high above him and, in missing his punch, he left Lisbie with the simple task of walking the ball into the net.

Things went from bad to worse less than three minutes later when Platt made it 2-0. Lisbie got the better of Doherty on the left side of the area and curled in a low shot that Theklitos failed to hold, Platt tucking away the rebound.

With 19 minutes gone, the scale of the disaster facing City was clear when Platt made it 3-0 with a simple tap-in at the far post following a cross by Hackney.

City's embarrassment became even more acute when Fox curled in a direct free-kick after 22 minutes to make it 4-0 after Nelson had fouled Vincent.

Two fans had already had enough and raced on to the field to throw their season tickets in the direction of manager Gunn, who had come down to the touchline. The two intruders had to be restrained and at one stage City physio Simon Spencer had one fan under each arm.

There were claims for a penalty nine minutes before the break when Hammond appeared to handle following a long throw by Gill, but referee Shoebridge was unimpressed.

Incredibly, it was 5-0 after 38 minutes when Lisbie scored his second. A long throw from the left touchline by Tierney was flicked on by Platt for Lisbie to plant a simple header into the net.

Tudur Jones fired over the top from Hoolahan's pass in the closing minute of the half, but Colchester goalkeeper Williams had been a virtual spectator.


HALF-TIME: Norwich City 0, Colchester United 5


Lisbie missed a golden chance to complete a hat-trick in the opening minute of the second half when he was clean through but failed to get in a clean shot.

Vincent should have scored three minutes later when he fired over the top from a low centre by Lisbie.

Doherty was just off target with a header as City attempted to claw back some of the deficit, but Lisbie fired wide at the other end as Colchester broke.

McDonald and debutant Adeyemi were introduced for Martin and Gill with 58 minutes gone.

After an hour, City finally managed an effort on target as Whaley's corner was met by a powerful header by Tudur Jones, Williams making a fine save.

The Canaries finally got on the scoresheet after 71 minutes when substitute McDonald moved on to a header by Holt and shot through Williams' legs for his second goal for the club.

Adeyemi fired narrowly wide two minutes later.

Colchester substitute Perkins restored his side's five-goal advantage, however, after 76 minutes with a stunning left-foot volley.

In the final minute, two more substitutes combined to make it 7-1 as Vernon scored a simple goal from a pass by Izett.

City left the field to inevitable chants of "What a load of rubbish" and that was putting it politely.


RESULT: Norwich City 1, Colchester United 7


Norwich City: Theoklitos; Otsemobor, Doherty, Nelson, Drury; Whaley, Gill (Adeyemi, 58), Tudur Jones, Hoolahan; Holt, Martin (McDonald, 58). Subs (not used): Alnwick, Spillane, Lappin, Cureton, Maric.


Colchester United: Williams, Beevers, Okuonghae, Baldwin, Tierney, Vincent (Izzet, 70), Fox, Hammond, Hackney (Perkins, 66), Lisbie (Vernon, 62), Platt. Subs (not used): Cousins, Maybury, Holt, Thomas.


Referee: Rob Shoebridge


Attendance: 25,217


Goals: City: McDonald (71). Colchester: Lisbie (10, 38), Platt (13, 19), Fox (22), Perkins (76), Vernon (90).


Bookings: City: Doherty (62 . Colchester: Tierney (59), Fox (65).