Norwich City 4 Charlton 1 match report: Josh Murphy inspires Canaries’ League Cup win
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Josh Murphy was the catalyst for Norwich City’s League Cup second round 4-1 win over League One Charlton at Carrow Road on Tuesday night.
Murphy notched a brace and teed up Marley Watkins before debutant Tom Trybull sealed the win for Daniel Farke’s side after Lee Novak had rifled the visitors in front.
Farke made six changes in a bid to freshen up his squad but there was a worrying sluggishness from the hosts in the opening minutes. City looked frankly lethargic as Charlton snapped into challenges and pressed high up the pitch. There was another unwanted echo from Villa Park just five minutes in. More indecision defensively when Marcel Franke and Steven Naismith failed to clear and Tarique Fosu pounced to roll in Novak, who guided a rising shot into the roof of Michael McGovern’s net. It was the worst possible start after exhibiting such vulnerability against Aston Villa. It may be early in the season but the questions continue to outweigh the answers. City have conceded the opening goal with alarming regularity. Everything feels a struggle, an uphill battle for elusive momentum, when the tariff was already so challenging given the huge turnover of staff.
Murphy tried to provide a spark with a couple of darts and a curling effort that cleared Dillon Phillips’ bar.
Wes Hoolahan’s game intelligence did not take long to decipher Murphy was the man most likely in an opening quarter that gradually improved for the Canaries. A lovely raking ball inside Regan Charles-Cook was instantly taken, but the Addicks got numbers back.
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Murphy is no doubt tired of comparisons with his upwardly mobile twin but it is worth remembering Jacob’s career trajectory over these past 12 months was rooted in establishing himself as a consistent performer in City’s starting XI around this time last season.
Farke wants to control possession, control the ball but it is already painfully clear the Canaries must develop a more nuanced attacking edge. There was no surprise that he proved pivotal to City’s riposte. Ivo Pinto burst down the right before a deep cross headed back by Watkins for the youngster to guide a low half-volley past Phillips’ despairing dive.
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The Charlton keeper denied Murphy again in their personal duel moments later when he clawed out another fizzing effort destined for the bottom corner.
There was a vibrancy and energy to Murphy’s play that appeared to have a soothing effect on the rest of his team. James Maddison edged centre stage as Charlton retreated to the edge of their own penalty area. The young playmaker burst into the box but his angled strike was superbly blocked by Phillips.
Yet for all the forward potential, Farke’s side still look worryingly fragile when they lose possession. The ease with which Charlton broke the lines was again evident in the 35th minute when Fosu danced his way deep into City’s penalty area only for a phantom pass to roll harmlessly out of play.
But the German was right to point out the absence of Timm Klose and the disrupted early campaign of Pinto on the eve of this battle. Of all the constituent parts in the City XI, it is crucial a settled backline can emerge to forge a cohesive last line of defence. Angus Gunn apart, none of those deployed in the opening league and cup battles had delivered a convincing case for inclusion on a regular basis. Pinto underlined his value to the cause with a committed surge back towards his own goal to halt a Charlton break shortly after the interval.
Murphy’s growing confidence was typified with his second in the 52nd minute. Ezri Konsa tamely allowed Murphy to accelerate towards the byline before opening his body to curl a shot into the opposite corner from just outside the six yard box.
Karl Robinson introduced the powerful Northern Ireland international Josh Magennis. The intention was clear. Get it forward, go direct and probe for that residual weakness we have seen in the Norwich rearguard. McGovern patted a cross over his own line but the hosts dealt with the needless corner. Magennis then looped a header just wide of his compatriot’s far post. It needed a third. Watkins delivered in the 74th minute when he followed up Murphy’s low cross to slot past Phillips from close range.
Farke took the opportunity to introduce Trybull for his debut. The ageless Hoolahan made way to his now customary warm applause. He will be needed again at Millwall, but it was Trybull who made his mark with a swinging volley to seal the win.
• Norwich City: McGovern, Pinto, Martin, Franke (Zimmermann 61), Stiepermann, Tettey, Naismith, Hoolahan (Trybull 77), Maddison (Wildschut 80), Murphy, Watkins. Subs (not used): Matthews (GK), Husband, Vrancic, Godfrey.
• Goals: Murphy (21, 52), Watkins (74), Trybull (89)
• Charlton: Phillips, Jackson, Clarke (Magennis 58), Fosu (Pearce 57), Konsa, Aribo, Ahearne-Grant, Novak, Sarr, Charles-Cook (DaSilva 67), Dijksteel. Subs (not used): Amos (GK), Barnes, Lapsile, Hackett-Fairchild.
• Goal: Novak (5)
• Time added on: 1 minute / 3 minutes
• Referee: Andy Haines (Tyne & Wear)
• Attendance: 12,521