Young Canaries suffer last-gasp defeat in first game of 2021

Matthew Dennis was denied an equaliser by a good save in the second half at Cheltenham Picture: Ian

Matthew Dennis was on the scoresheet as Norwich City's U23s suffered defeat in their opening match of 2021. - Credit: Archant

Norwich City's U23s squandered a 2-1 advantage to lose 3-2 to Aston Villa's youngsters on Friday evening, with FA Cup third-round scorer Louie Barry netting a hat-trick. 

David Wright's men played their first Premier League 2 game in over a month and suffered defeat in their opening fixture of the new calendar year. 

Barry, who netted for Villa's senior team in their 4-1 FA Cup third-round defeat to Liverpool, opened the scoring from the penalty spot after the referee spotted a push on the young forward. City keeper Joe Rose managed to get his fingertips to the effort, but couldn't keep it out. 

Matthew Dennis equalised after a fine spell of possession from City. Ethen Vaughan's curling cross was met by the on-rushing forward who converted from close range. Ten minutes after the interval, the Canaries found the lead through another cross. 

Reece McAlear's delivery caused chaos in the Villa penalty area, the loose ball fell kindly to Nelson Khumbeni who drove his shot past a number of defenders and into the net. 

Barry was then awarded his second penalty of the afternoon after being fouled by Jordan Thomas. The right-back was playing for the U23s despite being on loan at Leyton Orient, the 20-year-old has only made one appearance in League Two for the O's. 

Aston Villa's Louie Barry during the Emirates FA Cup third round match at Villa Park, Birmingham.

Louie Barry netted a hattrick in the game. - Credit: PA

The former Barcelona youngster emphatically converted his second penalty of the evening, before scoring in stoppage time to secure the victory for the young Villa side.

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Reflecting on the fixture, Wright was keen to draw positives from the encounter, he told the Canaries' official website:

“There’s a lot of positives from tonight, we don’t get hung-up on the bits that went wrong, we always look at the bits that went right, you can still make them better. We’ll look at them and move on.

“The boys haven’t played a game for quite a while, so to come out and put a shift in like that and show numerous bits of quality in and out of possession from such a long time of not playing is pleasing.”

Norwich City U23s: Rose, Vaughan, Thomas, Tomkinson, Nizet, Giurgi (Rowe, 71), Khumbeni, McAlear, Springett, Dennis, Dickson-Peters. Subs not used: Blair, Stewart, Kamara

Goals: Dennis (34), Khumbeni (54)

Bookings: McAlear (32), Thomas (57), Nizet (77)

Aston Villa U23s: Onodi, Walker, Chrisene (Revan, 81), Bridge, M. Sohna (H. Sohna, 64), Sylla, Hayden (c), Bogarde, Barry, Ramsey (Chukwuemeka, 46), Farr. Subs not used: Young, Zych

Goals: Barry (11, 57, 90+3)

Bookings: Sylla (44)

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