Norwich City Res 0, Watford Res 1

Michael Bailey Another Michael Theoklitos howler was enough to separate Norwich and Watford reserves in a tale of two penalties at Carrow Road.

Michael Bailey

Norwich Reserves 0, Watford Reserves 1

Another Michael Theoklitos howler was enough to separate Norwich and Watford reserves in a tale of two penalties at Carrow Road.

Returning midfielder Damon Lathrope saw his second half spot kick saved by Hornets goalkeeper Richard Lee after Cody McDonald's tumble, before Theoklitos committed defensive suicide.

The Australian stopper, who has not featured for the first team since conceding seven against Paul Lambert's Colchester United side in the season opener, tried to take the ball past Liam Henderson but the Watford striker dispossessed him before Theoklitos dived at his feet and leaving the big number nine in a heap.

The referee had no option but to point to the spot and Henderson confidently tucked the ball away from 12 yards to settle a keenly contested match in front of more than 1,000 fans at Carrow Road.

Most Read

While Goran Maric and Gary Doherty were the notable absentees for City, Lathrope played his first game since breaking an arm during pre-season and captained the home side.

It was City who earned the first sight of goal after five minutes, Paul McVeigh's superb first-time ball picking out Chris Martin whose shot was blocked; Tom Adeyemi headed his follow-up wide.

Lathrope crossed straight into the empty Barclay after a purposeful break, before McVeigh drove wide as City dominated the early exchanges.

But Watford gained ground as the half wore on and Lewis Young drew a save from Theoklitos after being put through, the City keeper palming low to his left.

McDonald slashed one over from 18 yards moments later, before Marvin Sordell tried his luck just after the half-hour, his terrific long range effort rippling the wrong side of Theoklitos' side netting.

Dario Dumic got caught out by Henderson, with Michael Bryan's resulting free-kick drawing another decent save from the City keeper, while as the first half of a good competitive workout approached, McDonald worked his way into the area but saw his dink deflect off Lee and trickle wide of the far post.

Danny Kelly, playing at centre-back, misjudged a header to let Matt Whichelow in but Dumic covered well, and Eddie Oshodi headed the corner straight at Theoklitos.

Within three minutes of the restart City had the perfect chance to take the lead, centre-back Mathew Sadler leant too hard into McDonald as he prepared to pull the trigger, leaving the striker in a heap and the referee pointing to the spot.

But Lee got down to his right keep out Lathrope's weak penalty.

Just before the hour, Theoklitos hit the self destruct button, trying to take the ball around Henderson but losing out - before bringing his man down as he tied to make amends.

It left the referee with no option and Henderson dusted himself off before doing what Lathrope failed to do, burying the ball in the opposite direction to Theoklitos' dive.

Josh Dawkin's introduction added fresh impetus to the Canaries cause and Jamie Cureton's snatched shot dribbled agonisingly wide, but clear cut chances were in short supply as Watford's committed and resolute defending earned a deserved win and left Paul Lambert - who watched the last 50 minutes from the dug out alongside reserve boss Ian Crook - with a few things to ponder.

Norwich: Theoklitos, Francomb, Dumic, Kelly, Wiggins (Habergham 61), McVeigh, Lathrope, Adeyemi, Martin (Dawkin 69), McDonald, Cureton. Unused subs: Rudd, Brindley, Oakley.

Watford: Lee, Bennett, Travner, Penny, Sadler (Gibson 61), Oshodi, Bryan (Angus 68), Whichelow, Henderson, Sordell, Young (Yiadom 61). Unused subs: Antal, Mingoia.

Referee: S Ross

Attendance: 1,056