Peterborough Res 5, Norwich City Res 2
Chris Lakey One-time Canaries Academy trialist Shaun Batt condemned Norwich's second string to their first defeat under Ian Crook yesterday.
One-time Canaries Academy trialist Shaun Batt condemned Norwich's second string to their first defeat under Ian Crook yesterday.
The mere presence of the 6ft 2in striker - who had a trial with City in July, 2003 - was enough to unsettle the Canaries rearguard as early as the opening minute, as he prompted David Stephens into a desperate foul which Dominic Green punished with a superbly-taken free-kick.
Green rounded full debutant Richard Brindley two minutes later and then shot into the side-netting before Batt got on the scoresheet after just six minutes, firing home after Gary Doherty and then Declan Rudd failed to clear.
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It was a disastrous start for the Canaries and it took them until the second half to show any signs of recovering - by which time it was too late.
Crook paired Cody McDonald and Goran Maric up front, but the former was suffering the effects of a cold although the latter's lethargy was perhaps more difficult to explain away.
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Despite City's indifferent performance, Wes Hoolahan ran the show in midfield, playing alongside Dario Dumic, who was switched from his usual centre-half role.
Hoolahan tried an audacious shot from distance, but City efforts on goal were rare: Batt was close again while midfielder Tommy Rowe forced keeper Declan Rudd down to his left to prevent a third going past him.
City did pull one back on 22 minutes, and a fine move it was: Hoolahan pushed the ball up to McDonald who pushed it wide to Maric. The ball came back to McDonald who, with his back to goal simply laid it off for Hoolahan to smash into the top right-hand corner from 25 yards.
The impressive Josh Dawkin tried his luck from distance after a mistake by Rowe, who tried to make up for his error but blazed over as City's backline was carved open.
Maric's least impressive act of the afternoon was a terrible tackle on Danny Blanchett which left the midfielder with an ice pack on his knee after the game - and Maric lucky to see only a yellow card.
Batt showed him what strikers should do for a living when he latched on to a ball into the area and fired a right-footer past Rudd to make it 3-1 six minutes before the break.
Jamie Day curled one wide, but City then had another slice of luck on the disciplinary front when Stephens once again struggled to keep hold of Batt and eventually brought him down. It was a mirror image of the first-minute foul, but this time referee didn't even blow is whistle.
Maric wasn't alone in carrying the guilt - Simon Whaley had done little of note but five minuets after the restart had a chance to pull City back into the game, but put a free-kick from 25 yards way over the bar.
Seven minutes later the gap widened, this time Ben Wright, Posh's second big striker, striking from the edge of the area.
Off went Maric, replaced by Danny Kelly, and McDonald, whose departure gave left back Rhoys Wiggins his first appearance in a City shirt following his summer move from Crystal Palace. It meant Hoolahan moving up front, and Sam Habergham switching from left back to midfield, but it was Dawkins who benefited.
A superb run down the left took him past three Posh players, and while his low cross eluded Kelly it was perfect for Whaley, who was steaming in from outside the box. Unfortunately his shot didn't match any other part of the move, finishing somewhere in the deserted visiting end.
Whaley's afternoon was over soon after, but City made a game of it on 79 minutes when Hoolahan's trickery just outside the box set up Dawkin, who rounded one player, then the keeper, before smashing the ball into the roof of the net - just reward for a quality performance.
Batt smashed a hat-trick chance wide but as the match petered out it was his run and low cross from the right which set up Posh sub Nathan Korenteng for the final goal.
t Peterborough Res: McKeown, Austin, Pearce, Blanchett (Andrew 75), Day, Green (Korenteng 60), Torres (Crook 60), Keates, Rowe, Wright, Batt. Subs not used: Piergianni, Appiah.
Goals: Green 1, Batt 6, 39, Wright 57, Korenteng 90
t Norwich Res: Rudd, Brindley, Doherty, Stephens, Habergham, Whaley (Clarke 75), Dumic, Hoolahan, Dawkin, McDonald (Wiggins 60), Maric (Kelly 60).
Subs not used: Osemwegie.
Goals: Hoolahan 22
t Bookings: Maric, foul on Blanchett, 31
t Referee: David Coote (Notts).
t EDP Man of the match: Josh Dawkin.