Reading Under-21s 0, Norwich City Under-21s 0

Korey Smith joined George Francomb as the only starters with first team experience.

Korey Smith joined George Francomb as the only starters with first team experience. - Credit: Archant

Norwich City’s Under-21s development squad stretched their unbeaten run to five matches with a goalless draw yesterday.

Scott Marshall’s young charges stated sluggishly in Berkshire but forced Reading stopper Jon Henly into a superb second half double stop to foil Jacob Murphy. City then survived a late scare when Craig Tanner’s shot clipped the woodwork in the final stages.

“After a month or so without a game it took the lads 20 minutes or so to settle into the match but after that we slowly grew into our stride and created some good chances to perhaps win the game,” said Marshall. “The boys have always prepared themselves well and give a good account of themselves so the break wasn’t too much of an issue for us. We’re pleased with the point.”

With Chris Hughton’s senior squad in Abu Dhabi on a four-day winter training camp, George Francomb and Korey Smith were the only starters with first team experience. Twins Josh Murphy and Jacob Murphy combined well in the first period, with Jamar Loza a constant threat.

Tanner’s free kick flew wide of Remi Matthews in Reading’s best early sighter prior to the interval before Jake Taylor squared to Dominic Samuel who fired over when well-placed. Henly kept the scores level soon after the restart when he foiled Jacob Murphy and then reacted superbly to smother the follow-up.

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Reading tried to up the ante in the closing stages and City earned a slice of luck in the 80th minute Tanner cut inside from the left flank and hammered a strike which rebounded off the post.

• Norwich City Under-21s: Matthews, McNeil, Sheriff, Gafaiti, Toffolo, Francomb (Clunan 80), Smith, Durojaiye (Hall-Johnson 80), Josh Murphy, Jacob Murphy, Loza. (Subs not used): King, McGeehan.

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