Southend Reserves 2, Norwich Reserves 2
John Landamore Two goals in the space of five minutes from winger Bally Smart saw City reserves come from two goals adrift to grab a share of the points against Southend at Root's Hall yesterday afternoon.
Two goals in the space of five minutes from winger Bally Smart saw City reserves come from two goals adrift to grab a share of the points against Southend at Root's Hall yesterday afternoon.
After an unconvincing first half when they went a goal behind, Paul Stephenson changed things around after the break and it was a much-improved second-half performance from City's second string.
Stephenson named a young side for this, the final away game of the campaign. Schoolboy Sam Habergham made his first start for the reserves while there were two other under-16s on the bench in the shape of Tom Adeyemi and Manny Richardson.
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Southend soon had City on the back foot, with Canary keeper Matthew Gilks having to make a tremendous save to stop a thunderbolt from Franck Moussa, while at the other end, it was a more conventional save from Steve Collis to deny City striker Luke Daley.
With 21 minutes on the clock, Southend opened the scoring when, from the penalty spot, former Spurs player Lee Barnard sent Gilks the wrong way.
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Less than a minute later, City missed a golden opportunity to draw level when Chris Martin did well to control a ball from Rossi Jarvis, only for the reserves' leading scorer to curl a shot wide of the far post.
Stephenson introduced Danny Kelly and Korey Smith at the start of the second half, but on 50 minutes Southend scored their second through Charlie MacDonald, who needed two attempts to beat Gilks.
With 67 minutes on the clock, Smart used his tremendous pace to good effect by beating two defenders before side-footing the ball past Collis.
Just five minutes later, and City were back on level terms when substitute Smith threaded the ball through for Smart, who managed to hold off a challenge before firing the ball home.
Smart almost made it a hat-trick when he was denied by Collis, who tipped his effort over the crossbar in injury time.
t Norwich City: Gilks, Cooper, Habergham (Smith, 45), Lathrope, Cave-Brown, Halliday (Kelly, 45), Smart, Jarvis, Martin, Daley, Eagle. Substitutes not used: Arnold, Adeyemi, Richardson.