Swindon 0 Norwich City 0 (Norwich win 5-3 on penalties)
Goalkeeper Fraser Forster proved the hero as Norwich City kept on course for a place at Wembley with a penalty shoot-out victory in their Johnstone’s Paint Trophy area quarter-final at Swindon.
Swindon Town 0, Norwich City 0
(Norwich won 5-3 on penalties)
Goalkeeper Fraser Forster proved the hero as Norwich City kept on course for a place at Wembley with a penalty shoot-out victory in their Johnstone's Paint Trophy area quarter-final at Swindon.
Forster saved Swindon's fourth spot-kick from Craig Easton, leaving Jamie Cureton to complete a perfect five out of five for the Canaries with the winning penalty against his former club.
Owain Tudur Jones, Stephen Hughes, Michael Nelson and Jens Berthel Askou also scored from the spot as City moved within two rounds of a place in the final.
Ninety minutes of fairly humdrum action failed to separate the sides or even produce a goal, so the shoot-out provided what drama there was, with 848 travelling City fans in a crowd of nearly 5,000 at the County Ground.
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Seventeen-year-old Josh Dawkin was given his first senior start as manager Paul Lambert made nine changes to his starting line-up.
Only defenders Michael Nelson and Jens Berthel Askou survived from the eleven who started the FA Cup first round victory at Paulton Rovers three days ago.
Jon Otsemobor returned at right-back three weeks after suffering a recurrence of a hamstring injury in the League One defeat at Leeds, while Fraser Forster returned in goal at the expense of Declan Rudd.
Cody McDonald and Jamie Cureton were paired in attack, while Stephen Hughes was named among the substitutes.
Billy Paynter missed a great chance to give Swindon the lead in the seventh minute when he stabbed horribly wide from a low cross by Jon-Paul McGovern.
City's first real attempt came after 15 minutes when Cureton volleyed over from close range after skipper Nelson had headed on Paul McVeigh's corner.
McDonald brought goalkeeper Phil Smith into action after 20 minutes when he harried Swindon skipper Gordon Greer and his low shot was blocked at close range.
Both McDonald and Cureton were in the wars in the early stages and Cureton needed treatment after landing awkwardly on his back.
It was a half short of clear-cut chances but Swindon defender Scott Cuthbert forced 'keeper Fraser Forster into a sharp save after a free-kick ricocheted into his path.
Four minutes before the break, Paynter struck a volley straight at Forster, but it was generally uninspiring stuff.
Defender Askou was booked in the final minute of the half.
Swindon's Ben Hutchinson produced the first effort of the second half, turning well and striking a right-foot drive from nearly 30 yards but Forster was right behind it.
The McVeigh-McDonald combination might have brought the breakthrough in the 57th minute when the former's corner was met by the latter's header, but it was straight at Smith.
Dario Dumic was given his senior debut when he replaced Otsemobor, and Lambert made a second change when Hughes replaced McVeigh.
Paynter flashed a right-foot drive wide to briefly raise the temperature but there was little sign of that elusive goal.
Owain Tudur Jones fired over the top with an ambitious effort in the 77th minute when he might have done better.
A header by substitute Charlie Austin five minutes from time almost provided the breakthrough but Forster was again well placed to gather, the last worthwhile effort before the match went to penalties.
Swindon Town: Smith; Amankwaah, Cuthbert, Greer, Jean-Francois; McGovern, Easton, Douglas, Hutchinson (McNamee, 65 min); Paynter, Revell (Austin, 65 min). Subs (not used): Jesionkowski, Morrison, Peacock.
Norwich City: Forster; Otsemobor (Dumic, 57 min), Nelson, Askou, Wiggins; McVeigh (Hughes, 62 min), Tudur Jones, Adeyemi, Dawkin; McDonald, Cureton. Subs (not used): Rudd, Stephens, Kelly.
Referee: Graham Horwood (Bedfordshire).
Penalties - City: Tudur Jones scored, Hughes scored, Nelson scored, Askou scored, Cureton scored. Swindon: Paynter scored, Austin scored, Amankwaah scored, Easton saved.
Bookings - Swindon: Greer (63 min). City: Askou (44 min).