U18s: Norwich City 2, Ipswich Town 3
Chris Wise City's youngsters failed to recover from a truly dreadful start as Ipswich took the honours in an entertaining East Anglian derby at Colney.
City's youngsters failed to recover from a truly dreadful start as Ipswich took the honours in an entertaining East Anglian derby at Colney.
The Canaries were three down inside half an hour as Town ruthlessly latched on to a series of mistakes and, although they made a game of it in the second half, it proved to be too little, too late.
The dismissal of Ipswich striker Paul Murphy on the hour mark for a wild lunge certainly helped the Norwich cause, with Tom Adeyemi having already pulled one back just after the break. But try as they might they could only manage one more goal, with Kris Renton's late header ensuring nothing more than an anxious finale for their rivals, who held on for a deserved Academy League success.
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It all started to go wrong for City in the 11th minute when Declan Rudd let a speculative long range effort from Murphy drift over his head and into the back of the net. The young keeper may have been hampered by the blinding sun, but it was still a poor goal to concede - and worse was to follow five minutes later.
This time Danny Kelly carelessly gave away possession in midfield, allowing Town to make a quick break which ended with Ronan Murray picking up Murphy's slide rule pass and sidestepping a challenge before curling a perfect left shot past Rudd and into the far corner of the net.
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Rudd then pulled off a good stop to prevent David Cawley making it 3-0, but he was badly at fault again in the 28th minute as Town stretched their lead still further. The keeper made a terrible hash of his attempted clearance from a routine David Stephens back-pass and once Reggie Lambe had controlled the ball all he had to do was roll it into an unguarded net to make it 3-0.
The Canaries only managed one effort of note in the first period, with Josh Dawkin bringing out a good save from Lewis Ward early on - but it was a different story after the interval.
The hosts needed an early goal to stand a chance and they got it, with Adeyemi firing home from just inside the box after Town had failed to clear their lines from a free-kick. From then on it was pretty much one-way traffic towards the Ipswich goal.
Town's cause wasn't helped when Murphy saw red for going into a tackle with both sets of studs showing but City still had two banks of four to get through and they had to wait until the 81st minute for their second goal, Renton popping up unmarked to head home from Korey Smith's cross.
Damon Lathrope came close to rescuing an unlikely point for City a couple of minutes from time but his goal-bound effort was partially blocked and a grateful Ward was able to grab the loose ball.
It had been a brave fightback by a spirited City side, but in the end they had left themselves with too much to do against a better side on the day.
City U18s: Rudd, Smith, Habergham, Adeyemi, Dumic, Stephens, Ramm (Francomb 70), Lathrope, Renton, Kelly, Dawkin. Subs not used: Reeves, Grieveson, Davey, Brindley.
Town Under-18s: Ward, Clemo, Dunbar, Cawley, Ainsley, Hyam, Griffiths, Daniels, Murphy, Murray, Lambe (Eastman 78). Subs not used: Stensrud, Brandon, Ralph.