City youngster Chris Martin reminded everyone just what a prospect he remains as he orchestrated Lowestoft's 12-0 demolition at Crown Meadow this evening.
The England Under-19 striker led Norwich's hapless hosts a totally merry dance – grabbing four of the goals himself, including the goal of the game just before the hour mark with the sweetest of 25-yard dippers.
After all the trials and tribulations of the Dickson Etuhu saga, such light relief was probably just what City boss Peter Grant would have ordered.
After a first sighting of old-boy Jamie Cureton and his Czech mate David Strihavka at St James' Park on Saturday, tonight it was the turn of right-back Jon Otsemobor and David Marshall to make their first appearance of the summer at a packed Crown Meadow.
With a second Canary squad heading to The Walks tomorrow night, so the likes of Dion Dublin and Youssef Safri had a clutch of kids for company on their trip to the coast including such previously unseen second-year scholars as Damon Lathrope and Tom Miller.
To start with, however, and the City line-up all made reasonable sense with Simon Lappin – back from his sister's wedding – in at left-back and Luke Chadwick in his more natural habitat on the right-hand side of midfield. Andy Hughes kept Safri company in centre-midfield; Dublin had youngster Michael Spillane for a sidekick at centre-half. It was an all-Chris frontline with Brown and Martin offered the chance to state their case ahead of Strihavka and Cureton.
In fairness, Brown nearly did exactly that within the first 35 seconds as Safri's deep free-kick found the City striker unmarked on the penalty spot and his looping header was caught underneath his bar by the Trawler Boys' keeper.
In the event, however, it was his strike pal Martin who made the bigger mark in the 11th minute. Free inside the centre circle, he pushed the ball away right to Chadwick and continued his run deep into the Lowestoft box. A neat, little cross from the City winger found the teenage Canary striker controlling the ball smartly on his chest and, as it dropped, so he confidently drilled a low shot into the keeper's bottom right-hand corner. Little evidence of summer rust there.
The opening exchanges also brought evidence of Otsemobor's comfort going forward as he happily drove beyond Chadwick only for his subsequent cross to fall behind the arriving Hughes.
Not to be outshone, Brown doubled Norwich's advantage in the 16th minute with a fine, downward header back across the keeper from an inch-perfect Lappin cross. Two goals down against Exeter after 11 minutes on Saturday, back on their home manor 72 hours later and – albeit against Ridgeons Premier opposition – City were in cruise control with quarter of an hour gone.
It wasn't wholly one-way traffic as Jamie Godbold sprinted free in the 20th minute only for an alert Spillane to intervene at the last minute. Normal service was resumed, however, two minutes later as Safri caught everyone by surprise by sweeping a 35-yarder inside the keeper's left upright. It was looking a long night for Norwich's welcoming hosts.
Nine minutes before the break and Eagle added the fourth as Martin and Chadwick again combined well down the right; Martin's eventual ball inside found Eagle lurking unmarked in the inside right channel and a low, stretching shot from 15 yards out did the rest.
Little more than a minute later and it was five as Martin helped himself to his second; Chadwick again claimed the assist with a knock-back from the byline that Martin comfotably guided home. At the other end, bar watching one corner drop onto the top of his crossbar, Marshall had barely touched the ball.
Martin completed his first-half hat-trick two minutes before the break when, having released Eagle on the left with a thoughtful angled ball, he was perfectly-placed at the far post to head Eagle's return cross home for his third, Norwich's sixth.
Safri's night ended at the break; as did Brown's. Rossi Jarvis took the former's spot, Kris Renton the latter's.
It didn't disrupt Norwich unduly as Spillane added the seventh three minutes after the restart. Eagle's free-kick found Martin stooping for a header – and missing. It was enough, however, to fool keeper Adam Rix who could only push the ball lamely out to Spillane who had ample time and space to guide the ball home.
Chadwick drilled in the eighth in the 53rd minute after a mazy run from Martin and a neat, little lay-back from Renton; nine was the best of the bunch, as Martin – from a good 25-yards out – thrashed a superb, dipping effort beyond a startled Rix.
Ten wasn't bad – Rossi Jarvis picking out the top corner from 22-yards from a Martin lay-off. No11 (68 minutes) belonged to Renton after a sharp break from substitute Bally Smart found the Scottish youngster alone on the edge of the box. He duly poked the ball home into the bottom corner.
Rix, to his credit, avoided the dozen with a fine, one-handed save to his right in the 74th minute. Well, briefly. Two minutes later Renton added his second – City's 12th – from ten yards out after another run and selfless tee-up from Martin.
City (4-4-2): Marshall (Arnold, 63 mins); Otsemobor (Lathrope, 56 mins), Dublin, Spillane, Lappin (Miller, 61 mins); Chadwick (Smart, 61 mins), Safri (Rossi Jarvis, 45 mins), Hughes, Eagle; Brown (Renton, 45 mins), Martin.
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