Late goals from Burnley’s Lewis Richardson and Dara Costelloe denied Norwich City’s Under-23s a valuable three points, after goals from Abu Kamara and Matt Dennis had given the Canaries a 2-0 lead in Curzon Ashton.
The match started in hectic fashion, Burnley striker Richardson smashing a volley over the bar with the Clarets’ first attack. Shortly afterwards his teammate Josh Benson curled the ball just wide, the young Canaries conceding two decent chances in the opening minute.
City’s first chance of the game came in the 14th minute, when Rob Nizet smashed a 20-yard free-kick just wide. Seven minutes later, the ball was in the net for the first time.
A lovely turn from Richardson got him to the edge of the six-yard box, but excellent work from Norwich centre-back Jon Tomkinson forced a foul, the goal ruled out after Richardson had poked it home.
Twelve minutes later, City took the lead for real. Excellent work from Irish winger Tony Springett won the ball back on the edge of the Burnley area, before he drove to the byline and cut back for Kamara, the City striker curling beyond Marc Richter.
This prompted a fierce fightback from Steve Stone’s side, who forced a good stop from the feet of City ‘keeper Joe Rose, before smashing the bar from a tight angle.
He would be left ruing his missed chanced a minute later, when a simple long ball from Rose was latched on to by Dennis, the pacey number nine calmly placing into the bottom corner one-on-one.
After a good first half for David Wright’s men, the second period was a different story. Desperate for a lifeline in their bid for the play-offs, Burnley came out all guns blazing, Joel Mumbongo played in by strike partner Richardson, but his effort was tame and Rose held.
Half-time substitute Costelloe then saw a close-range header well blocked by Ethen Vaughan, before the pressure told in the 74th minute.
Clarets winger Ne-Jai Tucker’s cross drifted onto Rose’s post, the rebound falling kindly for Richardson to tap in. The Burnley captain may have been fortunate with his goal, but had earned it with his excellent performance, going on to hit the bar once more.
After a series of well-defended Burnley corners and barely-survived onslaughts, the equaliser eventually came. Sloppy defending lead to Costelloe’s finish, the Canaries failing to clear their lines and the Irishman poking home from eight yards.
Desperate to re-establish their early lead, City surged forward following the equaliser, but Jon Rowe’s saved half-volley was the highlight before his dragged effort from ten yards was blocked smartly on the line.
The game finished as it started, as the hectic end-to-end affair you’d expect from development football. There were flashes of brilliance and good signs for many of the young Canaries, but the ultimate emotion was frustration at the surrendering of a 2-0 lead.