City’s Under-23s were beaten 5-2 by West Bromwich Albion at The Walks on Monday night, a series of defensive errors cancelling out goals by Jon Rowe and Tom Dickson-Peters for the home side.
The young Canaries started well and had their visitors on the back foot from the off, Rowe forcing a good stop from Albion ‘keeper Mac Chisholm in the second minute.
The pair did battle once more a minute later, although Chisholm came out on top once again, blocking Rowe’s left-footed shot from close range.
City’s excellent pressing was creating opportunities and it felt like only a matter of time before they opened the scoring. Abu Kamara had a fantastic opportunity to do so in the sixth minute but scuffed his shot from eight yards out.
The Baggies managed to weather the storm for a short while, having some wayward efforts of their own, but the Canaries looked dangerous again before long. Dickson-Peters saw his lob saved before Jaden Warner’s volley was blocked from the resulting corner.
Eventually the pressure told. Rowe was sent through on goal and rounded Chisholm, biding his time before rolling calmly into the net.
However, almost as soon as Alan Neilson’s side had taken the lead they bizarrely lost it. Nelson Khumbeni had been largely impressive until that point but looped his back pass over goalkeeper Joe Rose, whose best efforts weren’t enough to stop a freak own goal by the defensive midfielder.
The break came at a good time for Richard Beale’s Albion, who presented a much greater challenge at the start of the second period. Quevin Castro’s low drive just wide acted as a warning in the 47th minute.
City’s downfall was their own doing, however, as Rose gifted West Brom the opportunity to take the lead, Reyes Cleary tapping in after the Norwich ‘keeper gave away possession in his own box.
Chisholm’s preference for aggressive sweeping reared its head once more almost immediately afterwards, however, and gifted Tony Springett the chance to equalise. Chisholm managed to scramble back between the posts in time to save the Irishman’s tame effort, however.
The Baggies ‘keeper didn’t learn, and found himself helpless as Dickson-Peters’ equaliser looped over his head in the 52nd minute. The City number 9, who has enjoyed an excellent start to the season, did well to control Rose’s long pass before producing a perfectly weighted chip to level the scores at 2-2.
They only stayed level for two minutes, however, with some poor defending by Warner and recently-converted left-back Saxon Earley punished by Cleary.
The Albion striker did well to flick the ball beyond the pair, dispatching clinically into the bottom right corner when one-on-one.
As Norwich pushed for a way back into the manic game unfolding they left themselves exposed and were punished in the 62nd minute. A rapid counter-attack by the Baggies created a chance for Owen Windsor, whose strike was already heading for the bottom corner but was helped along by a deflection off Warner.
Springett had City’s only real chance at pulling a goal back as he missed Rowe’s cut-back from 10 yards out with his weaker right foot, and matters were made worse shortly afterwards.
Warner and Rose collided with each other as Windsor looked for his second, allowing the substitute the easiest chance of the match for 5-2.
City saw an impressive start fade into second half calamity and will be disappointed after their strong start to the Premier League 2 season, but they do have an opportunity to make amends this Friday when they take on Fulham in the second part of their Walks double-header.
Norwich Player Ratings
Rose 4; Giurgi 5, Tomkinson 5, Warner 4, Earley 4; Rowe 7, Khumbeni 5, Clarke 5, Springett 5; Dickson-Peters 7, Kamara 5.