May 22 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Norwich City fans were given their first fleeting glimpse of new signing Robert Snodgrass at Carrow Road – but pass masters Ajax dominated possession in the first home pre-season friendly under new manager Chris Hughton.
Scotland international Snodgrass played the final 20 minutes against the Dutch champions, four days after his arrival from Leeds United, but by then the visitors had a grip on the game, while failing to turn territorial advantage into goals.
It finished honours even with Anthony Pilkington scoring a superb free-kick to give the Canaries a seventh-minute lead, and Lasse Schone levelling with a cracking long-range effort after 30 minutes.
Manager Hughton made 10 changes to the side that started Saturday’s 2-0 win at Peterborough, with only Russell Martin retained – and he had played only the first 45 minutes at London Road.
Snodgrass was named among the substitutes, but defender Michael Turner was not included in the squad and injured quartet Steven Whittaker (ankle), David Fox (knee), Jacob Butterfield (knee) and Tom Adeyemi were again absent.
The first period was notable for two splendid goals, Pilkington giving the Canaries an early lead but Schone levelling on the half-hour.
There was a lucky escape for City in the second minute when Jody Lukoki went past left-back Marc Tierney and his cross was clipped on to the bar by Danish star Christian Eriksen.
It was Ajax’s turn for a slice of good fortune in the seventh minute when James Vaughan was blatantly pulled down by Joel Veltman just outside the penalty area as he pursued a neatly flicked header by Grant Holt, but there was not even a yellow card shown.
Their reprieve was short-lived, however, as Pilkington stepped up to score with a superb curling free-kick, giving goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen no chance.
Ajax continued to look sprightly, however, and Eriksen tried an ambitious long-range shot after 18 minutes but was well off target.
Stefano Denswil headed over from an Eriksen corner as the Dutch side continued to enjoy greater possession.
They were rewarded on the half-hour when they equalised through midfielder Schone, who took possession 25 yards out and struck a glorious right-foot shot that flew high past ’keeper John Ruddy’s despairing dive.
A cross from Russell Martin had Cillessen stretching to punch clear, and the full-back distinguished himself again moments later when he raced back to dispossess Thulani Serero.
• Half-time: Norwich City 1, Ajax 1.
Hughton made a half-time change as Wes Hoolahan replaced Vaughan, while Ajax made two substitutions as defender Ruben Ligeon and midfielder Vurnon Anita, once said to be a target for City, entered the fray at the expense of skipper Gregory van der Weil and the impressive Eriksen.
The Dutch looked as if they meant business from the restart, Bradley Johnson making one important block from Serero.
City were at full stretch when Lukoki almost cashed in on Denswil’s through-ball by flicking it beyond Ruddy, but Ryan Bennett came to the rescue.
There were long spells when City simply couldn’t get the ball, except for breaking up Ajax’s flowing passing moves with the odd last-ditch interception.
With Holt now playing as the one striker, it was a lonely existence, but reinforcements arrived with 20 minutes left as Snodgrass, Andrew Crofts and Andrew Surman replaced Elliott Bennett, Pilkington and Jonny Howson.
City’s capture from Leeds arrived to a great reception and took up the wide right role previously occupied by Bennett and, with 12 minutes left, Steve Morison arrived as Holt’s replacement.
There were three more late changes as Hughton used most of the players at his disposal, but Ajax finished stronger and Siem de Jong was close to snatching a winner from Dico Koppers’ cross, only for Simon Lappin to deflect his header wide of target.
• Norwich City: Ruddy; Russell Martin (Barnett, 86), Ryan Bennett, Ward (Ayala, 86), Tierney (Lappin, 86); Elliott Bennett (Snodgrass, 70), Howson (Crofts, 70), Johnson, Pilkington (Surman, 70); Vaughan (Hoolahan, 45), Holt (Morison, 78). Subs (not used) Rudd, Jackson, Chris Martin.
• Ajax: Cillessen; Van der Wiel (Anita, 45, De Jong 70), Veltman, Denswil, Koppers; Schone; Lukoki, Serero, Eriksen (Ligeon, 45), Ebecilio; Klaassen. Subs (not used) Vermeer, Alderweireld, Ozbiliz, Van Rhijn.
• Referee: Mike Jones (Chester)
• Attendance: 16,708
• Goals: City: Pilkington (7). Ajax: Schone (30)
Chris Hughton insists he will spend his summer transfer windfall wisely after Jonny Howson’s multi-million pound goal boost to Norwich’s close season coffers.