Canaries' Dutch tour ends on sour note
JONATHAN REDHEAD FC Zwolle 2, Norwich City 1: The Canaries' Dutch adventure ended on a sour note in Harderwijk last night with defeat and an injury. New-boy Jimmy Smith's knock on the calf, which required a hospital check-up, and the concession of two sloppy goals cancelled out all the happiness created after just eight minutes when David Strihavka broke his goal-scoring duck in fine style.
FC Zwolle 2, Norwich City 1
The Canaries' Dutch adventure ended on a sour note in Harderwijk last night with defeat and an injury.
New-boy Jimmy Smith's knock on the calf, which required a hospital check-up, and the concession of two sloppy goals cancelled out all the happiness created after just eight minutes when David Strihavka broke his goal-scoring duck in fine style.
In truth, the Czech only applied the finishing touch to a fine move involving Jamie Cureton, and arguably City's player of the match, Luke Chadwick.
Cureton sent Chadwick down the right and the former Manchester United man ran free into the Zwolle box.
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While he could have probably shot and scored himself, he instead unselfishly squared the ball to Strivavka who stroked home left-footed from 12 yards out into an empty net.
It looked like City, who were full of tempo and crisp passing, would go on to completely outshine their opponents, with Chadwick a key figure as the 'man in the hole' in Peter Grant's 4-3-1-2 formation.
But after an early scare when Albert van der Haar's left foot free-kick hit the bar minutes after City's goal, the Canaries let their hosts back into the game.
Zwolle created a couple of decent half-chances, although City stopper Matthew Gilks had little to do on his first appearance for the club since his summer move from Rochdale.
But seconds before half-time they got themselves back on level terms with a well taken goal.
It was an effort very similar to City's, but this time Derk Boerrigter found himself free in City's right back area and his square pass took Gilks out of play for Anco Jansen to score from six yards out.
If Peter Grant gave his players a rocket at half-time, it certainly worked as City were fired up at the start of the second period, with Smith going close on a handful of occasions with volleys either wide or straight to Zwolle's goalkeeper Diederick Boer.
With the scores level, Grant made his first change on 56 minutes, with Lee Croft replacing Chadwick, with Smith moving inside.
The second half followed a similar pattern to the first, as Grant swapped Simon Lappin with Mark Fotheringham and the hard-working Strihavka with Chris Martin.
The changes only galvanised Zwolle and they took the lead after 69 minutes with a rasping right-foot shot from the edge of the box by Niklas Moisander past an unsighted Gilks.
Erik Rotman was booked for a late challenge on Martin as tempers momentarily looked like fraying.
In the first half, Lappin had been booked for a late challenge of his own.
As the usual plethora of substitutions took hold, after 73 minutes Cureton was replaced by Michael Spillane who went to centre back, with Dion Dublin moving to centre forward.
As the game entered the final 10 minutes, City went close as Martin crossed from the left and Dublin flashed a near post header just wide, before he was replaced by Jon Otsemobor.
Dublin's presence was instantly missed as City nearly conceded a free header from a set piece.
But far worse was to follow a minute later as Smith went down in a heap after a heavy challenge.
After extensive medical attention he was helped off the field in obvious agony.
The Chelsea loan player was replaced by Robert Eagle as the game petered out, with the Canaries suffering their second pre-season defeat after a run of three straight victories.
t FC Zwolle: Boer; van der Sluijs, Botteghin, Moisander, van der Haar; Oravainen (van der Wal 61), Holla (Rotman 46), Reijnen, Boerrigter (Borilli 56); Jansen, Jongsma (Bijl, 85).
t Norwich City: Gilks; Hughes, Doherty, Dublin (Otsemobor 82), Drury; Smith (Eagle 85), Safri, Lappin (Fotheringham 64); Chadwick (Croft 56); Cureton (Spillane 74), Strihavka (Martin 65). Sub not used: Marshall.