Norwich 1 Vitesse Arnhem 0
CHRIS LAKEY Almost 14 years ago Vitesse Arnhem helped Norwich to one of the most glorious campaigns in their history. In 1993 the Dutch side were beaten 3-0 at Carrow Road as City embarked on a UEFA Cup odyssey that will forever be an indelible part of the club's history.
Norwich 1 Vitesse Arnhem 0: Almost 14 years ago Vitesse Arnhem helped Norwich to one of the most glorious campaigns in their history.
In 1993 the Dutch side were beaten 3-0 at Carrow Road as City embarked on a UEFA Cup odyssey that will forever be an indelible part of the club's history. But dreams of regular European football are a long way off for the Canaries of 2007.
It was a single goal from defender Adam Drury that did the trick - and it's next stop Preston as the summer-time shadow boxing finally comes to an end.
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The Dutch outfit were worthy opponents for the summer finale, but without Darren Huckerby and with Julien Brellier and Darel Russell still not quite up to speed fitness wise, there's no telling what Peter Grant took from the match. Brellier looks like ensuring Youssef Safri will soon be forgotten: he has a bite and an attitude that City have lacked for some time. Russell is beginning to look the part, although Grant will no doubt be keen for the phone to ring from a Premiership manager somewhere confirming he has a central defender to spare for a year.
Otherwise, it's still a guessing - how many more gears have City got? Will Huckerby be fit next week? Who plays up front?
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All questions that were never going to be answered by Vitesse.
City were perhaps caught a little off guard by Vitesse's quick early passing, and keeper David Marshall wasn't quite certain which direction Jasar Takak's long-range effort was swerving, opting for safety first and palming it away for a corner.
Chris Brown tried to set up Cureton from Adam Drury's cross, but his flick was just too long for his strike partner.
With no Vitesse fans in sight, City had a monopoly on support, but the visitors were clearly keen to silence the occasional chants. Takak was running the show in midfield, with City's centre backs under pressure when Vitesse went wide and put in crosses.
City hadn't done much at the other end of the pitch, until Chris Martin - playing just behind the front two - was just wide with a low effort from 25 yards after Brown had helped on Drury's cross on 17 minutes.
Grant will have been relieved to have seen Brellier respond to the crowd's urging and shoot just wide two minutes later - not long after he had limped away after an awkward landing.
City were finally beginning to get into their stride, Brellier becoming more and more influential, enabling Simon Lappin and Russell to enjoy freedom down the sides.
Mads Junker's turn and shot again stung Marshall's finger, but City were probing well and almost broke through after some ingenious play by the impressive Brown. Lappin cut in from the left, dinked in a cross with his right foot and, although it was low and Brown had his back to goal, he managed to stoop and get enough power on the header to send it looping goalwards, only for Balazs Raboczki to tip it over.
Marshall was equally alert just before the break, getting down low to turn aside a good long-range effort by Anduele Prijor, while the follow-up corner was almost turned in by Junker.
City went in at the interval without a goal to their name, and Grant will be concerned at the paucity of chances - full or half - that were created. Brown and Martin both had efforts, one on target one off, but Cureton, the man on whose shoulders the scoring responsibilities fall, was kept at arm's length.
However, Cureton is much more than a goal-hanger who grabs the glory from five yards - as a sweet little run when he outwitted a brace of towering Vitesse defenders early in the second half proved. That it came to naught was unlucky, but it was a spark the crowd and the team needed.
Lappin saw a free kick - awarded for a foul on the busy Cureton - deflected for a corner, although Brown went down clutching his face after a challenge from the keeper from the resulting corner.
Brellier's night came to an end after 55 minutes, replaced by Fotheringham, although on first sight it didn't appear to be for any other reason than to give someone else a run-out: clearly Grant, like everyone else, had seen enough to know exactly what Brellier is capable of.
Brown followed soon after, a towel masking what was clearly a very sore nose, to be replaced by David Strihavka.
The Czech soon made his presence felt, albeit in slightly unusual fashion, with his cross from the right ending up outside of the box on the left - but perfectly placed for Adam Drury to lash the ball home from 20 yards, with the aid of a deflection, for his second goal of the summer campaign.
Ironic that a defender should get the goal soon after the main goal threat left the pitch - but a goal's a goal, no matter who scores it.
Martin made his second chance of the night, cutting in and straight at the keeper, but then skewed one well wide from the edge of the area when he should have done better.
Haim Megrelishvili cynically chopped down John Otsemobor on 75 minutes to earn a place in the referee's notebook - the first sign of any serious intentions from the visitors in the second half. The second came a minute later when Junker's header was brilliantly saved by Marshall. Lappin did well to avoid getting a hand in the way before the ball came back off an upright only for a Vitesse striker to knock it wide of what should have been a fairly big target.
Strihavka was a foot wide with a neat effort from Otsemobor's cross in the closing stages
Norwich: Marshall, Otsemobor, Doherty, Shackell, Drury, Brellier (Fotheringham 55), Russell (Hughes 75), Lappin (Rossi Jarvis 89), Martin (Ryan Jarvis 80), Brown (Strihavka 58), Cureton (Croft 60).
Subs: Gallacher, Smart, Chadwick. Goal: Drury 59.
Vitesse: Raboczki, Verhaegh, Sprockel, Megrelishvili, Van der Schaaf (Espinoza 42), Kolk, Junker (Benson 78), Takak (Gommans 65), Prijor, Yakubu, Hai (Due 65). Subs: Kartekaab, Kaya, Esajas, Keizer, Bruinier, Van Dierman, Van Mourik. Booking: Megrelishvili 74.
Referee: Andre Marriner
Time added on: 1 min/ 3 mins.