Checkatrade Trophy Southern Group F: Peterborough United 1 Norwich City Under-23s 6
- Credit: Andy Kearns/Focus Images Limited
Norwich City's youngsters blew Peterborough away but it was an old head who may have breathed the most life into his season.
Tony Andreu – comfortably the Canaries' oldest player on show at Peterborough last night at the grand old age of 28 – was as impressive as any of his talented team-mates who were also given the opportunity to shine under the lesser lights of the Checkatrade Trophy.
While the importance of the Frenchman's hat-trick may be up for debate, the timing of it couldn't have been more perfect.
With the transfer window slamming shut later this evening, the midfielder's treble, and classy showing, may have done enough to at least alert the attention of other managers, if not his own, as he tries to reignite his career.
Only time will tell if that comes in the Championship under Alex Neil at Carrow Road, but Andreu showed he's still got the knack of finding the net as clubs scramble to tie up some last-minute deals on deadline day.
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The former Hamilton Academical man may have grabbed the headlines but he was far from alone in putting on an attacking masterclass full of electric pace and fluidity that the League One hosts couldn't handle.
Josh Murphy netted a brace, James Maddison got in on the rout with a deflected drive and even frontman Carlton Morris, who didn't register, showed his class as City ran riot.
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The revamped English Football League competition may not have gone down a storm but City's performance certainly did – once they'd weathered some early pressure.
Jerome Binnom-Williams skinned Louis Ramsey, who got back well, before Michee Efete stopped Tom Nichols in his tracks with a tremendous last-gasp challenge.
Posh were actually on the front foot again when City took the lead. A rapid counter saw Maddison release Murphy down the channel. He bamboozled Binnom-Williams with a step over, fashioned a yard of space, and beautifully bent the ball into the bottom corner.
A couple of minutes later it was two when Maddison's corner was met by late arrival Andreu who thumped the ball home in a crowded box.
Grant McCann's League One charges – who made seven changes from the side that won at MK Dons at the weekend – were shellshocked. And they struggled to regroup as City went for the kill.
Harry Toffolo's advances down the left against his former loan club were proving hard to track. The full-back's latest foray with only 23 minutes on the clock saw him pick out Maddison and the playmaker put the gloss on a sweeping move by finding the net, albeit via a huge deflection off Ryan Tafazolli.
Toffolo's next centre evaded everybody before he soon drilled wide when trying his luck, Murphy bent a left-footed curling effort just over and Morris almost got in behind once more – only to be stopped by Binnon-Williams' brilliant covering – as Dmitri Halajko's men went for the jugular.
Shaquile Coulthirst drew two smart saves from City keeper Ben Killip as Posh looked for some respite. But their misery continued when another classic counter involving Murphy, Morris, Maddison and Toffolo eventually resulted in Andreu sweeping home from inside the box.
Posh restored some sort of pride when Ricardo Santos' centre was headed home by the diving Jermaine Anderson's early in the second half.
For a few nervy minutes, City had to repel a mini barrage, but they exploded back into life to make sure their Southern Group F campaign opener got off to a victorious start.
The energetic Murphy got in behind, again, and picked out the on-rushing Andreu who timed his arrival into the box perfectly for the third time at London Road to make it five.
The chances continued to tot up in what started to feel like a pre-season friendly with Killip showing alertness to smother Nichols' advances before Morgan Penfold missed a sitter.
Murphy was less wasteful when he was played in by the marauding Toffolo to double his account by firing into the bottom corner with his left foot in the closing stages of the opening group encounter.
And Killip still found time to ensure that an embarrased Posh couldn't even raise a smile at the death by pushing Nichols' spot-kick away after Ben Godfrey had upended Binnom-Williams.
Posh: Tyler, Santos, Bostwick, Tafazolli, Binnom-Williams, Anderson, Chettle, Maddison (Penfold, 71), Nabi (Da Silva-Lopes, 46), Coulthirst (Moore, 46), Nichols. Subs not used: Henry, Baldwin, Stevens, Freestone. Booked: Maddison. Goal: Anderson (52)
City: Killip, Ramsay, Godfrey, Efete, Toffolo, Thompson, Grant (Cantwell, 78), Josh Murphy, Maddison, Andreu, Morris. Subs not used: Oxborough, Ashley-Seal, Crowe, Middleton, Jaiyesimi, Adams. Booked: Godfrey, Morris, Grant. Goals: Josh Murphy (6, 82), Andreu (8, 45+2, 56) Maddison (23)
Referee: D Whitestone
Attendance: 1,696 (117 NCFC)