FA Youth Cup: Manchester City U18s 2 Norwich City U18s 0
PUBLISHED: 22:23 29 February 2016 | UPDATED: 23:54 29 February 2016
JASON DAWSON ©Jason Dawson
Dreams of a second FA Youth Cup triumph in four seasons came to an end for Norwich City this evening, in a 2-0 defeat to Manchester City in the sixth round.
Goals in either half proved too much for the Canaries’ under-18s to overcome, against a team with all the skill that is expected of a club which has spent vast amounts of money on their academy facilities.
The game was played at the 7,000-seater Academy Stadium on the Etihad Campus, just across the road from the hosts’ main arena.
There was just one change to the starting line-up from Norwich’s dramatic 5-4 win over Middlesbrough in the last round, Louis McIntosh coming in to replace the injured Todd Cantwell, playing just behind striker Benny Ashley-Seal.
The hosts started the game in strong style, Canaries skipper Joe Crowe and right-back Louis Ramsay having to combine to deflect an early shot from Manuel Garcia behind.
Centre-back Timi Odusina came close to opening the scoring for the visitors in the fifth minute, seeing his header deflect up and over the bar after the excellent Jamal Lewis played a corner short for Middleton to cross.
It was the Citizens who took the lead though, having already seen striker Lukas Nmecha have a goal ruled out after bundling in a Brahim Diaz cross from the left using his hand in the 13th minute.
Just three minutes later the Blues did score and it was left winger Diaz again proving a major problem.
Isaac Buckley-Ricketts switched the ball from the right and Diaz showed a great touch and quick feet to allude Ramsay and Crowe before firing under an exposed Aston Oxborough.
With Buckley-Ricketts firing across the face of goal it looked like the Canaries could soon be in trouble against their expensively-assembled opposition.
They started to show some of the spirit that saw them roar back from 4-1 down to beat Boro in the last round as the half went on though.
Lewis was leading the charge from the right wing, dribbling his way infield before firing wide in the 36th minute.
He then danced right across the hosts’ defensive line three minutes later and blasted a left-footed shot just over as Norwich started to build some pressure.
Glenn Middleton also tested Citizens keeper Daniel Grimshaw just before the break, after more good play on the right from Lewis, but saw his curling shot held and the visitors went into the break still trailing 1-0.
The Canaries played a higher defensive line and pushed forward in the second half, leaving Odusina and Crowe on their toes to prevent counter-attacks.
Middleton and Ashley-Seal both saw shots charged down in the box and Crowe had a header deflected wide.
With Lewis again probing on the right the visitors were looking much more dangerous but nearly saw the Blues double their lead in the 62nd minute.
Odusina dwelled on the ball for too long and saw his clearance charged down by Garcia, who cut inside on to his right foot and forced Oxborough to dive low to his right to save.
The home fans were angered by Crowe colliding with Nmecha off the ball, preventing the striker breaking free into the box, but no foul was given and the visitors survived the scare.
Crowe again frustrated Nmecha in the 71st minute with a brave block and the striker then floated a header over the bar from the subsequent corner from Garcia.
The Citizens finally found the goal they were searching for two minutes later though, Nmecha teeing up Garcia to fire home a bullet of a shot from 20 yards, which Oxborough had no chance of saving.
Nmecha had a shot deflected just wide soon after and captain Tosin Adarabioyo also headed just wide from a Garcia corner.
Ashley-Seal snuck behind the home defence and forced a decent save from Grimshaw in the 78th minute but there was to be no late rally as the home side saw the game out in professional style.
The Citizens will now face Arsenal or Liverpool in the semi-finals, leaving the young Canaries to focus on their remaining fixtures in the U18 Premier League.
Norwich U18s: Oxborough; Ramsay, Crowe (C), Odusina, Syme; Pollock, Godfrey (Kamal 87); Lewis, McIntosh (Couzens 76), Middleton (Aransibia 76); Ashley-Seal. Unused subs: Beauchamp (GK), Wallis.
Man City U18s: Grimshaw; Duhaney, Adarabioyo (C), Sarmiento (Oliver 70), Humphreys-Grant; Davenport; Buckley-Ricketts, Garcia (Wood 87), Kongolo, Diaz (Nemane 84); Nmecha. Unused subs: Kjetil Haug (GK), Patching.
Referee: Darren England
Attendance: 1,000 (estimated)