FA Youth Cup semi-final, second leg: Norwich City Under-18s 0, Nottingham Forest Under-18s 1 (1-1 on agg, City win 5-4 on penalties)
- Credit: Archant © 2013
City keeper William Britt was the penalty save hero on Tuesday night as Neil Adams' brave young Canaries edged into the FA Youth Cup final at Carrow Road.
Britt denied Jake Blake in front of nearly 10,000 supporters before Reece Hall-Johnson slotted the fifth of five successful penalties to spark jubilant scenes in front of the Barclay Stand.
City were forced to play with 10 men for an hour after full-back Cameron Norman picked up two yellow cards in eight second half minutes, but Adams' side refused to wilt after Jordan Palmer-Samuels' early strike had brought the tie level on aggregate. The Canaries will now face Chelsea or Liverpool over two legs after reaching their first FA Youth Cup final since Dave Stringer's side lifted the prestigious national trophy back in 1983.
City started brightly with Jacob Murphy lashing over in a positive sign of early intent. Britt parried Derrick Otim's close-range hit in the seventh minute with Forest looking to test the hosts from a probing corner in a warning sign of what was to come. Palmer-Samuels rifled home from the visitors' second corner in the 11th minute after City failed to clear their lines.
Norwich responded positively with Jordan Smith bravely out to foil Harry Toffolo from Josh Murphy's inswinging free kick. Toffolo teased a delightful long-range pass over the back of Michael Hollingsworth that was controlled on his chest by Josh Murphy, but the finish lacked the precision of the quality build-up. Jacob weaved his way into the Forest area midway through the opening period but Smith kicked away the low shot. Brother Josh then burst through but was denied by Kieran Fenton's last-ditch intervention with the home crowd finding their collective voice. Forest looked to have checked the hosts' gathering momentum with a bout of frustrating possession, but Jacob Murphy sparked Norwich again in the 37th minute when he drove at three harassed visiting defenders but unleashed a rising shot that flew two yards over Smith's bar.
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Norwich skipper Cameron McGeehan's vocal urgings could be heard in the closing seconds of the opening period as the Canaries tried to shake Forest out of their smooth stride. Hall-Johnson rose unmarked but failed to direct Jacob Murphy's header on target from 16 yards out.
Referee Attwell elected to book Josh Murphy for attempting to take a free kick quickly before Smith confidently collected the flighted set-piece. Fenton typified Forest's growing composure when he advanced from central defence to pick out Otim but City's backline subdued the threat. Josh Murphy then barrelled his way through the attentions of Aristote Kameneno and Lawrence Gorman in the 55th minute, but Jacob's heavy first touch seven yards out allowed the Reds to clear their lines.
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Smith smuggled away Morris' tame far-post header but Norwich were reduced to 10 men on the hour mark when Norman received a second yellow card for a mistimed tackle that cleaned out Morgan Ferrier. Attwell further incurred the wrath of the home fans when Kieran Wallace was yellow-carded after slamming Britt against his right-hand upright following an uncompromising aerial challenge.
City gamely responded with Jacob Murphy helping force three corners in quick succession – Toffolo's glancing goalbound header scrambled off the Forest line. McGeehan hacked away after Jorge Grant wriggle free inside the home area with Forest looking to cash in on their numerical advantage before Gorman's towering header from Blake's corner drifted over. Jacob Murphy's first-time hit from the edge of the area ricocheted away off Gorman from his brother's corner as City desperately tried to settle the tie in normal time.
City survived midway through the first period of extra-time when Deimantas Petravicius' ball swerved across Britt's six-yard line with no takers in red. Adams' side then remarkably upped the ante after the interval with Jacob Murphy drilling at Smith from 16 yards after profiting from his brother's mazy dribble before Norwich prevailed in the dramatic penalty shoot-out to spark wild scenes of celebration.
• Norwich City: Britt, Norman, Wyatt, McGeehan, McFadden, Toffolo, Jacob Murphy (Randall, 119), Hall-Johnson, Morris, King (Young, 58 (Barker, 63)), Josh Murphy. Subs (not used): Lokko, Reading, Randall.
• Bookings: Josh Murphy (unsporting behaviour, 48), Cameron Norman (foul on Ferrier, 52), McGeehan (foul on Ferrier, 90)
• Sending off: Norman (second foul on Ferrier, 60)
• Nottingham Forest: Smith, Hollingsworth, Kameneno, Blake, Gorman, Fenton, Gnahore (Grant, 68), Wallace, Elliott (Otim, 113), Ferrier (Petravicius, 102), Palmer-Samuels. Subs (not used): Durrant, Sebastiao.
• Bookings: Gnahore (foul on King, 18), Wallace (foul on Britt, 60), Fenton (foul on Jacob Murphy, 70), Grant (foul on Hall-Johnson, 74)
• Goal: Palmer-Samuels (11)
• Attendance: 9,690
• Referee: Stuart Attwell (Warks)
• City scorers: Toffolo, McGeehan, Josh Murphy, Morris, Hall-Johnson.
• Forest scorers: Wallace, Kamaneno, Fenton, Blake (Britt saves going low to his left), Gorman.