Norwich City draw another blank – this time at Hull
Hull City 0 Norwich City 0
It may be one of the wettests summer on record, but Norwich City's pre-season preparations have begun to take on the look of a drought – goal drought, that is – after another blank evening for their strikers and their hardy travelling fans.
The Canaries' penultimate warm-up match, against Championship side Hull City at the KC Stadium, ended goalless, as did their trip to Milton Keynes four days earlier.
While there has been a reassuringly solid look about the defence in City's domestic friendlies, with just one goal conceded in five matches, they have not found the net since Anthony Pilkington's seventh-minute free-kick against Ajax at Carrow Road, a total of 263 minutes without scoring.
Five different strikers took the field for the Canaries against the Tigers, but four of them played only the final 20 minutes as part of the mass substitutions so frequent in pre-season friendlies.
Skipper Grant Holt had a couple of half-chances in the opening period, but there were few openings for either side and both goalkeepers could have taken a good book with them for the quieter moments, of which there were many.
Manager Chris Hughton made nine changes from the team that started the goalless draw at MK Dons.
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Only new signings Michael Turner and Robert Snodgrass survived from the eleven who began Friday night's game, centre-back Turner getting a warm reaction from a sparse crowd on his return to one of his former clubs.
The two notable absentees were Wes Hoolahan, who had a full game against the Dons but was not among the 20 players on duty, and Elliott Ward, whose last outing came against Ajax seven days earlier.
City totally dominated the opening period, but were unable to provide a finishing touch and, with Steve Bruce's team lacking a decent final ball, there was a very subdued atmosphere in the ground.
Snodgrass, given a more central role in front of the midfield four and in support of Holt, supplied the first chance of the night on two minutes with a cross that Holt, at the near post, headed over the top.
Snodgrass, booed because of his Leeds connections, had a better opening in the seventh minute from Russell Martin's centre, but delayed a fraction and was blocked off as he turned to shoot.
The Scotland international winger was involved again when he played a one-two with former Leeds team-mate Jonny Howson but curled his shot wide.
Snodgrass and Russell Martin combined to provide Holt with another opening after 32 minutes but the striker chose to attempt a backheel flick rather than a full-blooded shot and Abdoulaye Faye was back to block.
With one minute of the half left, home 'keeper Ben Amos had to be alert to palm a cross from Russell Martin away from under the bar after it took an awkward deflection off defender Joe Dudgeon. It was as close as either side came to finding the net before the break.
Hull were more to the fore after the interval and substitute Paul McShane almost picked out Nick Proschwitz with a delicate through-ball, before Aaron McLean's ambitious effort flew high and wide.
Bradley Johnson's powerful drive flew wide off Paul McKenna as City hit back, and with an hour gone, Turner made way for Leon Barnett in defence as Hughton made his first change.
Then, with just over 20 minutes left, it was all change as seven Norwich substitutes entered the fray, with only goalkeeper John Ruddy, defender Ryan Bennett and midfielder Johnson getting the full 90 minutes.
Johnson brought the under-employed Amos into action with a downward header from an Andrew Surman corner with eight minutes remaining, but it lacked the power to trouble the 'keeper.
Hull City – Amos; Rosenior (McShane, 45 min), Chester, Faye (East, 70 min), Dudgeon; Koren, McKenna (Devitt, 89 min), Cairney, Aluko (Stewart, 70 min); McLean (Fryatt, 65 min), Proschwitz (Simpson, 85 min). Subs (not used): Jakupovic, Townsend.
Norwich City – Ruddy; Russell Martin (Francomb, 71 min), Ryan Bennett, Turner (Barnett, 61 min), Tierney (Lappin, 71 min); Elliott Bennett (Jackson, 71 min), Howson (Surman, 71 min), Johnson, Pilkington (Chris Martin, 71 min); Snodgrass (Vaughan, 71 min); Holt (Morison, 71 min). Sub (not used): Rudd.
Referee – Mark Brown (East Yorkshire).