Norwich City’s Jacob Butterfield plays full 90 minutes in 3-0 U21 Premier League defeat to Reading
Fit-again Norwich City summer signing Jacob Butterfield pressed his Premier League claims by playing 90 minutes in today's U21 league 3-0 defeat to Reading at Colney.
Butterfield tested Royals' keeper Jonathan Henly twice after the break in a much-improved second half showing from Scott Marshall's previously unbeaten troops.
Korey Smith also started but was forced to leave the field 30 minutes into the game after failing to shake off a turned ankle injured in the warm up. Chris Hughton and the rest of his backroom team were interested spectators in a competitive contest played out in sweltering temperatures.
Reading frontman Lawson D'Ath punished a sluggish start for the home side with a brace inside the opening seven minutes before completing his hat-trick in the closing stages after muscular work from powerful frontman Uche Ikpeazu.
Butterfield was deployed just off Jamar Loza in the early exchanges, but it was D'Ath who caught the eye when he raced beyond a static home defence to rifle an angled strike across Jed Steer. The Reading striker then doubled his tally with a swivelling shot from the opposite side of the City penalty area,
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Loza's snapshot drifted wide before Reece Hall-Johnson planted a header wider from Jacob Murphy's inviting centre just before the half-hour mark. Smith was withdrawn a minute later for Cameron McGeehan - making his way back to the changing rooms unaided around the far side of the pitch. Olumide Durojaiye signalled City's greater attacking intent with a rising drive two minutes after the restart before Butterfield turned neatly and forced Henly to claw his low bouncing strike behind. The Royals' stopper then needed to beat away a powerful burst and shot from Loza. Butterfield's cute step over took him away from Matt Partridge but again Henly stood firm - although he was indebted to Reading full-back Nick Arnold shortly afterwards for hacking Loza's close range poke off the visitors' goalline.
Hall-Johnson's miscued back heel from Loza's weak initial strike on 66 minutes proved a costly miss when Ikpeazu brushed aside Durojaiye inside the Norwich area to pick out D'Ath who slotted past Steer from close range.
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• Norwich: Steer, McNeil, Barker, Durojaiye, Gafaiti (McFadden 45), Sheriff (King 73), Jacob Murphy, Smith (McGeehan 30), Loza, Butterfield, Hall-Johnson. Subs (not used): Josh Murphy, Matthews.
• Booking: McGeehan
• Reading: Henly, Arnold, Webb, Tshibola, Gunnarsson, Patridge, Taylor, D'Ath, Samuel, Tanner (Ikpeazu 20 (Oliyide 87)), Losasso. Subs: Cooper, Lincoln, Wilkinson.
• Booking: Ikpeazu
• Goals: D'Ath (5,7,76)
• Referee A Crysell