Norwich City U18 2, Aston Villa U18 1

City kept their title ambitions alive with a dramatic 90th-minute penalty winner from skipper Matt Ball.

The FA Premier Academy League Group A clash against the FA Youth Cup semi-finalists looked like ending all square until substitute Jamar Loza was brought down in the area.

Chances were at a premium in the opening half an hour, with Villa watertight in defence, centre-back Derrick Williams tracking striker Jack Werndly's every move.

But City went close on 40 minutes after Ball's free-kick, following a foul on Werndly, came out to Richard Brindley, whose 20-yard effort skimmed the Villa crossbar with keeper Calum Barrett beaten.

With the sprinklers on at the break to moisten the playing surface, the second half started positively for Norwich as they took the game to Villa, with Sam Kelly getting a sight of goal.


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The breakthrough finally came on 68 minutes when Ryan Oakley found the overlapping Remy Gordon to his left. Gordon timed his cross and Josh Dawkin accepted the invitation to drill low past Barrett.

But the lead was short-lived. Two minutes later Jordan Graham hammered the ball high into the net past goalkeeper Jed Steer after a cross from the right.

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Dawkin and Kelly worked an opening for Oakley who powered into the Villa penalty area, only to be denied by Barrett's legs.

Brindley shot wide, but Villa had chances to go ahead, Darkin shooting wide of a gaping goal and Steer producing a remarkable save as he grabbed the ball off the inside of a post, from Courtney Cameron's effort.

City made one more effort as the seconds ticked away and when the tricky Oakley released the ball for Loza, who had just come on, Williams brought him down – and Ball did the rest from 12 yards.

Academy Manager Ricky Martin: 'Aston Villa were a good strong side and played some excellent football early on and I was delighted with the way we defended up to the half-time whistle.

'In the second half we played with more purpose and put them on the back foot and scored an excellent team goal.

'Some sloppy play let them back in the game but I was pleased with the spirit on show and delighted for the lads to get the three points in the end.'

• Norwich City Under-18: Steer, Barker, Gordon, Brindley, McKenzie, Jones, Oakley, Kelly, Werndly (Loza, 85), Ball, Dawkin. Subs (not used): Clunan, Matthews, Dobbs, Reece, Hall-Johnson.

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