Norwich City U21s 1 Everton U21s 2
- Credit: JASON DAWSON/JASONPIX
Everton claimed a well deserved victory in the final home game of Norwich City's Under-21 Premier League campaign – despite a late rally from the Canaries.
Two goals in the first half saw the Toffees take firm control of a game watched by over 2,000 spectators at Carrow Road.
Jamal Lewis sparked hopes of a draw for the hosts in the 85th minute, thumping home from close range, but the organised visitors saw out the final minutes in professional style to keep hold of all three points.
Norwich welcomed centre-back Joe Crowe and winger Lewis back to U21 action following the pair's spell away on international duty with Northern Ireland U19s.
QPR attacking midfielder Nathan Corkery was also included in the home line-up, as the Republic of Ireland youth international was given the chance to impress in a trial game.
Young defender Timi Odusina, a member of the U16s squad, was also included among the substitutes having signed professional terms with City at the weekend.
The opening stages of the game offered little entertainment but saw some crunching tackles on both sides, with Ray Grant and Ebou Adams getting stuck in for the hosts in midfield.
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Antony Evans curled a free-kick wide for the Toffees in the 17th minute and visiting skipper Joe Williams curled an effort straight at Aston Oxborough four minutes later.
Evans poked over from close range soon after when a free-kick was headed down into the area by Mason Holgate – and David Unsworth's side soon saw their increase in tempo pay off.
Kieran Dowell unleashed a rocket from just short of 25 yards in the 24th minute and the swerve of the ball left Oxborough grasping at thin air as the visitors moved 1-0 in front.
The Canaries started to make improvements following the goal, with Michee Efete bursting forward from defence and lifting a shot onto the roof of the net in the 31st minute.
Lively play from Lewis on the right saw Corkery turn wide at the near post soon after but it was the away side who found the net again before the interval.
Dowell was again at the heart of the move, driving across the pitch to tee up Harry Charsley on the right side of the penalty area, Oxborough did well to tip the low shot onto his right-hand post but Evans was alive to the chance and slotted home the rebound for 2-0.
Glenn Middleton fired a powerful shot into the side-netting early in the second half, as the City youngsters looked to impress watching first-team manager Alex Neil.
Efete was next to go close, heading over a corner from Grant in the 65th minute as Dmitri Halajko's side started to get frustrated, with Grant booked for a rash tackle on Williams in the 73rd minute.
The Canaries had roared back from 3-1 down to eventually draw 4-4 with Reading in their last home game though and found some of that spirit again to set up a tense finish.
Substitutes Jamie-Eaton Collins and Louis McIntosh linked well on the edge of the box, with the latter's shot deflecting into Lewis's path to the right of the goal, who gratefully thumped home from six yards to halve the deficit.
The goal was not enough to spark a late onslaught though as Everton kept things simple to see out the game comfortably and take home the win they deserved.
City's U21s now complete their season with away games at Leicester, Southampton and Liverpool, as they try to climb off the bottom of the Division One table.
Norwich: Oxborough; Hall-Johnson (C), Crowe, Efete, Ramsay; Grant, Adams (McIntosh 77); Middleton (Eaton-Collins 70), Corkery, Lewis; Ashley Seal. Unused subs: Beauchamp (GK), Pollock, Odusina.
Everton: Hewitt; Jones, Connolly, Holgate, Foulds; Davies; Charsley (Holland 84), Williams (C), Dowell, Dyson (Brewster 67); Evans (Baningime 88). Unused subs: Gray (GK), Feeney.
Attendance: 2,000 (estimated)
Referee: Mr N Hair