Norwich City U21s 1 Liverpool U21s 1

Norwich Citys U21s' Josh Murphy stretches for the ball against Liverpool U21s squad at Carrow Road.

Norwich Citys U21s' Josh Murphy stretches for the ball against Liverpool U21s squad at Carrow Road. Picture: Rob Colman - Credit: Archant

Over 8,000 supporters watched Norwich City Under-21s draw 1-1 with Liverpool in a Barclays Under-21 Premier League clash at Carrow Road this evening.

Centre-back Ryan Bennett started for City as he stepped up his comeback from an ankle injury picked up in the East Anglian Derby in August, as one of the permitted three over-age outfield players.

Spanish defenders Javier Garrido and Ignasi Miquel were also handed a start against the young Reds, with goalkeeper Mark Bunn able to step up his own comeback from an ankle injury.

The other most recognisable City player was Josh Murphy, playing in an attacking role alongside Scotland Under-21 international Cameron King.

It was Bennett who almost opened the scoring, heading just wide in the 18th minute after Murphy swung a lovely free-kick from the right to the back post.

Reds skipper Lloyd Jones then almost did City a favour two minutes later, slicing a Cameron Norman cross from the right, only for the ball to drop on to the roof of the net.

Murphy should have put City ahead in the 27th minute, after Cameron McGeehan took a quick free-kick in his own half to play the England Under-20 international through. Murphy rode a challenge and then dummied his marker but fired a yard wide of the right-hand post on his left foot.

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Liverpool striker Jack Dunn tested Bunn's reflexes in the 34th minute, forcing a good save from the edge of the box, then Miquel did the same to his keeper, with Bunn having to react to a stray pass-back which was rolling into his net, kicking clear just in time to save the centre-back's blushes.

It was the visitors who finished the half on the front foot, with a great tackle from Reece Hall-Johnson denying Australian youngster Brad Smith two minutes before the break after a clever ball through from Dan Tricket-Smith.

The second half started off in a much quieter fashion, with some sloppy moments at the back from the Canaries, but the Reds missed a great chance to take the lead in the 63rd minute. Smith whipped a lovely low cross in from the left but Dunn managed to miss the ball completely inside the six-yard box, and give the hosts a let-off.

Otherwise, the most exciting spectacle was in the stands, where a persistent group of more than 20 City supporters were waving green and yellow flags and creating plenty of atmosphere in the Jarrold Stand.

The 'singing section' had been organised by fans group the Barclay End Projekt and injected some real energy into the night.

The home support finally had something to cheer in the 71st minute though, as substitute Jamar Loza, 11 minutes after replacing King, weaved into the Liverpool box and fired into the roof of the net to break the deadlock.

It was a fourth goal in four U21 games this season for the Jamaican international, but against the run of play as Liverpool had started to control proceedings.

But Liverpool soon resumed control and Garrido and McGeehan were both booked for late tackles, as City tried to hold back the threat from the visiting youngsters.

They failed to do that though, with McGeehan not managing to clear a corner and Dunn firing home from close range in the 85th minute.

McGeehan tried to make amends two minutes later when he rose to meet a cross from the right from Norman, but the midfielder could only head wide from 10 yards.

Lively play on the left from substitute Ryan Kent gave Dunn a chance to win it in the 88th minute, but the striker could not get the ball out of his feet.

Kent then forced a great save from Bunn a minute later, with a driving effort after a corner was not met by anyone in the box, the keeper tipping over his bar for a corner and City holding out for the draw in the closing stages.

Norwich City U21s: Bunn; Hall-Johnson, R Bennett (C), Miquel, Garrido; Norman, McGeehan, McGrandles, Kelly (Gafaiti 73); King (Loza 60), Josh Murphy. Unused subs: Beauchamp (GK) McFadden, Aransibia.

Liverpool U21s: Ward; McLaughlin, Cleary, Jones (C), Maguire; Stewaret, Brannagan, Pelosi; Tricket-Smith (Ojo 46); Dunn, Smith. Unused subs: Fulton (GK), Randle, O'Hanlon.

Attendance: 8,380.