Norwich City U23s 1 Blackburn Rovers U23s 3 – Visitors take advantage of young Canaries’ profligacy
- Credit: Matthew Usher/Focus Images Ltd
Two late goals condemned Norwich City Under-23s to their fourth defeat in five games despite having chances to secure victory.
The young Canaries included the experience of centre-back Michael Turner and winger Matt Jarvis as over-age players in their line-up.
Jarvis completed 90 minutes for the first time since returning from the knee injury which has prevented him from featuring for the City first team so far this season, as did Conor McGrandles, who is still making his way back from a double leg break.
Rovers took the lead in the 13th minute of a highly-competitive battle at Colney yesterday, largely due to the good work of right winger Connor Mahoney, who evaded City left-back Jamal Lewis and fired a powerful shot which Ben Killip turned behind for a corner. Mahoney took the set-piece himself and midfielder Joseph Rankin-Costello rose high to head home from 10 yards for 1-0.
The closest the hosts came in the first half was in the 34th minute when Jarvis' low cross from the left was held up in the area by Carlton Morris, who teed up Louis McIntosh but the midfielder lashed his shot a yard over the bar.
Blackburn dominated the opening 45 minutes – with former Rovers players David Dunn and Damien Johnson in the dug-out and barking angry instructions at players and officials – but City improved after the break.
Morris rose high to meet a Jarvis free-kick from the right early in the second half but glanced his header wide. The strike made amends in the 51st minute though, when he was bundled over just inside the Rovers box to win a penalty, which he calmly slotted down the middle to equalise.
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That took the 21-year-old's tally for the U23s to seven for the season, making him outright top scorer ahead of Josh Murphy, and he had chances to add at least one more.
Mahoney thumped the base of Killip's post soon after the equaliser as Rovers rallied, with Rankin-Costello and Mahoney also thumping shots just over.
Jarvis had his best chance when he showed a deft touch to link with Diallang Jaiyesimi on the edge of the area, before the former West Ham man saw his shot smothered as he went through one-on-one against visiting keeper Andrew Fisher.
Jarvis then turned provider, with Morris seeing a header from the winger's corner held by the keeper in the 77th minute, and his header hit the bar after good play from Jarvis on the left five minutes later.
Those wasted chances came back to haunt City as Lewis felled Mahoney in the area in the 84th minute and the winger coolly slotted home the spot-kick.
Ben Godfrey could have seen red for a frustrated tackle from behind on Rankin-Costello soon after and Mahoney finished the job for Rovers with a neat far-post finish in the first minute of added time.
Norwich: Killip (C), Efete, Godfrey, Turner, Lewis; McGrandles, Grant; Jaiyesimi, McIntosh (Middleton 46), Jarvis; Morris. Unused subs: Hallett (GK), Ashley-Seal, Crowe, Odusina.
Blackburn: Fisher, Nyambe, Platt, Wharton (C), Doyle; Travis, Hardcastle (Tomlinson 66); Mahoney, Rankin-Costello, Thomson; Mansell (Butterworth 79). Unused subs: Ascroft (GK), Magloire, Mols.