Norwich City U23s 2 Wolves U23s 1 – Stiepermann helps young Canaries to hard fought victory
- Credit: Archant
Marco Stiepermann proved the difference for Norwich City Under-23s as he made his injury comeback.
Goals from Tristan Abrahams and the German midfielder proved enough for Matt Gill's team to survive a second half onslaught from the visitors and take all three points in Premier League Two Division Two.
Former Canaries academy striker Benny Ashley-Seal tested City keeper Aston Oxborough – fresh from signing a new two-year contract – with a low shot after 10 minutes and Abrahams did the same at the other end soon afterwards.
That Wolves chance had come after loose play from Stiepermann but the 27-year-old German was largely excellent on his comeback from hernia surgery and ran the midfield alongside Adam Phillips.
It was Phillips, still not getting games at loan club Cambridge, who set Simon Power down the right for the opening goal in the 19th minute, with Adam Idah fluffing his shot from his fellow Irishman's cross, only for Abrahams to be on hand to rifle home from six yards.
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Less than 90 seconds later it was 2-0, with Abrahams attacking on the left but seeing his cross charged down as far as Stiepermann, whose delicate chip was pawed at by keeper Jon Flatt and then cleared off the line, only for the linesman to signal the ball had crossed the line.
The visitors were shellshocked – having already beaten City twice this season – and were fortunate not to be further behind the break, with on-trial Barnsley defender Adam Lund heading a Power cross narrowly wide in the 29th minute.
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Idah saw a shot well saved soon after the break and Lund had the ball in the back of the net for City seven minutes into the second half, powering in a diving header from a Devonte Aransibia cross from the left, only for the goal to be ruled out for offside.
Wolves hit back in the 63rd minute when substitutes Sherwin Seedorf and Niall Ennis combined, the latter turning home the Dutch winger's cross from close range as the visitors rallied.
The visitors played the last 25 minutes with 10 men due to injury and Stiepermann came off in the 72nd minute after a solid shift but it took a spectacular save from Oxborough to hold onto the win, superbly keeping out Elliot Watt's free-kick with eight minutes left.
Norwich: Oxborough; Aarons (C), Lund, Wallis, Aransibia; Power, Phillips, Stiepermann (Milovanovic 72), Mourgos (Payne 82); Abrahams (Fonkeu 77), Idah. Subs: Hallett (GK), Kamal
Booked: Power (foul on Hanne, 90+4)
Goals: Abrahams 19, Stiepermann 20
Wolves: Flatt; Ofosu-Ayeh, Burr, Goodliffe, Leak (C); Hanne, Levingston, Watt, Xavier (Randall 46), Heredia (Seedorf 46); Ashley Seal (Ennis 33). Subs: Odoffin, Ming-Yang
Booked: Watt (foul on Mourgos, 13), Levingston (foul on Mourgos, 62)
Goals: Ennis 63
Referee: Carl Brook
Attendance: 750 (estimated)