City youngsters squander lead in Black Cats defeat
- Credit: Matthew Usher/Norwich City
Norwich City U23s led twice against Sunderland before a late winner saw them beaten 3-2 at Colney on Friday afternoon.
David Wright's men were leading 2-1 at half-time courtesy of goals from striking duo Matthew Dennis and Abu Kamara but were pegged back in the second half by the Black Cats.
Former Arsenal striker Dennis put the Canaries in front inside the opening two minutes after linking well with Kamara before slotting past goalkeeper Anthony Patterson.
Sunderland replied soon after through the prolific Josh Hawkes, who cut in from the left-hand side before firing a low effort past Dan Barden in City's goal.
The Canaries regained the lead just three minutes later when Dennis turned provider to tee up Kamara from the left. The striker met the ball and cushioned it into the net.
A fine performance from Barden frustrated the Black Cats all afternoon, but Sunderland did find an equaliser through Hawkes on 72 minutes. The 22-year-old scored his fifth goal in four matches when he turned in the box before firing into the net.
The clock had ticked past the 92nd minute as Dan Neil tucked the ball home from a corner in added time to seal a late victory for the visitors.
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Wright was disappointed with the defeat, especially after a poor performance in Monday's 2-2 draw with Burnley. City's U23 boss accused his side of lacking bravery enough during the game.
“It’s disappointing and the boys have had a tough week,” he said. “We’ve played against two teams, with Burnley on Monday and today, where we’ve been average.
“When you play two games in a week, that extra two years at this age is a real big difference. We have to take that into account. We just got run down in the end and it was a bit like that against Burnley when they pushed us back and kept coming.
“We’ve got to understand that. In tactical terms, the two times we were brave enough to execute the plan were the two times we scored. At other times we created opportunities.
“Throughout the game, I didn’t feel we were consistently brave enough because they were front foot and pressurising. It’s alright playing nice football when you’ve got five or ten yards of space, but when that pressure comes and someone’s on top of you, the first-team are excellent at that."
City sit 11th in the Premier League 2 Division 2, just four points above bottom-placed West Brom.
Norwich City: Barden (GK), Lomas, Warner (Vaughan 60), Tomkinson (C), Nizet, Khumbeni (McAlear 46), Riley, Rowe (Dickson-Peters 78), Dennis, Kamara, Stewart. Subs not used: Rose (GK), Vaughan, Springett
Goals: Dennis (2), Kamara (26)
Bookings: Nizet (68)
Sunderland: Patterson (GK), Richardson, Taylor, Wilding, Beaumont, Almond, Wearne, Trialist, Harris, Neil, Hawkes. Subs not used: Richardson (GK), Kelly, Chapman, Gardiner
Goals: Hawkes (23), Hawkes (72), Neil (90+2)
Bookings: Wearne (84)