Penalty decision frustrates Norwich City U23s as leaders Swansea take the win at Carrow Road
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Plenty of lessons were taken on board by a young Norwich City Under-23 team as they were beaten by league leaders Swansea City.
The visitors were technically superior for much of the game, as they extended their winning streak in Premier League Two to five matches, to stay top of Division Two.
The young Canaries have often been bolstered by first-team talent this season and did have the vast experience of goalkeeper Paul Jones and centre-back Michael Turner to call on at a chilly Carrow Road.
It was not enough to hold back the tide though, as they slipped to just their second defeat in 11 games in all competitions.
'They're top of the table, having said that we're a little bit disappointed with how we played, that was probably the worst we've played the last 10 games or so,' City U23s coach Dmitri Halajko said.
'We didn't think we were awful, we thought we lacked a little bit of quality on the ball from what we've been recently.
'We were quite happy with our defensive shape and our work rate but we were a little bit off it on the ball from what we have been and that probably was the deciding factor from our point of view.'
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The Swans claimed the upper hand in just the third minute when winger Alex Samuel got in behind left-back Timi Odusina and fired in a low cross from the right which cannoned off Ben Godfrey's heel and into the net.
It was an unfortunate way to go behind and the hosts got stuck into the challenge, with striker Carlton Morris bending a 25-yard free-kick just wide four minutes later and the lively Diallang Jaiyesimi testing Swansea keeper Gregor Zabret with a low shot in the 12th minute.
The visitors found the second goal they needed in the 54th minute though – despite protests from City.
Ebou Adams was robbed in midfield by the lightning-quick Dan James and the winger streaked forward and forced Godfrey into a tackle, which was given as a penalty.
Swans striker Botti Biabi calmly tucked the spot-kick into the bottom-right corner but Halajko felt Godfrey was hard done by with the decision.
'It wasn't a penalty, it was outside the box for a start, we've watched it back and it was a good two or three yards outside the box and he's clearly won the ball,' he added. 'The referee has got that one wrong and that happens, it was just unfortunate we were on the wrong end of it but that happens sometimes.
'Ben's been excellent for us, really, really good, all season really but the last five or six games he's been at a real top level. He's just been a bit unfortunate, with a goal that's hit his foot and he's been unfortunate with a decision that's not gone his way.'
City's U23s return to league action at Wolves on Friday night before facing Swansea at Carrow Road again next Tuesday, in the Checkatrade Trophy's first knockout round.
Norwich City U23s: Jones; Efete, Godfrey, Turner, Odusina; Crowe (McIntosh 67), Adams, Grant (C); Jaiyesimi, Middleton (Higgs 62), Morris. Unused: Killip (GK), Sambu, Ashley-Seal.
Referee: Christopher O'Donnell