Reading Under-23s 4 Norwich City Under-23s 1: Premier League Cup heartache for Canaries
- Credit: Matthew Usher/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City Under-23s experienced Premier League Cup semi-final heartache as they went down to a 4-1 defeat against Reading at the Madejski Stadium.
Three first-half goals for the Royals effectively sealed the tie although Ray Grant did at least claim a consolation goal in the second half.
City were the brighter side in the opening period with Diallang Jaiyesimi twice going close but Reading got their noses in front just before the half-hour mark.
Rob Dickie's prodded effort was initially ruled out for offside but the decision was overturned and City were 1-0 down.
Sam Smith made it 2-0 with a powerful header and Reading took an even firmer grip on proceedings thanks to Tyler Frost's strike.
City pulled one back just after half-time thanks to Grant's scrambled strike but Reading sealed victory thanks to Smith's second of the afternoon.
Interim Under-23s boss Matt Gill admitted his side had been made to pay for a poor period before half-time.
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'We're really disappointed as we had a spell where we weren't ourselves at all,' he told canaries.co.uk.
'That's cost us, because we'd started brightly and moved the ball well for the first 25 minutes or so. The spell before half-time we were quite poor and that's the biggest regret we'll take from it.
'We came away from our standards and from our levels. After conceding we felt a little bit sorry for ourselves, which is something you can't do in cup semi-finals.
'There is a lot of learning to be taken from that minute spell about coming together as a group rather than having chins on chests. Sometimes you have to grind it out and stay in the game.
'It's part of their development but we're really disappointed to go out the way we did.'
With the Development Squad season having now drawn to a close, Gill explained what's next for City's youngsters now the competitive action has concluded.
'The lads will be in for the next couple of weeks and we'll be having some individual meetings,' he added. 'We'll be talking about how the season has gone, as well as the plans for the summer. When the season ends properly we'll be able to assess what we can do better next year.
'It's the first time they've had a 40-plus game season, and they've had loads of experiences. They've had two semi-finals so that kind of exposure will help them no end.
'It's important they take forward what they've experienced this season.'
Norwich City: Oxborough; Ramsay (Hlynsson, 87), Efete, Crowe, Lewis; Grant (Aarons, 62), Adams (c); Jaiyesimi, Cantwell, McGrandles (Higgs, 73); Ashley-Seal. Subs not used: Hallett (GK), Wallis.