Steer drives Norwich City through
Norwich City's habit of creating goalkeeping heroes in the FA Youth Cup continued last night when 18-year-old Jed Steer played a starring role in helping the Canaries into the fourth round.
Steer had been in top form during a hard-fought match, but his penalty save, when he got down low to his left to keep out Tosan Popo's effort in the final minute, was exceptional – and ensured skipper Matt Ball's 50th-minute goal proved to be the winner.
'It was one hell of a penalty save, and that's why he is the best in the country,' said Academy boss Ricky Martin, who saw Steer's predecessor Declan Rudd save penalties then score the shoot-out winner two seasons ago against Stoke City.
'Norwich City are very, very lucky to have the best under-18s goalkeeper in the country.
'But the Academy have got good players and I mean this in the right way – that's his job and that's why he is so good and that's why he creates the attention, that's why he has been around the first-team squad and that's why he is a professional already because he can go and he can stand out.
'Not that he had a lot to do, but what he did was real quality and that is why he is a professional.
'People will make the link to Declan two years ago and see what Declan went on to do. I know Jed is a level-headed lad and he's really, really proud because he has had to live in the shadow of Declan – now he is creating his own history.'
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City were missing half a dozen injured players – some of whom will be back for the fourth round in January – while 15-year-old left back Harry Toffolo had a school exam yesterday and only got to Carrow Road two hours before kick-off.
Charlton had the best chances of the first half, Steer diving at the feet of Ade Azeez to keep the half-time scoresheet blank.
But City won it in a 15-minute period at the start of the second half when they piled pressure on the Charlton goal.
Dean Florence tested keeper Brandon Hall from the edge of the area and the tricky Ryan Oakley sent in a low cross which was just inches away from the sliding Sam Kelly.
Hall did well to tip Jason Dobbs' long-range effort around a post but was beaten when Ball whipped in a cross-cum-shot from the left that eluded everyone in the area and nestled in the far corner.
Steer spread himself to prevent Azeez grabbing an equaliser and then kept out Toby Silva's long-range effort.
But he saved the best for last, diving full length to his left to keep out Popo's spot-kick, after Ball had been punished for tugging a red shirt.
'One of my points to the lads before the game was, whatever you do, win the game,' said Martin.
'It's knockout, it's a cup competition. It's alright playing well and getting knocked out but no one wants them. We want winners at this football club, and we won the game so I am really pleased.
'In the second half the 15 minutes we had after half-time was probably the best period any team had in the game.
'I thought the rest of the game was a very even game, end to end, no real chances, but in that 15-minute period I thought we created the most pressure, sustained that pressure in their half, created half chances and eventually the goal came.'
• City: Steer, Barker, Jones, Gordon, Toffolo, Ball, Dobbs, Florence, Oakley, Loza (Simons 39), Kelly (Stephens 71).
Subs not used: Matthews, Clunan, Hall-Johnson.
• Charlton: Hall, Ajayi (Pigott 61), Carter, Morris, Osbourne, Cousins, Jordan, Warren, Popo, Azeez (Silva 82), Harriott.
Subs not used: Fox, Gough, Willer.
• Attendance: 306.