Yell Army: Victorious Norwich City youth players hail “amazing” support

Norwich City U18 v Nottingham Forest U18 semi final second leg. Photo: Bill Smith

Norwich City U18 v Nottingham Forest U18 semi final second leg. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Archant © 2013

The fire in the bellies of everyone connected with Norwich City's fight for Premier League survival has been sparked by an unlikely source – a valiant performance from the club's youth team.

Norwich City U18 v Nottingham Forest U18 semi final second leg. Photo: Bill Smith

Norwich City U18 v Nottingham Forest U18 semi final second leg. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Archant © 2013

The Canaries' under-18 side held on to earn a penalty shootout victory in their FA Youth Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest on Tuesday night, despite having a man sent off midway through the game.

Norwich City U18 v Nottingham Forest U18 semi final second leg. Reece Hall-Johnson celebrate the win

Norwich City U18 v Nottingham Forest U18 semi final second leg. Reece Hall-Johnson celebrate the winning penalty with a back-flip. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Archant © 2013

An impressive crowd of 9,690 cheered on the young City players, to help the team take the club to a first FA Youth Cup final in 30 years.

Now those young stars have thanked the Carrow Road faithful for that passionate support and asked them for a repeat performance for Saturday's crunch Premier League clash against Reading.

Midfielder Reece Hall-Johnson, who squeezed home the winning penalty in the 5-4 shootout win, said: 'To have over 9,000 people there to support an under-18s game was amazing.

'The first team were congratulating us after the game for our hard work. It was brilliant for us to know that we could inspire the first team, just as they inspire us all the time.

'With us making the final, everyone is happy and buzzing at the training ground, and hopefully the first team will feel those good vibes for Saturday and the fans will really get behind them again as well.

Most Read

'If they are like they were for us for the weekend then I think we could be unstoppable.'

Beating bottom-of-the-table Reading on Saturday could put Chris Hughton's team seven points clear of the relegation zone with four games to play, depending on other results.

Youth team striker Carlton Morris, a first-year scholar who has been playing for the club's academy since under-10 level is sure City's supporters have a big role to play in ensuring that vital win.

'It was the best atmosphere I've ever heard when I've been on a football pitch,' Morris said of Tuesday night's atmosphere. 'Our supporters were incredible, all we could hear was them getting right behind us.

'When we went down to 10 men, it was like we had 11 still because we had the crowd getting behind us, chanting, singing and getting on Forest's backs, it was a massive help for us.'

Academy manager Ricky Martin was another impressed with the success of Tuesday night's FA Youth Cup and hopes to see more of the same on Saturday

'It's important that we are all in it together, everyone from the support staff right through to the first team and through to the fans,' Mr Martin said.

'We are all here as one club, one county, one family and it's really important that we have that message out there.

'The youth team will be there on Saturday and they will pay back the support of the first team and cheer them on so that we all work together to finish off a great week for the club.'

- Send your messages of support to the City team using the Twitter hashtag #YellArmy. Some of the message will be printed in the EDP and Norwich Evening News and some will even make it on to the Carrow Road scoreboards ahead of kick-off on Saturday.

- To win one of nine pairs of tickets to the game on Saturday answer the following question correctly. What was the score the last time Norwich and Reading met at Carrow Road? (A) 0-0 (B) 3-1 (C) 1-3 (D) 2-1. Text EDP MATCH followed by your answer (A, B, C or D) name and postcode to 80058. E.G. EDP MATCH A, John Smith NR1 1TP. Texts cost 50p plus your standard network rate. Terms and conditions apply. There are nine pairs of tickets to give away.

The winners will be the first correct entries selected at random after the closing date of 11.59pm on Thursday, April 17. Usual promotion rules apply. No cash alternative. Competition is not open to Archant employees.