Young guns go for it against Hammers

Norwich City youngster Michael Spillane missed out on a club record by just eight days after making his debut in Saturday's FA Cup clash with West Ham at Carrow Road.

Norwich City youngster Michael Spillane missed out on a club record by just eight days after making his debut in Saturday's FA Cup clash with West Ham at Carrow Road.

With nine professionals unavailable for one reason or another the Republic of Ireland youth international was named on the bench for the third round tie - and made it on to the pitch in the 86th minute as a replacement for Jason Jarrett in the centre of the park.

In doing so, Spillane became only the second 16-year-old to represent the Canaries in a competitive fixture - but Ryan Jarvis remains the youngest first team player of all time.

The striker was 16 years and 282 days old when he came on as substitute in the 0-0 draw against Walsall on April 19, 2003 when City were battling for a place in the old Division One play-offs.

Spillane was 16 years and 290 days old on Saturday, so he will have to content himself with the knowledge that he is the youngest player to have represented the club in over 100 years of FA Cup competition.

The Cambridge youngster, who can play either in defence or midfield, is also second on the all-time list, with 1970s full-back Ian Davies (17 years and 29 days) dropping down a place at the weekend.

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Spillane was one of three teenagers to be given a chance on Saturday, with Fakenham youngster Rossi Jarvis making his full debut at right-back after four appearances as a substitute and Andrew Cave-Brown, a second year scholar who was formerly with Charlton, coming on as his replacement near the end.

Jarvis, who recently signed his first professional contract, was given a tough time by in-form winger Matthew Etherington but warmed to his task as the afternoon wore on and did a solid job for the side.

The late substitutes also made their mark, with Spillane catching the eye with one or two nice turns before setting up a late chance for Ian Henderson and Cave-Brown fitting in well during the seven minutes of injury-time.

Manager Nigel Worthington was certainly impressed by what he had witnessed from the fresh-faced trio.

“I thought the young boys that came in did exceptionally well,” he said.

“It was a great challenge for young Jarvis - and he stuck to his task well and kept his nerve,” he said. “Yes, Etherington showed him a clean set of heels every now and then, but the kid has come through, which is very, very pleasing.

“Spillane came on and got his teeth into the game straight away and young Cave-Brown did well too - so that's all good news.”