Ball Penalty Decides It For Norwich
Norwich City came away from Motspur Park with all three points after a hard fought encounter which saw them turnaround a goal deficit against Fulham who were second in the Academy Group A behind Norwich at the start of play.
It was Fulham who showed the early commitment and netted rather fortunately on fourteen minutes. A headed clearance by Barker was swung in from the right and fell kindly to Marsh-Brown who hammered home past Steer from around ten yards.
But the lead was short lived as Norwich responded inside two minutes.
Ball did well making ground through the middle of the Fulham half, before dispatching a through ball which undid the tall Fulham centre-backs and Dawkin calmly tucked the ball inside the far post to equalise.
Norwich upped their game and were unlucky not to go ahead on twenty four minutes as Oakley won a free kick and whipped the ball in to the Fulham penalty area. Kelly, diving in full length, could not make a connection with his head on the ball.
But Norwich finally did take the lead on twenty six minutes.
Oakley burst forward towards goal with Maloney on his heels and was clipped by the Fulham defender. This earned the Fulham player a second yellow card. With the Fulham defender off the field Halloween had come too soon for Fulham as the referee consulted his assistant to decide whether the incident had occurred inside or outside the box.
After a minutes or so debating, the referee pointed to the penalty spot and Ball stepped up to take the penalty kick, netting accordingly.
Fulham came again and Frei was just inches short of Steer’s right post.
On thirty two minutes a Gordon corner was met with a downward header by Kelly that was cleared off the goal line.
Norwich, with the man advantage, had further opportunities to increase the lead as Dobbs headed down to Dawkins who shot pass a post, before Dobbs himself got in the act with a smart drive.
But Ball on fifty seven minutes should have punished Fulham as he received a ball inside the penalty area but with ample of time amazingly shot wide of a post.
Fulham were not out of the match as it entered the last ten minutes. Marsh-Brown was still a concern with his excellent forays into the Norwich half, along with Trotta who kept the Norwich defence busy.
Trotta glanced a header over the Norwich crossbar from the right touch line on eighty six minutes.
Norwich had all hands in there own half to keep the slender goal advantage.
But substitute Loza almost had the final word when he sped away towards goal, but could not add to the Norwich tally.
With two minutes of stoppage time played, the final whistle was blown for a deserved victory for the Canaries, keeping them in pole position at the top of Premier Academy League Group A.
City Line-Up: Steer, Barker, Gordon, Florence, Jones, Habergham, Oakley, Dobbs, Dawkin, Ball, Kelly (74. Loza).
Subs Not Used: Gunn, Clunan, Simons, Toffolo.
Top Canary: Harry Barker.
Report by Rob Maynard, photos courtesy of Martin Goldthorpe.