Two goals either side of half-time propelled our under-18s to a convincing victory over Norwich City.
In their first match since the disappointing Premier League Cup defeat to Tottenham Hotspur in February, Kwame Ampadu’s side responded emphatically, dominating the game from the start.
They could have taken the lead almost straight from kick-off, when a fine, sweeping team move finished with Folarin Balogun beating the Canaries keeper to James Olayinka’s searching through ball. Balogun toe-poked the ball towards goal and was unfortunate to see his effort rebound off the post.
Norwich had had a fortunate escape, but their luck deserted them soon after, when Zak Swanson exchanged passes with Jordan McEneff before the former capitalised on a goalkeeping fumble to turn home the latter’s cross.
Having scored the first, Swanson turned provider after 34 minutes. Retrieving Trae Coyle’s cross, the full back delivered a low, first-time centre to Olayinka. Turning inside his marker with his first touch, Olayinka unleashed a ferocious near-post shot with his second to double our lead.
We continued to make the better opportunities after the break, but it took until the 79th minute for us to make the game safe. This time Coyle was the creator, turning sharply before threading the ball through to substitute Bukaya Saka to confidently steer a finish inside the far post.
Saka’s direct and purposeful running had caused the hosts plenty of problems, so it was no surprise to see the forward heavily involved in our final goal. After Matthew Smith had won possession midway inside the Norwich half, Jay Beckford fed the ball out to Saka, whose left-wing cross was clinically headed home by the onrushing McEneff.
Saka could have added his second in the dying embers of the game but, after speeding clear of the Norwich backline, the teenager’s shot was touched just wide.
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