Norwich City reserves v West Ham United reserves
Monday 16 November 2009
Full-time - Norwich City reserves 2-1 West Ham United reserves
Defeat was very harsh on Alex Dyer's young reserve team, who could easily nicked a draw or even a win from a game high on entertainment and chances. Dyer will have been pleased with his whole squad, but the likes of Danny Kearns, Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson and Anthony Edgar particularly caught the eye. All in all, the fixture was a very worthwhile exercise for the Hammers youngsters.
93 mins - Purdy wins a very late corner. Everyone bar Smith and Stech are in the Norwich box. The home side clear and it is two-on-one. Smith attempts to cover both the rampaging Hughes and McDonald. Hughes shoots and Stech makes a fine block before referee George brings proceedings to a close.
91 mins - We're into the first of three added minutes and Werndly forces a late corner, but West Ham waste the chance as the ball goes out for a goal kick.
90 mins - The superb Kearns is replaced by Republic of Ireland U17 forward Danny Purdy for the remaining few minutes. Seconds earlier, Werndly had the ball in the net, only to be denied by the offside flag.
89 mins - McDonald goes close, only to be denied by a fine save by Stech. From the resulting corner, Cureton loops a volley narrowly wide.
87 mins - Can West Ham create one last opening and snatch the draw they so richly deserve? Considering the gap in experience between the two teams, this has been a very impressive display from Dyer's youngsters.
86 mins - Edgar skins two Norwich defenders with lightning pace, but can only smash his shot wide of the target from a difficult angle. West Ham have been very good tonight. Norwich make their second and final change, as they've only named two substitutes. Wiggins is off, with Alex Stephens taking his place.
85 mins - Brilliant again from Kearns, who fires in a low cross that Turner can only slice behind for a corner. Kearns takes, but Lampe can only divert his header high and wide of the far post.
83 mins - West Ham are giving this a right go. A crowd of 1,890 have turned out to watch them do it, and this is friendly! They certainly love their football in this part of the world.
81 mins - GOAL! More fine work from Kearns sees him spread the ball wide right to Brookes. The right-back floats the ball into the penalty area and Werndly gambles, gets away from his marker and deftly flicks the ball past Theoklitos. Game on!
80 mins - Edgar picks up a loose clearance and runs at the Norwich defence. He creates a yard of space by dropping his shoulder, but can only fire over the crossbar with his left foot. That was a decent chance.
79 mins - Stech makes another acrobatic stop, this time to deny McDonald.
77 mins - That was a real save for the cameras by Stech! The Czech Republic stopper flung himself high to his right to pluck Dumic's rising 25-yard shot out of the sky.
76 mins - A change for both sides. Zola is replaced by Miles Smith, while Norwich's first swap sees McVeigh make way for Matthew Ball.
75 mins - It's turned into a bit of an end-to-end contest now. Stech thwarts McVeigh with his toe to end one Norwich attack, while neat footwork from Kearns almost sees Werndly get in behind the Canaries rearguard.
72 mins - They'll have some bruises to show for their efforts tonight, will West Ham. Edgar is clattered just outside the Norwich box and physiotherapist Tom Smith is called into action again.
71 mins - Finally, McVeigh is booked. A lunging tackle on Kearns proves to be the final straw for referee George.
69 mins - Theoklitos shows safe hands after an Edgar free-kick was allowed to bounce into his crowded six-yard box.
68 mins - Werndly is on, with Dixon the man to make way.
67 mins - This will be a proper test of character for Dyer's youngsters now. Youth-team striker Jack Werndly looks set to be the second West Ham substitute used this evening.
65 mins - GOAL! That is very harsh on the Hammers. McVeigh smashes the penalty straight down the middle to put Norwich two goals up.
64 mins - Stech's first job is going to be to face a penalty! McDonald got through and went down under a challenge from Eyjolfsson. It looked like shoulder-to-shoulder, but the referee pointed straight to the spot.
62 mins - Kurucz gathers a weak shot from Cureton and that is his night complete. No18 Stech comes on to replace the Hungarian, who is likely to be on first-team duty at Hull City on Saturday.
61 mins - This is a bit like watching the Arsenal first team!. West Ham are playing some beautiful football up to the final 18 yards or so, but so far they have not worked Theoklitos as much as they would have liked.
60 mins - As soon as they lost it, West Ham have rediscovered their passing rhythm. On the bench, it looks like substitute goalkeeper Marek Stech is going to get a run out.
58 mins - For the first time all evening, West Ham look a little hurried in possession. Eyjolfsson's hurried clearance hits Brookes and bounces into Kurucz's arms. It could have gone anywhere!
55 mins - McVeigh catches Kearns again, but the referee doesn't see it. Kearns is not at all impressed with his fellow countryman.
54 mins - Kearns does well again. He runs at the Norwich defence and threads the ball through to Dixon, but the forward is caught on his heels and Norwich scramble it clear.
53 mins - Another half-chance for Cureton, but he cannot direct his header from Dumic's right-wing cross anywhere near the target.
51 mins - West Ham have picked up where they left off before half-time. Fine skill again from Kearns wins a corner for his side. Kearns takes the corner himself, but it is headed clear.
48 mins - McVeigh clatters into Grasser and leaves the Austrian on his backside. The referee calls over Norwich captain Lathrope and tells him that McVeigh is on a last warning. This might be a friendly, but surely McVeigh would have been booked had this been a competitive fixture.
47 mins - West Ham keep the ball well and win a free-kick 30 yards from the Norwich goal. Grasser curls it over and the ball breaks to Edgar, but his shot is blocked and Dumic clears.
46 mins - No changes at half-time and West Ham get us back underway...
Half-time - Norwich City reserves 1-0 West Ham United reserves
46 mins - The half-time whistle blows.
45 mins - Edgar's trickery wins another free-kick deep inside Norwich territory. Kearns curls over the free-kick, but it is too high and Theoklitos claims. We're going to have at least one added minute of what has been a hugely entertaining first half.
44 mins - Good again from Kurucz, who raced off his line to clear the ball as McDonald attempted to latch on to a through ball.
42 mins - That really should have been 2-0. Kelly was left unmarked from a corner, but could only direct his header straight into the turf and Kurucz was able to catch with ease. Kelly was only six yards out and will feel he should have scored from there.
41 mins - Breathtaking skill from Kearns takes him past three Norwich defenders. He crosses low across the six-yard box, but there is nobody there to apply the finishing touch.
39 mins - Brookes brings down the speedy McDonald within shooting range. Lathrope and Cureton stand over the set piece before the latter curls a low shot around the wall and into Kurucz's arms.
37 mins - Kurucz is called into action again, but this time it is to make a routine save from Damon Lathrope down low to his right.
36 mins - Norwich have definitely got the upper hand back now. A spell of possession around the Hammers penalty area ends with Cureton curling a first-time shot wide of the far post.
33 mins - McVeigh gets a stern telling off from referee George after clipping Edgar's heels. It is not the first offence the former Tottenham Hotspur trainee has committed.
29 mins - Norwich appear to have weathered the West Ham storm for now and it takes a good piece of goalkeeping from Kurucz to prevent McDonald from doubling his tally. The stopper came out well to block the 23-year-old's shot with his legs before Andrea Zola completed the clearance.
27 mins - Edgar has switched flanks. His next victim could well be Norwich left-back Wiggins! Norwich finally keep the ball for a period of time before Hughes flicks the ball to Cureton, but the veteran's sidefoot effort is poor and thuds into the advertising hoarding well wide of the target.
25 mins - Norwich break and Kurucz does well to claim the ball off the toe of McDonald. That was brave from the Hungarian.
24 mins - Dixon looks mean out there. He is working his socks off. West Ham win a free-kick 25 yards from the Norwich goal. Edgar takes it short and Norwich clear. Maybe he should have taken a pop there?
22 mins - Just when West Ham look odds-on to score themselves, Norwich break again and Cureton plays in McDonald. The striker outstrips Jack Lampe and then stabs his shot miles wide of the target from 18 yards.
21 mins - Some of West Ham's quick passing is fantastic to watch. They are dominating possession and spending a lot of time in Norwich territory. Now it is just a case of creating a clear opportunity to level the scores.
18 mins - Good defending there from Eyjolfsson, who nipped in just when it looked as Cureton was going to burst on to McDonald's clever flick. The Iceland man took matters into his own hands, or rather feet, there and it was the right decision.
15 mins - Norwich almost hit West Ham with a sucker-punch. McVeigh crosses and only alert defending from Brookes sees him deflect Turner's header behind for a corner. Kurucz claims the resulting set piece.
14 mins - Superb football again from the visitors sees Dixon released down the inside-left channel. He beats one defender and only a last-ditch tackle from Nelson stops him from bearing down on the Canaries goal.
13 mins - Edgar is giving Norwich's young Danish right-back Dario Dumic a torrid time. The winger enjoyed his time on loan at League Two high-fliers Bournemouth and looks full of confidence.
11 mins - West Ham's youngsters are really warming to the task here. They play some very neat one-touch stuff inside the Norwich half before Edgar again beats his man, only to screw his shot well wide.
9 mins - Norwich look dangerous on the counter-attack, with Cureton ending one raid by curling a shot well over the top.
7 mins - To be fair to Dyer's young team, they are playing the better football now. Edgar looks particularly lively, beating his marker with an audacious double step-over.
5 mins - Oooh! Close to an equaliser for Dixon. The young forward beat the Norwich offside trap and cut inside Kelly before letting fly with his left foot from 20 yards, only for the ball to drift wide of the post.
4 mins - Well, that wasn't in the script. West Ham have responded well, though, and Dixon nearly benefits from a backward header from Kelly, only for Theoklitos to claim the loose ball.
1 min - GOAL! And we're off. Norwich spend the opening seconds passing the ball along their back-four. Danny Kelly launches a long ball out to Cureton wide on the left. He lays it back to left-back Rhys Wiggins, who picks out the unmarked Cody McDonald. The former Dartford man sends a looping header over Peter Kurucz and Norwich are ahead before West Ham have touched the ball!
7.32pm - The referee, a Mr George, speaks to captains Eyjolfsson and Cureton, and Norwich will kick-off.
7.29pm - To the strains of Blur's 'Song 2', the two teams emerge from the tunnel and on to the immaculate-looking Carrow Road pitch. West Ham are in claret and blue, while Norwich are in yellow and green, as you might have expected. There must be a few hundred fans here to watch tonight's friendly.
7.26pm - In goal for Norwich tonight is Michael Theoklitos, who famously began the present season by letting in seven goals in an opening-day thrashing at the hands of Colchester United. Theoklitos has not played for the Norwich first-team since that day, which just happened to be his debut.
7.23pm - West Ham's players follow their Norwich counterparts down the tunnel following their respective pre-match warm-ups. Opposite me in the Jarrold Stand - the only part of the ground open to the public - the younger home fans are singing 'Yellow Army'. Academy Director Tony Carr, who has overseen the development of the majority of the West Ham players on display this evening, is here to watch them in action.
7.20pm - Tonight's game is being played in front of a decent number of supporters. As well as the local Norwich fans, a small smattering of Hammers have turned out to support their club. I know this for sure as I met one family of Norfolk-based West Ham fans in the supermarket across the road about an hour-and-a-half ago!
7.15pm - Another player named in Norwich's starting XI is experienced defender Michael Nelson. West Ham fans with good memories will remember that Nelson was Hartlepool United's captain when they took on the Hammers in last season's FA Cup fourth round. Nelson gave away a penalty in that game, which ended in a 2-0 West Ham victory. A repeat would be most welcome this evening!
Good evening and welcome to Carrow Road for a specially-arranged reserve-team friendly between Norwich City and Alex Dyer's West Ham United.
Dyer has a youthful squad at his disposal on what is a cold, still night in Norfolk. The likes of Hungary Under-21 goalkeeper Peter Kurucz, Iceland U21 defender Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson, Austria U20 midfielder Georg Grasser and former Republic of Ireland youth international forward Terry Dixon will be eager to impress.
Also turning out for the Hammers are the likes of Northern Ireland U19 midfielder Danny Kearns, exciting forward Anthony Edgar and right-back Tony Brookes, all of whom signed their first full professional contracts in the summer.
In contrast, Norwich manager Ian Crook has an experienced selection of his players available.
With the Canaries involved in FA Youth Cup action against Torquay on Tuesday evening, former City midfielder Crook has a number of first-team fringe players in his squad.
Vastly-experienced forward Jamie Cureton, former Rangers midfielder Stephen Hughes and Northern Ireland winger Paul McVeigh are all in the Norwich squad.
Dyer will be keen for his young charges to continue the good work they have done in recent matches, earning creditable draws in the recent friendly with Polish outfit Arka Gdynia and Barclays Premier Academy League South fixture at Fulham.