Norwich City 0
Barker (25 mins and 77 mins), Ambrose (79 mins)
- Match reports
- 05 April 2014 12:54
- Posted by @roline_mcfc
City u18s extended their unbeaten run to six with a 3-0 win over Norwich at the Colney Training Centre.
Jason Wilcox's side headed into the game in the knowledge that a play-off place had already been achieved but following the manager's challenge to win each of their remaining games, were looking to return to Manchester with all three points.
Wilcox made just one change from the side that comfortably defeated Wolves in midweek. Barker, who missed that game through injury, returned to the starting line-up in place of Aaron Nemane, who dropped to the bench.
Once again, Mathias Bossaerts was absent from the squad, following his exploits for Patrick Vieira's Elite Development Squad. The attacking trio of Jack Byrne, Denzeil Boadu and Bersant Celina continued in midfield, whilst top-scorer Ambrose started upfront in search of his 20th goal of the season.
City started brightly and enjoyed all of the early possession. The first chance of the game came on ten minutes. After Ambrose won the ball well on the edge of the area, he slid the ball to Jorge Intima who stretched to reach it but could not convert under pressure.
Norwich then spurned a chance to open the scoring, as Billy O'Brien in the City goal managed to gather an effort after a cross was only half-cleared.
The home side defended deep, restricting the amount of chances the Blues could create. Wilcox’s men did find a way through on 25 minutes with a quick counter-attack.
Celina released Barker down the left-hand side and the winger made no mistake with the finish, drilling the ball past the goalkeeper from the edge of the area with his weaker left foot to cap his return to action with a goal.
Moments later, it should have been 2-0 but Ambrose’s header from Ash Smith-Brown’s cross was clawed away by the Canaries 'keeper. The Blues' claims that the ball crossed the line were waved away by the referee.
Norwich wasted a glorious chance to equalise just before half-time. After regaining possession, the home side raced clear but O’Brien spread himself well and managed to deflect the shot wide, preserving the Blues' lead into the break.
The game opened up in the second half and City looked much more dangerous - particularly on the counter-attack - but they struggled to make the most of their chances.
As Norwich began to tire, Barker and Boadu missed golden opportunities to add to the tally and with such a slender advantage, a Norwich comeback was feared.
That wasn’t to be the case though as Wilcox’s side finally created some breathing space for themselves with a goal on 77 minutes.
It was a goal entirely of Barker’s making, as the winger intercepted a Ben Burgess pass high up the pitch before embarking on a run towards goal and sliding the ball underneath the goalkeeper for his second of the game.
Two minutes later, the result was put beyond doubt as substitute Nemane squared for Ambrose and the prolific striker smashed the ball into the net at the back-post.
Having set himself a target of 25 before the end of the season, Ambrose certainly stands a fine chance of reaching that milestone if he continues his current form.
With a three-goal cushion, the Blues were well in control and should have netted a further four times before the end of the game.
Regardless, Wilcox will be pleased with another comprehensive display and another clean sheet which cements the Blues’ position at the top of the U18 Premier League North.
Next up for the boy Blues is a home clash with West Ham on Saturday 12 April.