Norwich City fell to their second defeat of the Under-23 Premier League 2 as goals from Ian Poveda and Raphinha gave an experienced Leeds United side a 2-0 win at Thorpe Arch Grange on Sunday afternoon.
City made two changes from the last game against Stoke City with Rob Nizet and Matthew Dennis dropping out for Tom Dickson-Peters and under-18 left-back Sean Stewart.
Leeds named a strong line-up with senior players Kiko Casilla, Pascal Struijk, Pablo Hernandez, Tyler Roberts, Raphinha and Poveda all starting.
It was Poveda who put the Whites into an early lead when Hernandez played a ball into Roberts in the box and his high looping shot wasn’t cleared at the back post. That allowed Poveda to hit a first-time shot, which was blocked on the line, but he followed up to hit another effort into the roof of the net.
Norwich’s response to going behind early on was good though as William Hondermack fired just wide before Reece McAlear and Tyrese Omotoye both had efforts blocked from inside the box.
Then on 13 minutes Tom Dickson-Peters raced clear and should have levelled but put his effort the wrong side of the post. Roberts then miscued a volley for Leeds from 12 yards out, following good work down the wing by Leif Davis.
Norwich had the ball in the back of the net midway through the half when Josh Guirgi did well to close down Poveda in the box and square for Dickson-Peters to side foot home, but the effort was harshly ruled out for a foul in the build-up.
So, the Canaries could count themselves unfortunate to go into the break 2-0 down when, against the run of play, Roberts stole the ball back just inside Leeds’ half and sent Raphina racing away and he kept his cool to slide a shot under McCracken five minutes before the interval.
Leeds came out for the second half in determined fashion with Raphinha curling a free-kick just wide before testing Jon McCracken. A few minutes later Andrew Omobamidele had to put in an excellent block to deny Jack Jenkins.
McAlear then had Norwich’s first effort of the second half, as following good work from Sean Stewart, he warmed the gloves of Casilla with a powerful shot. However, in the closing half hour of the match McCracken was called upon on two more occasions as first he made a superb block to deny Struijk and then showed quick reactions to turn a deflected effort from Poveda around the post.
Ultimately, the Canaries wouldn't be able to find a goal on the day against the Peacocks, going home empty-handed, but they could return with their heads held high after an admirable performance against partial first-team opposition.
Leeds United starting XI: Casilla, Drameh, Davis, Struijk, Cresswell, Casey, Hernandez, Jenkins, Roberts, Raphinha, Poveda
Bookings: Hernandez (30), Raphinha (72), Jenkins (77)
Goals: Poveda (2), Raphinpha (40)
Norwich City starting XI: McCracken, Vaughan, Omobamidele, Tomkinson, Stewart (Nizet, 80), Dronfield, Giurgi (Dennis, 54), McAlear, Omotoye, Dickson-Peters, Hondermarck (Khumbeni, 65)
Booked: McALear (58)