U's Impressive against the Canaries
Cambridge United produced two impressive performances against Premier League outfit Norwich City, in two unique one hour pre-season fixtures upon the U’s return to the Abbey Stadium.
United opened the evening’s play with a solid display against a strong Canaries side, in which they seemed to have won the match after Barry Corr had scored his first goal on home soil for the U’s, until Gary Hooper slotted home a late equaliser from the penalty spot to complete a 1-1 score line.
The visiting side sprung into life for game two when Ricky Van Wolfswinkel broke the deadlock with just two minutes on the clock.
Richard Money’s men grafted hard to push for an equaliser, but the Canaries fielding a fresher team for game two showed their class to score a goal shortly after half time and put the game beyond a valiant United.
A positive start for the U’s saw them craft out the first opportunity with a press high up field from Liam Hughes earning United possession, before Robbie Simpson fired a shot off target on former Cambridge United keeper John Ruddy’s goal.
The Canaries, starting near enough their first team side, worked their way into the game and chances fell to both Cameron Jerome and Odjidja-Ofoe but neither could beat U’s goalkeeper Sam Beasant.
United came closest in the first period, when Simpson this time played Harrison Dunk down the right channel, who’s powerful drive at goal was calmly tipped over the crossbar by Ruddy.
Half Time Cambridge United 0 Norwich City 0
The U’s raced out of the starting blocks in the second half when Jordan Slew showed too much power and pace for his opposite number and fired a cross into new signing Barry Corr, who showed fantastic composure to place the ball past Ruddy into the net.
Moments later the Irishman came close to returning Slew’s favour by slotting the striker through, however the 22-year old was unable to find the target and double the U’s advantage. A third chance in as many minutes almost saw Norwich City’s Ryan Bennett put the ball past his own keeper, but the defender was relieved to see the ball glance just wide of Ruddy’s right post.
After a frantic opening five minutes of the second period, the match settled down with United showing good defensive discipline behind the ball and keeping the Canaries at bay.
After a positive attacking opening to the half, the U’s displayed their defensive capabilities for the next 20 minutes by sitting comfortably behind the ball and waving away the majority of Norwich possession.
Despite their impressive discipline, referee Darren Dreadman adjudged Conor Newton to have tackled City right back Louis Thompson unfairly in the box and Gary Hopper stroked the ball past U’s keeper Sam Beasant to equalise moments before the final whistle.
However an encouraging opening performance from the men wearing the new 2015/16 black away shirt set up another interesting encounter for game two.
Cambridge United: Beasant, Omozusi, Roberts, Coulson (30 mins, Legge), Taylor, Newton, Morrissey (30 mins, Berry), L.Hughes, Dunk, Corr, Simpson (30 mins, Slew)
Norwich City: Ruddy, Whittaker, R.Bennett, Turner, Thompson, Odjidja-Ofoe, Johnson, Mulumbu, Dorrans, Jerome (35 mins Josh Murphy), Hooper
Full Time Cambridge United 1 Norwich City 0
Buoyed by a large travelling support, the Canaries took no time in taking the lead in game two, with Van Wolfswinkel the recipient of a well-placed cross from Jacob Murphy.
Despite the early setback, the U’s battled well to get a foothold back in the game and push for an equaliser. An intricate passage of play 10 minutes into the game, led to a United free kick in a dangerous position on the left flank. Morrissey delivered deep and Legge directed the ball back into the danger zone, but Simpson was unable to meet the pass and Rudd ended the attack.
Long range efforts from Norwich’s Gary O’Neil and new United arrival Danny Carr, who showed exciting glimpses throughout the first 30 minutes, were the only two other chances of note to report in an evenly contested first period.
Luke Berry also showed why the club were keen to reclaim his services this summer, as a constant creative influence and an infectious attitude towards winning the ball back for the U’s.
HALF TIME Cambridge United 0 Norwich City 1
Much like the first half, Norwich bounced into life with Grabban coming close to doubling the lead just moments after kick off, before Toffolo did indeed score a second from Ricky Van Wolfswinkel’s cross across the box for the simplest of finishes.
With Norwich opting to field a fresher team than the U’s in game two, the visitors began to show their Premier League pedigree and stretch United defensively.
Danny Carr again displayed his attacking prowess with a superb first touch on 48 minutes before darting inside and pulling the trigger into the mid rift of Declan Rudd. Moments later Sam Beasant showed equally impressive skill with a fingertip save from a long range effort by Wesley Hoolahan.
Despite a valiant performance from the U’s their Norfolk rivals saw the game out and ended an entertaining return to the Abbey Stadium.
Cambridge United: Beasant, Omozusi, Coulson, Legge, Trialist, Carr, Morrissey, Berry, J.Hughes (30 mins, Chiedozie), Slew (37 mins, Horne), Simpson
Norwich City: Rudd, E Bennett, Martin, Miquel, Toffolo, Tettey, O'Neil, Hoolahan, Jacob Murphy, van Wolfswinkel, Grabban
Full Time Cambridge United 0 Norwich City 2