U21s lose out at Norwich

by Stuart Vose

Development squad suffer only fourth league defeat of campaign.

Norwich City U21 3 Sunderland U21 0

Sunderland's development squad suffered just their fourth league defeat of the season following two early goals at Norwich.

Jamar Loza opened the scoring inside the first minute and Josh Murphy followed up with a goal on the quarter-hour.

Jordan Laidler saw a penalty saved in the closing stages of the first period before Murphy secured victory for the hosts when he stuck again in second-half stoppage time.

Sunderland responded well to going two goals behind early on and carved out several chances without being able to beat Carlo Nash in the Norwich goal prior to Murphy's late third goal.

Indeed, coach Kevin Ball felt the scoreline didn't reflect the game overall and, while disappointed with the goals, praised the way his side kept their nerve after their early setbacks.

Norwich were immediately on the front foot at Carrow Road and went ahead after only 14 seconds when Loza burst through the middle to beat Joel Dixon in the Sunderland goal.

Murphy made it 2-0 on 15 minutes when he beat the offside trap to fire home before Ray Grant's shot struck the post.

But Sunderland bounced back and were handed a chance to reduce the arrears just before half time when Cameron Norman brought down Carl Lawson, but experienced keeper Nash kept out Laidler's spot-kick.

Laidler also came close in the early stages of the second half when he raced through one-on-one with Nash, but he couldn't pull his shot back onto the target.

The same player then tested Nash with a free-kick as Sunderland searched for a way back into the game.

But the breakthrough the visitors needed just wouldn't come, with Dixon called into action with an excellent save to keep out Loza's goalbound header at the other end before Murphy fired home his second goal of the game in stoppage time.

Sunderland: Dixon, Cartwright, Mitchell, Oliver, Harrison, McNamee, Holland (Agnew, 70), Laing, Laidler, Honeyman, Lawson (Gooch, 70).

Subs not used: Ferguson, Smith, Burke.