Norwich City U23 1-1 Sunderland U23
Benji Kimpioka struck to ensure the points were split at Colney Training Centre between Sunderland and Norwich City this evening.
The Swedish youth international notched his second league goal of the season, with 12 minutes left, to cancel out Anthony Spyrou’s goal on the stroke of half-time.
Elliott Dickman called for his players to be more clinical in his pre-match notes, admitting his side’s last two performances have warranted much more than the zero points return in the Premier League 2.
With just one place separating these two sides in the league standings, both teams knew how vital three points would be as they hoped to round off 2018 with something to smile about.
Kenny McLean quickly gave Sunderland something to think about, teasing a ball in from the left which was just out of reach for Spyrou before sending another testing cross, this time from the right, only for it to be cleared by Brandon Taylor midway through the opening 45.
Despite the Canaries early pressure, Anthony Patterson remained untroubled as Sunderland began to carve out a number of openings.
Firstly, Jack Diamond saw his effort from the edge of the penalty area held by the Norwich stopper before the 34-year-old stopper denied Jacob Young’s header from a free-kick moments later.
And that save proved to be an important one as Spyrou smashed home from six-yards as out Sunderland failed to clear their lines.
But the Black Cats refused to lie down, and Bali Mumba almost drew level six minutes after the restart when he managed to get his shot away from the edge of the area only be denied by McGovern.
The Canaries settled and should’ve doubled their lead minutes after the hour mark but Spyrou was unable to turned home McLean’s cross from the right as he put the ball wide.
Sunderland, though, stuck to their guns and got their just reward with 12 minutes left on the clock when Swedish youth international Kimpioka placed the ball past McGovern to set-up a grandstand finish.
Norwich City then thought they had won it at the death, but the referee chalked the goal off as the game finished level.
Norwich City U23: McGovern, Odusina, Thomas, Jones, Hanley, Payne, Scully, Milovanovic (Johnson, 66), Spyrou, McLean (Kamal, 74), Coley (Idah, 66)
Subs: Lomas, Phillips
Sunderland U23: Patterson, Taylor, Bainbridge, Storey (Hunter, 73), Young, Bale, Diamond, Connolly, Kimpioka, Hackett (Connelly, 65), Mumba (Neil, 81)
Subs: Johnstone, Leonard