Norwich City under 18’s were crowned 2012 BC Worldwide Challenge winners after defeating hosts Southend United 2-1 in the final.
Goals from Carlton Morris and Cameron Norman saw them come from behind to win seal the win after Seedy Njie had put Southend in front in the eleventh minute.
“We may have lost today’s game, but I thought we played a lot better than we did in beating Colchester United yesterday,” Head of Youth Ricky Duncan told the official website.
“We really put them under pressure in the second half and we came so close to equalising, so I’m very happy with the squad this afternoon.”
After a bright start United took the lead thanks to a good finish from Njie. Captain Jack Edwards picked out Njie with a ball down the channel and the strong forward managed to hold off the attentions of his marker before smashing the ball into the top right hand corner.
Norwich responded Josh Murphy’s corner picked out Cameron McGeehan whose downward header struck the woodwork after bouncing up off the turf.
Eventually, City’s pressure told as they found a way past Ted Smith in the Southend goal in the 31st minute. Carlton Morris found himself clear of the Blues defence and slid his shot underneath Smith.
Five minutes later and the Canaries were in front as Southend failed to clear their lines and allowed Morris to loop a cross up for Cameron Norman to angle his header inside the base of the left-hand post.
The first half ended with Njie glancing a Pinnock corner wide, and that was a sign of things to come after the break as Duncan’s side set up camp in their visitors’ half.
Substitute Michael Ademuliyi was first to threaten within two minutes of the restart, as he attempted to turn in Pinnock’s free-kick.
Norwich goalkeeper Arie Hammann had to be alert in the 52nd minute to push the ball over from underneath his own crossbar after a defender had nodded a Jason Williams corner goalwards, and ten minutes later he was fully extended in stopping Williams’ snapshot from creeping in.
With fifteen minutes remaining Payne hit the Norwich post with a free-kick on the edge of the area before Payne failed to convert Agyakwa’s cross eight minutes later in the Blues final chance of the second half.
And even though he lost his trophy to Premier League side, Duncan was happy with his sides efforts.
“Despite the result, I’m pleased,” he said. “We’ve played two matches in two days in hot conditions, and there’s no disgrace in losing to this Norwich team.
“We got ourselves into the final, and we worked and improved upon all the things that we did wrong yesterday. We still have areas that we can get better in, and that’s the challenge now before the season starts.”
Southend United: Smith, Jeffery, Hyams (Farrell 41), Edwards (Barlow 56), Tatham (Snook 40+1), Banton, King (Twum 46 [Payne 61]), Bridge (Creary 41), Njie (Williams 41), Payne (Ademuliyi 35 [Agyakwa 73]), Pinnock (Mullings 46).
Subs not used: Ben Crickmay.
Norwich City: Hammann, Romhoum, Barker (Wyatt 59), McGeehan, Ramhoum, McFadden (Lokko 59), Norman (Browne 41), Hall-Johnson (Carroll 53), Morris (Norman 71), King (Hodd 53), Murphy (Hall-Johnson 68).
Subs not used: Joe Gill.