REPORT: Norwich U21s 4-1 MK Dons
MK Dons lost their final Checkatrade Trophy group match on Tuesday night, going down 4-1 to Norwich U21s at Carrow Road.
While both sides had already booked their spot in next round, the result only meant a home draw for the winner. Carlton Morris, and a Nelson Oliveira brace fired the home side into a 3-0 lead in front of a sparse Carrow Road crowd.
Teenager Finn Tapp, who celebrates his 17th birthday on Wednesday, scored his first goal for the club within minutes of coming on as a second half substitute to pull one back for the visitors before a Ebou Adams cracker rounded things out three minutes from the end.
With the match a dead rubber, Richie Barker was able to name a largely second string squad against Norwich U21s in front the handful of fans at Carrow Road. But of the Dons squad, 15 came through the academy - one of the few positives to take from the outing. For Norwich, the familiar face of reigning Dons Player of the Year Josh Murphy.
Having scored 11 in their opening two matches to qualify for the next round, Norwich needed just 11 minutes to get their 12th of the campaign. Typically poor from a corner, Dons were caught on the counter attack as Norwich broke three on two. With Carlton Morris open, he was afforded time to take a touch before lashing past Lee Nicholls to open the scoring.
The match-up between Murphy and GB Williams was intriguing if nothing else was, but the Championship winger was proving too much to handle, getting the better of the Dons skipper more often than not.
As the match settled, so did Dons and they found their stride. Twice they were in behind the Norwich defence too, but Kabongo Tshimanga saw his shot blocked, while Daniel Powell missed an absolute sitter as the goal opened up in front of him, but he picked out the empty stand behind the goal.
The home side would double their advantage from the penalty spot in the 37th minute. Jack Hendry was adjudged to have pushed Carlton Morris to the ground as the ball was played into the mixer, prompting referee Andy Haines to point to the spot. Nelson Oliveira made no mistakes from the spot, lashing it past Nicholls.
There was more urgency from the visitors early in the second half and they should really have been given a lifeline when Powell once again found himself through on goal, but with the goal gaping, fired his strike straight at keeper Ben Killip.
Powell could have had a hat-trick on the night with the number of chances he missed, but few came better than when GC Williams pulled the ball back for him, only for the winger to completely miss the ball, though Andrew Osei-Bonsu sent the loose ball over the top.
Norwich put hte game to bed in the 64th minute though with their third, capitalising on some slack Dons defending. Sergi Canos easily skipped past Ben Tilney and Osei-Bonsu, unleashing a strike which Nicholls could only parry to Oliveira who tapped home his second and Norwich's third.
With the game effectively over, Barker was able to take off both centre backs Paul Downing and Jack Hendry for Oran Jackson and Finn Tapp - making full use of the bench made up entirely of academy players.
And it was the latter substitute who pulled one back for Dons, with 16-year-old Tapp poking home from close range after GB Williams and Jackson first saw chances saved by Killip.
An Ebou Adams rocket with three minutes to go though saw Norwich restore their three-goal advantage, but with both sides already through to the next round, it mattered little.
Referee: Andy HainesAttendance: 1,042
Norwich City: Killip, Whittaker (Efete 46), Oliveira, Canos, Turner, Morris (Cantwell 79), Murphy, Godfrey, Grant, Ramsay, AdamsSubs not used: Hallettt, Crowe, Middleton, Jaiyesmi, McIntosh
MK Dons: Nicholls, Tilney, Downing (Jackson 75), Hendry (Tapp 75), GB Williams (Brittain 86), Osei-Bonsu, Rasulo, Thomas-Asante, Powell, GC Williams, TshimangaSubs not used: Burns, Furlong, Nombe, Logan