Norwich City 3-1 Stevenage: Battling Boro fall to Championship quality
PUBLISHED: 21:48 14 August 2018 | UPDATED: 16:57 15 August 2018
©Martyn Haworth MH Sports Photo +447463250714
Battling Stevenage went down 3-1 to Championship side Norwich City at Carrow Road in the first round of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday evening.
A first half goal from Marco Stiepermann, more notable for an appalling defensive lapse by the Boro backlilne following from a Moritz Leitner corner, was equalled by an excellent James Ball free-kick moments before the break.
However, two late goals, the first from captain Christoph Zimmermann, who knew little about the goal after he turned his back on the ball, before it ricocheted off his heel, and into the net.
Finland international Teemu Pukki then sealed the match on 88 minutes with a low strike.
It was a good effort from Stevenage, after boss Dino Maamria picked a strong side to build momentum ahead of Morecambe at the Lamex on Saturday after last week’s impressive 3-1 victory over Harry Kewell’s Crawley Town at Broadfield Stadium.
The Tunisian made three changes, swapping first choice keeper Paul Farman for new signing Seny Timothy Dieng – one of 15 this summer.
Seny, a Zurich-born 23-year-old was signed from QPR earlier this month after impressing in pre-season.
Alex Reid came in for the injured Danny Newton while John Hunt started ahead of veteran Ronnie Henry.
For the Canaries, Jamal Lewis returned to training following a dead leg, but Emi Buendia didn’t feature as his wife is due to give birth.
Farke admitted before the match he would make changes after his side slipped to a disappointing 4-3 home defeat to West Brow on Saturday, as his side faced their fourth match in 12 days, confirming Michael McGovern would start in goal ahead of the experienced former Newcastle keeper Tim Krul.
Marco Stieperman should have put the Canaries ahead on 18 minutes after the ball was flighted into the box from Moritz Leitner, but the 27-year-old former Bochum attacking midfielder’s looping header flew over Deny’s bar, when well placed.
Norwich went 1-0 up on 27 minutes after the Stevenage defence switched off from a short corner by former Stuttgart man Moritz Leitner, who crossed for an unmarked Marco Stiepermann to head home.
It was simply not good enough from Boro as they showed a lack of concentration at the corner, failing to pick up the former Bochum man. It was as poor as it was unacceptable.
However, Boro showed their quality when James Ball fired home a right-footed free-kick from outside the area after being fouled yards outside the box moments before the break, as they showed the quality they’re capable of.
The strike made it two for the season for creative midfielder Ball, who hit 13 for Stockport last term.
The second half was full of endeavour from a battling Boro who recovered their composure defensively while looking to break forward.
As the match wore on the Championship side’s superior fitness levels started to show but Dieng did well to block Dennis Srbeny with minutes remaining.
However, after Farke brought on Onel Hernandez – who created all three of the home side’s goals against the Baggies on Saturday – and Finish international Teemu Pukki, the home side upped the tempo.
The floodgates were finally broken on 82 minutes, as Norwich went 2-1 ahead, but the goal was cruel on Boro.
Substitute Kenny McLean flighted a corner into the box as Canaries captain Zimmermann appeared to turn his back on the ball before it came off his heel and trickled into the net on 82 minutes.
Pukki made the game safe at 3-1 with moments remaining in front of a noisy crowd of 11,687.
While the result may have been harsh on Boro there were certainly plenty of positives to take away for Maamria and his men – even if the first thing they need to do at Bragbury End is work on defending corners.