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Viral Nets Twice as U23s Draw With Watford
Monday, 10th Feb 2020 15:32

Allan Viral scored twice as Town’s U23s drew 2-2 with league leaders Watford and a wet and windy Playford Road.

In a strong cross-field wind, Ben Morris struck the game’s first shot in the seventh minute but Watford keeper and skipper Adam Parkes saved confidently down to his right.

Watford, who included England international Tom Cleverley in their midfield, his first game since October due to an achilles injury, should have gone in front in the 16th minute when Callum Whelan profited from a Corrie Ndaba error and broke into the area one-on-one with Adam Przybek. The 21-year-old looked certain to beat the advancing Przybek but slipped the ball the wrong side of the post.

Two minutes later, the Blues took the lead. Liam Gibbs crossed from the left to the far post from where Frenchman Allan Viral, a scorer and creator for the U18s in their weekend 5-3 victory over Bristol City, took a touch before hitting a low shot across the keeper and into the corner of the net.

Viral, making an impressive start to his U23s league debut, had a chance to make it 2-0 in the 21st minute when he was sent away towards goal by a ball over the top. The right midfielder twisted and turned his way past a defender on the edge of the box and ought to have shot but instead played it across the area towards Morris but behind the striker, who was wearing the captain’s armband.

Town continued to have the better of the chances, Brett McGavin hitting a 24th-minute shot from the edge of the box which deflected wide. Five minutes later, Cleverley smashed a freekick from 25 yards into the wall.

On 37 Ndaba made a saving challenge after initially failing to deal with a freekick sent into the box from the right with the strong wind playing a factor.

Watford were starting to make more of an impact and in the 43rd minute Barry Cotter did well to get back to take the ball away from Ignacio Pussetto when he was through on goal.

Moments later, Levi Andoh hit a volley into the ground and wide from a corner on the right.

In the final scheduled minute of the half, the Hornets levelled. After a break down the middle, the ball was played to João Pedro in space on the left of the box and the Brazilian forward hit a low shot across Przybek and into the corner of the net.

Cleverley made way at the break with Sam Dalby taking over and the Blues began the period strongly, Morris hitting a low shot which Parkes tipped wide. From the corner, Andoh headed wide at the far post. On 50, Oppong shot over from distance.

Four minutes later, as rain began to fall heavily, the Blues restored their lead. Morris laid the ball off to Viral, who had moved to the left side, and the Frenchman curled in his second of the game from the edge of the area.

However, three minutes later, the Hornets equalised again, half-time sub Dalby was played in on the right and after Przybek slipped smashed a shot into the net off the underside of the bar.

Morris shot over on 64 and Town were the better side in the remainder of the half as the rain lashed down, but without creating any further clear-cut opportunities. At the other end Watford saw shots deflected over and wide but without Przybek being severely tested. Late on, right-back Barry Cotter limped off with a knock.

Overall, the young Blues, now without a defeat in five games, just about edged it against the league leaders in difficult conditions.

Viral will make the headlines for his goals and the 18-year-old second-year scholar will be pleased with his afternoon’s display, as will the team as a whole.

Among those watching were manager Paul Lambert, assistant Stuart Taylor, new academy academy coach Terry Butcher and Norwich legend Grant Holt.

U23s: Przybek, Cotter (Curtis 84), O’Reilly, McGavin, Andoh, Ndaba, Viral (Z Brown 71), Hughes, Oppong (Healey 65), Morris (c), Gibbs. Unused: Alley, Fehrenbach.

Watford: Parkes (c), Barrett, Perkins, Spencer-Adams, Green, Cleverley (Dalby 46), Whelan (Wise 76), Dele-Bashiru, Pussetto, Cassidy, João Pedro (Bennetts 67). Unused: Balogun, Roberts.

Photo: TWTD

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gixxeral added 15:42 - Feb 10
Grant fxxxxxg Holt? What’s that cxxt doing on our soil?

StuartBrett8 added 15:42 - Feb 10
Any video of Viral? A Viral video :)

Upthetown1970 added 15:50 - Feb 10
Great result unlucky not to grab all 3pts. McGavin, Gibbs and Morris should all be stepped up to the first team. These 3 a slot better than are currently playing in my humble opinion.

BlueArrow added 15:54 - Feb 10
Holt was there to roll the pitch at half time @gixxeral

algarvefan added 16:02 - Feb 10
BlueArrow that's a cracker lol

algarvefan added 16:04 - Feb 10
I'd like to see Morris and Sears either side of Norwood in a front 3 for Town, we need to create more in the first team, I have always rated Morris.

Pilgrimblue added 16:37 - Feb 10
need to go Viral on Saturday + Morris, strike while the irons hot!

ShropshireBluenago09 added 16:41 - Feb 10
Morris looked quality before his injury, get him back in

Linkboy13 added 17:00 - Feb 10
Watched the game today if players are to get in the first team they have to earn it not get picked on reputation Morris has got ability but is not ready for first team yet . Downes and Wolfenden went out on loan and improved their game Morris needs to do the same and do a lot better than he did at Forrest Green.

Upthetown1970 added 17:38 - Feb 10
Linkboy13 do you think the current first team players have earned their places?. Enough said

Pilgrimblue added 21:39 - Feb 10
Goal scoring is a knack so Morris is entitled to take his chance. Too many in 1st team would pass insr ad of having a go. Keane fro example has taken up good positions only to lay the ball off or
lose possession.
We need players that will make defenders worried and at the moment none of our players are prepared to have a go. We're too slow and tehn think twice before trying to shoot by which time the chance is lost.
Possession is fine but its what we do in final third that matters.

Linkboy13 added 22:15 - Feb 11
Pilgrim blue if goal scoring is a knack why isn't Morris scoring any strange comment.

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