U16 Match Report - Hollabrunn Tournament 2007 01/04.08.07

UNDER-16's FINALISTS IN AUSTRIA

The Norwich City Academy Under-16 squad put in a great performance in finishing runners-up at the 2007 Megacard Cup in Austria. The Under-16 squad was joined by young scholars Declan Rudd and Korey Smith in a tournament for players born on or after 1.1.91. Also in the squad two were Danish players, with Academy Manager Ricky Martin continuing to make excellent use of his foreign contacts.

The competition ran over four days in and around the town of Hollabrunn, 50 kilometres north of Vienna. Three group games were played in different venues in local towns for the first three days before "finals day" was staged in Hollabrunn itself. The City squad, under the management Martin for this trip, stayed at the FSA Soccer Academy in Hollabrunn, which is linked to Austria Vienna. Photos from training.
Training
Photos from Training
City's first game was against Spartak Moscow. Your reporter missed this opener, which by all accounts was an exciting match, though for Norwich for all the wrong reasons. City were 2-0 up at half-time but allowed Spartak to get themselves back into the game mid-way through the second-half and just a minute from time the Russians hit the equaliser in a 2-2 draw.

The second match saw City face German Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund in the small town of Grossweikersdorf. It looked like being a difficult task on a scorching hot afternoon. Norwich had the better of the first-half and some excellent finishing saw the Canaries take advantage of German defensive mistakes to go into the break 2-0 up. The second-half saw Dortmund take hold of the game as they tried to fight their way back. The Norwich defence and young keeper stood firm despite the heat. Knocks from the first game meant Norwich only had one fit substitute and Dortmund did eventually score a few minutes before full-time but Norwich held on for a famous victory. Photos from the match v Dortmund.
Photos from the match v Dortmund
Photos from the match v Dortmund
Other results meant that City's final group game against Austria Vienna was a "winner takes all" affair. Victory for either side would see them into the final while a draw would mean Dortmund finishing top of a tight group. The setting for this decider was the beautiful ground of Leobendorf, surrounded by trees and overlooked by a castle.

In all honesty the match was a disappointment with both sides (like the two Norwich fans) clearly suffering from nerves with so much at stake. Norwich certainly didn't play well in the first half, resorting far too often to the long ball. The second half was an improvement as both sides went in search of the winner. Austria had perhaps more of the game, but it was City who grabbed the decisive goal after the Vienna keeper failed to hold a long-range shot and spilt the ball to the advancing Norwich forward. Austria sent in free-kicks from all angles but again City held on to qualify for the final against Hertha Berlin. Photos from the match v Austria Vienna.
Photos from the match v Austria
Photos from the match v Austria
It was again a warm and sunny afternoon as Norwich ran out for the final in Hollabrunn against Hertha Berlin in front of 300 spectators.

Berlin dominated the first half, controlling midfield and showing why their Academy has produced so many Bundesliga players over the last few years. Despite Hertha's control, City were not being outclassed and England keeper Declan Rudd was rarely troubled in the City goal. Midway through the half however Berlin were awarded a penalty for handball which they duly converted. Although Norwich accepted the decision they clearly felt the award had been harsh.

The second-half was a different story. Norwich got forward well from midfield and worked several chances with Ricky Martin afterwards "not knowing how we didn't score". The crowd were clearly behind City and their spirited fight for a goal but it wasn't to be as Berlin used all the tricks of the trade to hold on to their slender lead and claim the final 1-0. Photos from the final v Hertha Berlin.
Photos from the final v Berlin
Photos from the final v Berlin
Despite their disappointment at the result of the final, the players can be proud of their performances in a even and high quality tournament.
Squad
The City Squad: Declan Rudd, Elliott Hunter, Sam Habergham, Korey Smith, Frank Semeu, Blaine Hudson, Tom Adeyemi, Dario Dumic, Jack Bailey, Josh Dawkin, Tom Crocker, David Stephens, Jed Steer, Louis Cutajar, Ben Latimer.

Staff: Ricky Martin (Academy Manager and Coach), Paul "3 scoops" Taylor (Assistant), Chris Gilbert (Physio)
Date Opponents Result Scorers
1st Aug Spartak Moscow
2-2
Jack Bailey, Korey Smith
2nd Aug Borussia Dortmund
2-1
Josh Dawkin 2
3rd Aug Austria Vienna
1-0
Josh Dawkin
4th Aug Hertha Berlin (Final)
0-1
 


Report and Photos from Paul Standley.