Norwich manager Dean Smith was delighted with the performance of his much-changed side as they beat Birmingham 4-2 on penalties after a 2-2 draw at Carrow Road to make progress in the Carabao Cup.
With only Jacob Sorensen playing from the side which drew 1-1 with Wigan in the Championship on Saturday, the Canaries shrugged off the shock of losing a two-goal lead to book their place in the second round, with Josh Sargent slotting home the decisive spot-kick.
Smith said: “Obviously we were disappointed to let them back into the game but I was really pleased with the way we played, especially in the first half.
“We knocked it around really well and fully deserved to be 2-0 up, even though we had to wait for the goals.
“We gave them a sniff in the second half with a poor ball in midfield and then compounding the error by not stopping (Jonathan) Leko’s run and then there was an unfortunate deflection for the equaliser but we kept on trying to win the game right up to the final whistle and I think we deserved to go through.”
Norwich scored twice in first-half stoppage time to seemingly take control, with Danel Sinani opening his account for the club with a close-range header and Sorensen curling one in from 25 yards.
Birmingham produced a spirited response after the break and got one back after 53 minutes when Leko burst through from deep and fired low into the bottom corner.
They were back on level terms 13 minutes from time when Jordan Graham’s corner deflected in off young defender Jonathan Tomkinson, who was making his debut – but Norwich had the final say in the shoot-out as Sam Cosgrove and Leko failed to convert.
Birmingham boss John Eustace felt his young side had given a good account of themselves.
He said: “I am very proud of that performance, there were so many positives to take from the game even though we ended up losing it in the end.
“There were 16, 17 and 18-year-olds making their debut for the club and with some experienced players around them helping them along, they all put in really good performances.
“For us to be successful this season we need all the squad contributing, we need to be hard to play against and have fantastic team spirit.
“I think you saw all of that against a side with a great squad of players who I am sure will be going up again this season.”
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