Lowestoft Town 1-5 Norwich City
Lowestoft fought bravely against local rivals Norwich, but eventually couldn't prevent the Canaries from striking five in Micky Chapman's testimonial game.
The occasion was slightly marred in the closing stages of the match as Travis Cole was stretchered off with what looked to be a serious injury; the man that had scrambled home the Trawlerboys' opener after 21 minutes. It was later found that Cole had suffered a mild concussion and had been taken to hospital and released later that evening.
Lowestoft, of course, had to settle for a minority share of possession throughout the game and, in the first half particularly, had Ben Dudzinski to thank for a number of important saves. Cameron Jerome found his way through on goal after only three minutes as James Maddison split the defence open with a cutting pass, but Dudzinski made himself large to prevent a breakthrough. The summer signing from Hartlepool was called upon once again ten minutes in; preventing Josh Murphy with a sprawling stop. Dudzinski was finally beaten as Marley Watkins curling effort looked destined to produce the opener, only for the left post to come to Lowestoft's rescue.
However, following a defensive lapse by Norwich from a free kick, defender Travis Cole found himself in the right place at the right time to bundle in the opening goal for Town; celebrating every bit like the former Ipswich player he is. Cole and McAuley at the back certainly put in a good account for themselves against higher opposition, but the latter's handball to block a Jamal Lewis attempt would result in Cameron Jerome sending Dudzinski the wrong way from the penalty spot, and Norwich levelling up on the scoresheet. The Lowestoft keeper did not have his demeanour minimised in any way though and continued to pull championship calibre stops out of the bag; saving again from Marley Watkins inside the area.
The home side gave it their all in an attempt to hold out until the half time whistle, but Norwich's class shone through towards the end of the half. Watkins slipped Naismith through, who knocked the ball past the onrushing Dudzinski before the summer signing from Barnsley picked up a deserved goal himself; rounding the goalkeeper and finishing into an empty net to propel the visitors into a 3-1 lead at the break.
That man Cole was back at it again in the second half and almost doubled his tally on the day, sliding just wide of the post after being found unmarked in the penalty area from a free kick. Alex Pritchard had also dragged a shot wide for Norwich before Carlton Morris found Nelson Oliveira free in the penalty area and the Portuguese striker applied the simple finish. Once again, Norwich backed up a goal with another one straight away and in perhaps the best of the day, Mario Vrancic struck a powerful driven shot into the helpless Dudzinski's bottom corner.
Lowestoft were able to hold Norwich for the final half an hour as both sides introduced new players, including Elvjis Putnins in net for the home side. Putnins would be called into action immediately but a weak shot in the penalty area was held comfortably. Yanic Wildschut's drive was quite the opposite, however the former QPR man was equal to it and managed to keep a clean sheet for the period in which he took to the field, as Norwich secured the 5-1 victory.
Overall, Micky Chapman received a great sendoff, all be it one delayed a year, as he witnessed his two footballing loves do battle at the ground in which he spent thirty-three years at. Both sides produced spirited performances within their capabilities and made for an exciting occasion at the Amber Dew Events Stadium.