Mohsni grabs striking slot but no goals in Canaries stalemate: Southend United 0 Norwich City 0
28 July 2011 11:26
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In a game of few chances makeshift forward Bilel Moshni probably missed the best Shrimpers efforts to break the deadlock against their Premiership opponents. The home side could be very pleased with their night's work as Premier League new boys Norwich City laboured through a goalless stalemate at Roots Hall. And this was a strong Canaries starting eleven, though by the end it was a completly different side, with full-back Kyle Naughton made his first appearance since signing on a season loan from Spurs, while Wales international and former Millwall man Steve Morison, one of seven summer arrivals, led the visitors' attack. As predicted Blues boss Paul Sturrock, in the absense of new striker Liam Dickinson with an ankle injury, as well as old boys Barry Corr and Blair Sturrock, pushed Bilel Mohsni up front, who had done so well as the partner of Neil Harris in an improved second half performance against Ipswich Town last Friday. So was it to be the unpredictible Frenchman's evening? He had the chances to make it so, but it wasn't to be, and after only five minutes he headed wide a trademark Sean Clohessy cross. What was interesting was that Luggy kept the two wideboy option with both Jemel Johnson and Ryan Hall starting, and the latter, never to be kept out of any game, decided to carry on from what we got used to last season, first volleyed wide from 25 yards out, before delievering an excellent left-wing corner, and with Big Baz absent, it fell to Luke Prosser to head just wide. Prosser jumping ahead of usual left back Peter Gilbert certainly adds height both at the back and at set pieces, if little in attacking options when going forward, but it was to be player-of-the-season Chris Barker, not having the best of pre-seasons in the centre of defense as it happens, who gave City a great chance after a poor back pass, but Shrimpers shot stopper Glenn Morris did well to deny Wes Hoolahan before new skipper Barker cleared. Close to the half-hour Hoolahan turned provider when he set up Morison to strike over the bar from 20 yards. Mohsni again, shooting wide from only eight yards out, followed by a Bomber long range effort Neil Harris well pushed away by Canaries keeper Declan Rudd. The busy Hoolahan again, further out this time, but his shot palmed over the bar by Morris, who followed this with a good save from a free-kick by David Fox from at least 25 yards just before the break. Norwich, beaten 1-0 at Crystal Palace on Tuesday night, made the expected sweeping changes as the hour mark passed, Naughton one of those replaced, but it was the Shrimpers who almost broke the deadlock when that man Mohsni crashed a close-range header off the crossbar, no Bilel, it's certainly not going to be your night! City were coming into as an attacking force a touch more, and Andrew Surman sent a delicate 18 yard chip just inches over the crossbar before the former Southampton midfielder also warmed the hands of Morris with a powerful effort from the edge of the penalty area, then Lappin blazed over after breaking down the left, Southend waited until the 69th minute with Alassane N’Diaye coming on for Jemal Johnson, and giving himself over a quarter of the game to try and show the home support he had learnt from Luggy's words to improve rapidly or the Crystal Palace player on a season long loan could be spending most of it in the reserves! Lee Sawyer, another midfielder who has not quite got into the pre-season yet, replaced new boy Jean-Paul Kalala, but the little action there had been, was now replaced by some very tepid play. So, with five minutes left on the clock, and many taking the chance to leave early, who else but Bilel to shoot wide after good work by Hall, allowing Chris Martin's curling free-kick, to be saved by Morris to finish the game. Overall the Canaries, who had scored some 26 goals in their first three friendlies, lacked a cutting edge in the final third, for Luggy another decent work out for his side, two home draws against the east Anglian rivals is not to be sniffed at. One final friendly, Canvey Island away, next Monday, might see Ferdy! Southend United: Morris, Clohessy, Phillips, Barker, Prosser, Hall (Leonard 89), Grant, Kalala (Sawyer 76), Johnson (N’Diaye 69), Mohsni, Harris Subs not used: Bentley, Gilbert, Coughlan, Asante. Norwich City: Rudd, Naughton (R. Martin), Drury (Tierney), Whitbread (Jackson), Barnett (De Laet), Fox (Crofts), Bennett (Francomb), Johnson (K. Smith), Hoolahan (C. Martin), Morison (Wilbraham), Surman (Lappin). Subs not used: Ruddy, Holt.