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Glimpse of future to lift City faithful

PUBLISHED: 10:43 27 July 2009 | UPDATED: 11:04 06 July 2010

Grant Holt was among a host of Canary home debutants. Picture: James Bass

Grant Holt was among a host of Canary home debutants. Picture: James Bass

City's pre-season winning run has finally come to an end - but Bryan Gunn won't be losing any sleep over his senior side's failure to win the men against boys battle at Carrow Road on Saturday.

City's pre-season winning run has finally come to an end - but Bryan Gunn won't be losing any sleep over his senior side's failure to win the men against boys battle at Carrow Road on Saturday.

It was City's first appearance of the summer in front of their own fans, who were given glimpses of the future, after the horrors of the recent past.

Gunn managed to give Simon Whaley, Grant Holt and Ben Alnwick their first run-outs in the yellow and green, while there were home debuts for a handful of others.

But it was teenage Academy product Tom Adeyemi who stole the show with a fine all-round performance and a first-half goal which looked like being the winner until Ritchie De Laet popped up with an equaliser five minutes from time.

City had bossed the first half, but spent much of the second half trying to get the ball off a United side which, had they been able to field any recognised strikers, might have inflicted some serious damage.

A draw was arguably a fair result, although good opportunities went begging.

Jamie Cureton had three efforts within the opening few minutes, the first after a knock-down by Chris Martin, the second after a cross by Paul McVeigh, the third when he glanced a header wide after a cross by Jon Otsemobor.

It was Wes Hoolahan who was running the show, teasing the ball in from the left, then drifting in and finding the holes for Martin and Cureton.

Martin saw an effort pushed wide for a corner and then saw another shot blocked by the impressive Tom Cleverly before Adeyemi struck on 21 minutes, taking possession after Cureton was crowded out in the area and lining up a 20-yarder which flew into the back of the net.

The 17-year-old flashed another wide before United fluffed a chance to draw level when Sam Hewson's penalty was comfortably saved by Alnwick after skipper Gary Doherty had tripped Cameron Stewart.

Tudur Jones could have made it 2-0 on 43 minutes, but his close-range header was blocked by the legs of keeper Tom Heaton.

Come the second half, come the inevitable changes - Simon Whaley, Matt Gill, Adam Drury and Michael Nelson on for McVeigh, Hoolahan, Owain Tudur Jones and Gary Doherty.

Without Hoolahan the City midfield lacked that little bit of unpredictability and looks more workmanlike - which style suits League One best we wait to discover.

Adeyemi blasted a left-foot shot wide, an off-balance Cureton forced Heaton down to his left, but should have done better when the teenager slipped him in on 64 minutes, only to take too long over his shot and lose possession.

United were getting more and more possession, but defenders were forced to play up front in the absence of genuine strikers, and it showed.

On two occasions they broke through, only for Otsemobor to deny them, first with his pace and then with a superb block.

The ease with which Stewart and Joe Dudgeon found gaps in the centre of defence to run into is a concern - hopefully there are still cobwebs being brushed away.

Holt replaced Cureton with 10 minutes to go - during which time he won the headers that he was brought in to win - while Adeyemi was replaced by Michael Spillane.

But the hard work which had kept United camped outside of the City area was ruined when De Laet beat a flimsy offside trap and slipped the ball past Alnwick.

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