Pierre Lees-Melou’s stunner gave Norwich City the lead against Gillingham.
– Photo credit: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images Ltd

Norwich City supporters returned to Carrow Road for the first time since December as the Canaries resumed pre-season preparations with a win over Gillingham.

Given that football was set against a backdrop of empty seats and closed turnstiles, there was plenty to enjoy as the fans flocked back to NR1.

This was the biggest event Carrow Road had hosted since February 2020, with a full one for the new season’s opening game against Liverpool House was expected. New signing Pierre Lees-Melou caused a cheer after nine minutes when his deflected shot went into the net.

A brace from Adam Idah, Lukas Rupp’s shot from close range and a header from Jacob Sorensen made this a pleasant return home for the City fans present.

In their penultimate warm-up game before the big Premier League against Liverpool, many City players were missing.

Adam Idah scored a brace as Norwich City resumed Premier League preparations with a 4-0 win over Gillingham.
– Photo credit: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images Ltd

Eight first-team players were missing, including Teemu Pukki, Milot Rashica, Przemek Placheta, Jordan Hugill, Onel Hernandez, Bali Mumba and Grant Hanley.

City’s last two friendlies, last week against Coventry and Sheffield United were postponed after a “small number” of positive Covid-19 cases in their first team group.

After a bulging On the Ball, City! was presented by those present, the focus was on the actual football. The Canaries almost gave their supporters an early reason to cheer after Idah knocked Dimitris Giannoulis’s cross over the bar.

It only took nine minutes for the famous roar of Carrow Road to be heard, and it was one of the summer additions that put Daniel Farke’s men in the lead.

When Pierre Lees-Melou shifted the ball to his left foot after Todd Cantwell was tackled, few expected the Frenchman to unleash such a toxic hit. Jamie Cumming was left with a sentry when the ball flew into the top corner of the net.

Norwich was firmly in the superiority and took their division advantage as they dominated possession.

Andrew Omobamidele came on 23 Minutes close with a header. A deep free kick from Kieran Dowell failed the youngster to hit the target.

Billy Gilmour was close shortly after, the loaned Chelsea midfielder stormed into the box with a direct run, but his shot hit the far post by Cumming over.

Pierre Lees-Melou and Billy Gilmour made their first appearance in Norwich City in their new home.
– Photo credit: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images Ltd

Since City was in full control, it felt like an attack-versus-defense exercise at certain points during this game. Max Aarons will have been frustrated not having doubled his lead after saving his shot from Cummings before Gilmour shot a shot just over the bar in the same attack.

Gillingham saw an effort cannon off the rack after the Trialist Mustapha Carayol had won his team a corner. The former Ipswich winger set the standard on the head of Vadaine Oliver, whose heavy header shook the wood.

After that brief push, City regained control and had their second day of the evening through Idah. The 20-year-old owed Cantwell a lot after acrobatically picking him on the far post. Idah hit the net on the attacking midfielder’s cross.

The second half became more of a standard preseason affair as both coaches began shuffling their packs and giving those on the bench precious minutes before their respective games City’s third goal was staged by a wonderful pass from Gilmour, which was impressive on its first outing on Carrow Road. The Scotsman’s ball hit Giannoulis, who in turn crossed to Lukas Rupp to hit the net at close range.

Idah added fourth with an emphatic finish after long possession from City. The striker received the ball from Dowell before firing a hefty shot into the top corner to make a fun evening for Farke’s men.

Sorensen ended a fine evening in NR1 with a fifth goal. The Dane, who only returned to training this week after his positive coronavirus diagnosis, nodded Cantwell’s free kick into the net.

Over 10,000 Norwich City fans returned to the Carrow ROad for the largest event at the stadium since February 2019.
– Photo credit: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images Ltd

– Norwich City (4-2-31): Krul (Gunn, 45); Aarons, Omobamidele, Gibson (C) (Zimmermann, 62), Giannoulis; Rupp (Sorensen, 62), Gilmour (Adshead, 86), Lees-Melou (McLean, 62); Cantwell, Dowell (Tomkinson, 81); Ida.

– Gillingham (4-2-31): Cumming (Chapman, 78); Tutonda, O’Keefe (C), Ehmer, Tucker, Lee (Lloyd, 45), Carayol (Hall, 62), Crowley, Bennett (Linlott, 62), Oliver (Akinde, 45 (Sithole, 71), Phillips. Subs not used: Maghoma

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Ref: https://www.edp24.co.uk