Luton Town 1-5 Norwich City: Canaries bounce back to smash Hatters
Photo: Getty Images

Norwich City's promising pre-season campaign kicked into another gear with a 5-1 victory away at Luton Town, as summer signing Josip Drmic was the star of the show with a first-half hat-trick.

Swiss international Drmic was joined on the scoresheet by Marco Stiepermann and fellow new boy Patrick Roberts, who made the move to East Anglia at the end of May following the Canaries title-winning campaign.

Great start

Drmic's goals came in the space of half an hour, the first doubling Norwich's lead to 2-0 in the first 10 minutes after Stiepermann's opener. He put the Canaries 3-0 up after 14 minutes then, once Hatters' left-back Daniel Potts had marginally reduced the deficit, Drmic secured the match-ball with Norwich's fourth goal.

Roberts, the former Manchester City and Fulham winger, showed his credentials to make a mark back in the Premier League with his new club by scoring the fifth goal just over 10 minutes after the restart. 

Bouncing back

On Wednesday, Norwich suffered a disappointing reverse at home to another Championship club, Brentford, going down 3-1 despite Emi Buendia giving them an early advantage at the Colney Training Centre.

The lead was short-lived, however, as Emiliano Marcondes levelled the scores, then Ollie Watkins and Ethan Pinnock turned the game on its head in the second half, and Norwich could not recover the 3-1 deficit.

It was a different story at Kenilworth Road, with a morale boosting victory giving even more optimism that Norwich will enter the Premier League season in good shape. 

Luton might have been a division below the Canaries in League One in the last campaign, but they were in great form throughout the season, beating their previous club record of 19 matches unbeaten in the league by going undefeated for 28 games, a run ended in April 2019 by Charlton Athletic.

Like Norwich, they stormed to their division's title, their second promotion in a row, making pre-season a crucial preparation for the challenges facing them in the Championship their first season at that level since they were relegated in 2007.

Off the mark

The Canaries were determined, however, to put the Brentford setback behind them and get their pre-season back on track. They started in great fashion with Stiepermann kicking the scoring off in the fourth minute.

Roberts was on corner duty and his ball into the box landed on the forehead of Kenny McLean, the Scotsman off-target with his initial header but Stiepermann was alert to the opportunity and steered the ball in from close range.

Against Brentford, the Canaries lead only lasted two minutes but this time they doubled their advantage in the same time-frame.

Talented youngster Max Aarons, who began his career in Luton Town's youth set-up in 2009 as a 9-year old before switching to Norwich five years ago and his recently signed a new deal, played a crucial part in the goal, exchanging passes with Todd Cantwell and threading the ball to Drmic to apply the finishing touch.

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Seizing the initiative

Drmic got his second after 14 minutes, another close-range strike after intricate build-up play involving Roberts and Cantwell. Welsh forward Roberts' lofted through-ball to Cantwell cut the Luton defence into shreds but his effort was saved by goalkeeper Simon Sluga

But Drmic showed his eye for goal again as he put the rebound past Sluga into the net and gave Norwich a 3-0 lead. 

Luton got a consolation on the board after 34 minutes, indirectly from a free-kick. Potts was in the right place to meet Ryan Tunicliffe's low ball into the Norwich penalty area, with the ball going past Elliott Lee and landing at Potts' feet who finished with aplomb.

Finishing the job

This was Norwich's (and Drmic's) day, however, and Drmic got his hat-trick just two minutes later. Another inch-perfect corner from former Celtic player Roberts being met by the Swiss international and nestling in the Luton goal. The ball ended up right in the corner of the net and beyond the reach of Sluga. 

The frantic first-half gave way to a more measured second period, but Norwich were not finished with the scoring. Roberts, after playing a big part in three of Norwich's goals including the assist for Drmic's hat-trick effort, got his own name up in lights in titanic fashion.

From 25 yards out, Roberts picked up the ball and unleashed an unstoppable effort beyond the flailing Sluga. Tunicliffe had an attempt for Luton from a similar distance which had just missed the target, but there was no mistake from Roberts who applied the icing on the Canaries cake. 

Next up

The 5-1 victory will give a fresh burst of confidence to manager Daniel Farke and the Norwich team with the season fast approaching. The Canaries have two home friendlies left as part of their pre-season itinerary, with Italian side Atalanta visiting Carrow Road on 30th July before a final tussle with Toulouse four days later. Their Premier League adventure begins in two weeks time against Liverpool.

For Graeme Jones and Luton, they will have to put this result - their only defeat in pre-season - behind them with the Championship season beginning next weekend at home to Middlesbrough