Barclays Premier League Under-21s
Norwich City vs. Manchester United
Venue: Carrow Road
Date: Monday, 23 November 2015
Kick-off: 19:00 GMT
Manchester United’s U21s suffered a 2-0 defeat away to Norwich City in the Barclays Premier League.
Second half strikes from first teamer Kyle Lafferty and Jamar Loza secured the victory for the Canaries at Carrow Road.
One plus for United was the inclusion of Nick Powell, making his first appearance since February, having missed the last nine months through injury.
The first half was lively, with Sean Goss whipping in a dangerous cross from the right with his favoured left foot, but Ashley Fletcher’s glancing header was held.
Some neat play between Josh Harrop and the returning Powell led to the latter scuffing a shot wide, before Fletcher blocked an attempt from Reece Hall-Johnson at the other end.
Powell won the ball back from Conor McGrandles which allowed Fletcher to take aim, but his weaker foot effort was held with ease by Declan Rudd in the Norwich goal.
A neat give-and-go between Joe Riley and James Weir – including a delicate flick by the latter – saw Crowe clear Riley’s cross behind for a corner, before a dangerous free-kick from Goss fell straight into the arms of Rudd.
Weir fed Fletcher who trapped the ball to set Harrop, and United’s number 10 stung the palms of Rudd with a powerful strike, before the keeper managed to produce another fine save from Axel Tuanzebe’s close range attempt from the resulting corner.
Harrop’s decoyed run allowed Weir to get a shot away, but Rudd produced another decent save, as half-time arrived with the game goalless.
After the break and Graham Dorrans was booked for pulling back Weir, before Harrop shot wide in a similar position to where he scored a screamer at the same venue in the 1-1 draw back in January in the same fixture.
A screamer was scored on this occasion, however, but it was for the home side, as Lafferty raced onto a long ball that was played over the top, and fired a superb strike past Sam Johnstone and into the net.
Dorrans struck the ball over after a short corner routine, as Devonte Redmond saw an attempt blocked, with Goss shooting wide in the same move.
Norwich then doubled their lead, with Weir’s loose ball eventually leading to Loza racing through on goal, and he took aim with his left foot, fired across goal, and found the finish to beat Johnstone.
Substitute Matty Willock headed wide from Guillermo Varela’s right-hand cross, as Harrop was able to get a shot away from Weir’s through ball, but Rudd held the ball without any trouble.
Full-time arrived in front of a five thousand strong crowd, a good turn out for a Monday night U21 game, where United fell short in East Anglia.
A first defeat of the season for Warren Joyce’s side came after a wonder strike and costly mistake, but it is all part of the learning curve at this level.
Up next is a huge match against Liverpool next Monday night at Leigh Sports Village, where United’s youngsters will be looking to bounce back from tonight’s defeat.
Manchester United: Johnstone; Varela, Tuanzebe, Borthwick-Jackson, Riley; Redmond, Goss; Weir, Powell (Rashford 55), Harrop; Fletcher (Willock 68).
Subs: Rathbone, O’Hara, Rashford, Willock.
Manager: Warren Joyce
Norwich: Rudd; Whittaker, Crowe, Efete, Hall-Johnson (Middleton 81); Dorrans, McGrandles; Loza, King, Eaton-Collins (Lewis 88); Lafferty (Uade 68).
Subs: Lewis, Killip, Grant, Middleton, Uade.
Manager: Dmitri Halajko