Norwich 1 Manchester United 0
United suffered a defeat at Carrow Road this evening going down by a solitary goal but producing a performance that wasn`t good enough!
Sir Alex Ferguson was forced into making two enforced changes to his starting eleven for this fixture with Wayne Rooney having gone down with tonsillitis and David De Gea being dispatched to the dentist for some treatment, presenting Javier Hernandez and Anders Lindegaard with starts.
United started well with a long range shot forcing John Ruddy to save low down before a quick volley from Snodgrass flew over the bar, United then survived a scare when Pilkington shot just wide from twenty-five yards out.
A quickly taken free kick from Giggs saw Van Persie clear the bar with his shot. Despite the early scares United were now dictating the tempo. Young saw a free kick easily saved by Ruddy before Norwich threatened again when Hoolahan, with a decent cross, saw Snodgrass flick a header wide.
Norwich were coming more into the game now and Pilkington and Garrido combined to deliver a ball, across the face of the goal that evaded Holt before Smalling conceded possession cheaply but, thankfully, the resulting shot on goal was charged down.
United, it`s fair to say, were losing the battle in midfield and it was left for Smalling to deprive Holt, with a great tackle, after a cross from Snodgrass begged to be tapped home.
As half time approached a delightful long ball from Giggs dropped invitingly over Va Persie`s shoulder for the Dutchman to volley home but it seemed to sum up our half when the striker missed the ball altogether. But it required a great save from Ruddy, from a close range Young effort to keep the score at 0-0.
Half Time - Norwich 0 United 0
United started the second half by creating the first chance but Ruddy pulled off a smart save from Van Persie to keep it all square. Norwich were still looking good in the middle third but lacking any real killer ball to trouble the United rearguard, but it only needed one lapse to give the home side the lead and that was exactly the case.
Delia Smith danced a jig of delight when Anthony Pilkington headed our hosts in front, on the hour mark, when Garrido, fed by Hoolahan, delivered in a decent cross that Pilkington expertly headed home past Lindegaard.
United, just like last week at Villa Park, needed to mount a comeback. Sir Alex made two changes with Scholes and Welbeck coming on with Valencia, and the hero of last week, Hernandez coming off. With twenty minutes left could United turn it around?
Welbeck almost made an instant impact but his effort, from a Young cross, somehow went wide, for a corner, after extreme pressure was put on him by the home defence. United were, with a quarter of an hour to go, pouring forward. At times the home defence lived a charmed life, proven when Whittaker somehow cleared a dangerous looking cross, from Young, at the far post with Giggs closing in.
With minutes remaining Sir Alex made his last change bringing on Anderson for Ferdinand. Young delivered another decent cross but a maze of bodies saw the ball drift out of play.
Norwich relieved the pressure by launching a rare attack which saw Lindegaard produce a fine save from a Pilkington effort from all of twenty-five yards out. Matters could have gotten worse when Norwich then broke two-on-one only for Howson, released by Morison, to pull his effort wide.
Four minutes of stoppage time were announced and some hectic action saw Ruddy turn over the crossbar a header by his own defender, Bassong, that looked destined for the net. Lindegaard, with things looking desperate, came up for the corner but the home side survived before that man Ruddy reacted quickly to prevent Scholes reaching a loose ball from an Anderson ball in and that was that.