Manchester United loanee Ritchie de Laet stands out for Norwich City

Crystal Palace 1, Norwich City 0: Ritchie De Laet was the pick of Norwich's new faces in a gentle opener to their mini Football League friendly tour at Crystal Palace.

The Manchester United loanee turned in a classy hour shift alongside Leon Barnett at the heart of the Canaries' backline.

De Laet and Bradley Johnson were the two summer signings in Paul Lambert's starting line up – although the City boss introduced Steve Morison and Elliott Bennett among a raft of second-half changes.

Palace substitute Nathaniel Pinney rounded John Ruddy to slot in an 89th-minute winner for the Championship side after a useful fitness work-out for Lambert's squad.

City left-back Marc Tierney recovered from a slight knock picked up on the club's German pre-season tour to take his place in the line-up, but there was no place in the matchday squad for Adam Drury (calf) or James Vaughan (knee).


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Elliott Ward was also a notable senior absentee with youngsters Tom Adeyemi, Josh Dawkin and Richard Brindley all included on a sizeable substitutes' bench.

Lambert's faith in the midfield diamond remained undiminished, with Chris Martin deployed behind Grant Holt and Simeon Jackson with David Fox the anchor in front of City's back four.

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Palace featured Ipswich old boys Darren Ambrose, Owen Garvan and one-time Norwich loanee David Wright. Eagles' boss Dougie Freedman also included Stoke trialist Andrew Davies at centre-half.

Paddy McCarthy's meaty challenge robbed Jackson of the first opportunity to test Julian Speroni inside the opening five minutes.

De Laet displayed excellent awareness to thwart Sean Scannell after the Palace wide player had tricked his way into the Canaries' box.

The suited Lambert made his first foray to the front of his technical area to pass on instructions to Russell Martin 20 minutes into the contest.

The overlapping full-back's trademark burst produced a half-chance for Johnson, but the ex-Leeds man lashed a volley into the Palace faithful.

Holt dropped deep into his own half searching for work, but Barnett's wayward pass fell invitingly to Ambrose only for De Laet's impressive pace to settle his personal duel with Jermaine Easter.

Jackson curled wide from the edge of the area at the opposite end with Speroni momentarily worried. Holt crafted a flighted cross for Johnson to direct just off target on the half hour mark with City hinting they were warming to the task.

Chris Martin inadvertently foiled team-mate Holt after his faintest flick from Tierney's peach of cross diverted the ball away from City's unmarked skipper's flying leap six yards out.

Andrew Crofts' competitive edge was clearly evident when the Welsh international body-checked Matt Parsons to block the Palace wide player's attempt to join a counter.

The dangerous Ambrose escaped the attentions of Norwich's midfield for the first time, but Tierney was back with sliding challenge.

City earned a slice of fortune from the resulting corner when Easter's close-range touch was scrambled off the goal-line by Barnett and De Laet with Ruddy beaten.

Andrew Surman replaced Johnson in the solitary change at the interval for Lambert's side – the cultured midfielder slotting in alongside Crofts in the centre of the park.

Speroni acrobatically kicked away Chris Martin's initial flick six yards out after Russell Martin had picked out his namesake.

David Fox then drilled straight at the Argentinian from the edge of the area with City showing more collective urgency on the restart.

Ambrose burst down the right at the other end, but lashed into Ruddy's side netting. Lambert then rung the changes with the remaining nine outfield players replaced in three bursts around the hour mark.

Morison and Aaron Wilbraham formed a new look muscular frontline – ex-Millwall hitman Morison earning a particularly warm welcome from the Palace fans.

Wes Hoolahan slotted into his traditional position at the point of the diamond with Adeyemi and close -eason arrival Bennett either side of Surman.

Zak Whitbread and George Francomb were partnered in central defence with Korey Smith and Simon Lappin completing the revamped line-up down the flanks. Wilbraham's half-volley flew at Speroni with the new-look City side attempting to maintain the same intent.

Francomb thrust his head to his hands after a glancing near-post flick from Hoolahan's delivery skimmed wide of Speroni's left-hand upright.

The otherwise redundant Ruddy confidently claimed Jonathan Williams' cross with Palace looking for a breakthrough in the closing stages, but the big keeper had little chance when Pinney swerved around the City stopper to slot home the winner.

Palace: Speroni, Clyne (Marrow 66), Wright (Caprice 83), McCarthy (Dorman 66), Davies (Prillault 45), Ambrose (Caodgan 83), Garvan (O'Keefe 83), Scannell (Pinney 83), Murray (Williams 77), Easter (Zaha 59), Parsons. Subs: all used. Goal: Pinney (89).

Norwich: Ruddy, R Martin (Smith 63), Barnett (Whitbread 63), De Laet (Francomb 63), Tierney (Lappin 62), Crofts (Adeyemi 62), Fox (Bennett 62), Johnson (Surman 45), Jackson (Wilbraham 59), C Martin (Hoolahan 59), Holt (Morison 59). Subs (not used): Dawkin, Rudd, Brindley.

Referee: Pat Miller

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