Norwich City Res 2, Manchester United Res 4
City's second string felt the force of Man United's next generation in tonight's Premier League Reserve clash at Carrow Road.
The visitors fielded five of the young talents who featured in last week's Carling Cup 3-0 away win over Leeds against a Norwich side with plenty of first team experience. Elegant United midfielder Paul Pogba played the second half at Elland Road and nudged the Red Devils ahead inside the opening five minutes after a defensive mix up between City skipper Adam Drury and Simon Lappin.
Matt Ball levelled before William Keane was credited with a goal that Drury appeared to divert past Declan Rudd. Larnell Cole and Keane put the visitors out of sight only for Aaron Wilbraham to reduce the arrears in the closing stages.
Chris Martin was the pick of the senior stars on show for the Canaries, operating in an attacking midfield role just tucked in behind Wilbraham and Simeon Jackson. City fell behind from United's first attack when Pogba pounced to slot past Rudd. Ball made no mistake on 13 minutes with a stooping header after connecting powerfully with Sam Kelly's flighted cross. Wilbraham turned intelligently away from his marker on 20 minutes but Ben Amos parried the striker's angled shot.
Martin's cute spin evaded three tight markers inside the United half, but his intended crossfield pass failed to match the initial precision.
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United skipper Davide Petrucci burst past two weak attempted tackles to slip in Keane but Drury's sliding challenged diverted the ball past Rudd. The lively Pogba conjured an exquisite cross early in the second half which Keane just failed to divert goalwards. Martin tried his luck again from long range not once but twice in quick succession - both rockets smacking United defenders.
Wilbraham retrieved a lost cause in behind the visitors' rearguard on 55 minutes before rolling in Andrew Surman who curled narrowly wide. With City starting to dictate, United launched a decisive counter when Cole swivelled onto the excellent Pogba's pass to rifle low past Rudd from 16 yards. Amos gathered Martin's dipping free kick on 66 minutes. Livewire Keane needed no second invitation when he profited from more charitable home defending to lash a half volley past Rudd on the edge of the area. City continued to press and Wilbraham tucked away Surman's sublime floated reverse pass to complete the scoring on 87 minutes – although Martin was again denied by Amos with a point blank header deep in stoppage time.
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• Norwich City Reserves: Rudd, Brindley, Lappin, Kelly (Dawkin, 66), Francomb, Drury, Ball, Martin, Wilbraham, Jackson (Clunan, 84), Surman. Subs (not used): Matthews, Toffolo, Barker.
• Goals: Ball (15), Wilbraham (86)
• Manchester United Reserves: Amos, Brown, McGinty, Fornasier (Thorpe, 59), M Keane, Fryers, Pogba (Morrison, 76), James (Vermijl, 45), W Keane, Petrucci, Cole. Subs (not used): Giverin, Cofie.
• Goals: Pogba (3), W Keane (40, 70), Cole (61)
• Referee: W Porter
• Attendance: 3,854