Second-half goals from Anderson and substitute Danny Welbeck gave Premier League leaders Manchester United a record-breaking victory over the Canaries at Old Trafford.

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But the scoreline flattered the reigning champions, for Paul Lambert’s team will wonder how they failed to take at least a point from another fearless performance in front of a crowd of more than 75,000.

City were guilty of missing a succession of gilt-edged opportunities in the second half, with Anthony Pilkington and Steve Morison squandering the best of them, while Pilkington had another effort blocked and another deflected on to the woodwork.

Anderson headed United in front in the 68th minute after substitute Ryan Giggs’ corner was nodded on by Phil Jones and Wayne Rooney.

That goal came moments after Pilkington should have given City the lead, and after Pilkington and Morison had both had chances to level, Welbeck wrapped up the points three minutes from time, and with it a club record 19th successive home league win.

It was tough on the Canaries – but another lesson in taking your chances at the highest level.

City boss Lambert named an unchanged starting eleven after the 2-1 home win over Sunderland, but there were two enforced changes on the bench.

With on-loan centre-back Ritchie de Laet ineligible to play against his parent club, Adam Drury was the one defender named among the substitutes, while striker Simeon Jackson returned to the squad in place of James Vaughan, who had an operation in midweek after suffering a knee injury that looks set to sideline him until the spring.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson welcomed back striker Wayne Rooney in attack after hamstring trouble, while fit-again defender Jonny Evans replaced Rio Ferdinand in the back four, and there was a surprise omission in England winger Ashley Young, who was not in the 18, with Ji-Sung Park winning a recall. In addition, Anders Lindegaard was preferred in goal to David De Gea.

Before kick-off, in hot conditions more suited to the summer game, Lancashire cricketers did a lap of honour, parading their County Championship trophy.

Both sides were given a great reception, with City’s 3,000 travelling fans in good voice in one corner of the stadium.

United had the first shot on goal after two minutes when Jones set up Rooney, but his effort lacked power and Ruddy was safely behind it.

City made an encouraging break on the left, Pilkington crossing into the box, but Morison was just unable to get in a clean header thanks to the attention of Evans.

There was a clear opportunity in only the fifth minute when Hoolahan found Bennett in space on the right but the winger hesitated and picked the wrong option with a cross to the near post that Jones cut out at the expense of the corner. The kick was quickly taken and Hoolahan curled in a shot that Lindegaard was right behind.

It was a bright start by the Canaries and when Ruddy’s drop-kick was knocked on, Hoolahan hoisted a half-volley into the crowd.

Nani flashed a shot wide in the 10th minute as United replied, and they forced their first corner when the same player’s cross was headed behind, Johnson heading clear from Nani’s kick. Anderson had a shot blocked as the hosts continued to press.

A mistake by Russell Martin gave United an opening as Rooney produced a cross from the right, with Hernandez on the end of it on the edge of the six-yard box, but Barnett making a vital block.

City hit back and Tierney’s long ball forward then found Morison, who brought it down well but fired his left-foot shot across the face of the goal.

Nani found room to curl in another cross from the right but Ruddy was out to claim it and, with 20 minutes gone, the Canaries certainly did not look overawed by the occasion.

Morison was working his socks off in attack and pursued an excellent ball from Fox, but was just dispossessed by Evans on the edge of the United area as he tried to home in on goal.

United tried to exert more pressure but had so far found City in unco-operative mood and both Russell Martin and Barnett made important interceptions in their own penalty area to break up attacks.

The hosts won another corner, Fletcher’s backheel from Nani’s kick being cleared by Tierney on the near post.

Pilkington sent an ambitious effort high into the crowd as City broke, but United were having more of the play at this stage and Rooney might have done better than head over the bar from another Nani corner.

The game had been played in good spirit, though there was a momentary squabble as Hernandez and Johnson tangled after the City man dispossessed the striker.

Rooney fired wide from long range and as United started to show their frustration, Nani made a meal of a challenge by Tierney but referee Atwell was unimpressed.

Back on his feet, Nani played a neat one-two with Hernandez in the Norwich area but was stopped by a splendid tackle by Russell Martin.

Nani’s antics were beginning to annoy the official, who stopped play to lecture him after he disputed an offside decision against Hernandez.

On the stroke of half-time, Nani shot wide from 20 yards, and another offside flag against Hernandez brought the half to a close.

• Half-time: Manchester United 0, Norwich City 0

Johnson was caught by a foul by Nani soon after the restart but was able to carry on and, as United pressed, Anderson should have done better than pull a weak shot across goal from Rooney’s pass.

Tierney needed attention after landing awkwardly on his left ankle as he headed clear from a cross by Nani, now operating on the left.

There was a real opening for City six minutes after the break, though, as Morison broke on the right and got the better of Evans but with Hoolahan waiting in the six-yard box, he delayed long enough for Jones to get back and make a fine tackle.

The Canaries had another excellent opportunity in their next attack when Johnson found Pilkington overlapping on the left and he cut inside Jones on to this right foot, but his shot looped up off Evans and Lindegaard was able to parry it upwards, where Evra nodded it back into his hands.

Stung by that double escape, United pushed on and Park let fly with a shot that was deflected wide off Russell Martin.

With 62 minutes gone, Naughton did superbly to rob Rooney and set Hoolahan racing forward, where the skipper let fly with a 25-yard drive that just cleared the bar.

United made a double change with Giggs and Welbeck replacing Nani and Hernandez, but City really should have taken the lead on 65 minutes when Pilkington missed a golden chance.

Johnson’s pass put him through on the left and as Valencia stumbled, Pilkington was clean through, but pushed his shot the wrong side of the post as Lindegaard came out. The reaction of Pilkington, Lambert and the City bench said it all.

The Canaries were made to pay almost immediately when Anderson gave United the lead.

Giggs’ corner from the left was nodded back by Jones and onwards by Rooney and Anderson popped up to head the opening goal.

Substitute Welbeck earned the first yellow card of the afternoon when he caught Tierney with a high challenge.

There was a double change for the Canaries after 74 minutes when Fox and Bennett made way for Crofts and Jackson.

Immediately there was another remarkable escape for United when another Pilkington shot was deflected off Anderson on to the woodwork and out.

Still City threatened and United had to clear as Morison nodded back Tierney’s cross.

Rooney could have increased United’s lead when Giggs picked him out with a splendid crossfield ball and he sidestepped Russell Martin before shooting inches wide.

Substitute Crofts carved enough space to strike a left-footer from 20 yards but Lindegaard was in the right place.

With six minutes to go, Morison missed another golden opportunity as he played a one-two with Jackson, but with just the keeper to beat he miscued and his bobbling effort was cleared.

Barnett headed over from the resulting corner and, after Chris Martin had replaced Hoolahan, substitute Welbeck wrapped the game up for United.

Welbeck played a one-two with Park and rolled in a simple goal – but how the Canaries must have rued those missed chances.

Jackson shot a couple of yards wide with two minutes to go, but by now it was too late for City to salvage anything.

Rooney chipped an effort over the bar in stoppage time after a rare slip by Naughton.

• Manchester United: Lindegaard; Valencia, Jones, Evans, Evra; Nani (Giggs, 64), Fletcher, Anderson (Ferdinand, 76), Park; Rooney, Hernandez (Welbeck, 64). Subs (not used): De Gea, Carrick, Owen, Barbatov.

• Norwich City: Ruddy; Naughton, Barnett, Russell Martin, Tierney; Bennett (Jackson, 74), Fox (Crofts, 74), Bradley Johnson, Pilkington; Hoolahan (Chris Martin, 85); Morison. Subs (not used): Rudd, Drury, Surman, Holt.

• Referee: Stuart Atwell (Warwickshire)

• Attendance: 75,514

• Goals: Man Utd: Anderson (68), Welbeck (87)

• Bookings: Man Utd: Welbeck (71)

14 comments

  • We were winning 0-0 for the first 70 minutes!

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    Swiss Canary

    Saturday, October 1, 2011

  • Aarggh, my comment appears to have disappeared into the ether. Didn't realise that Rooney and Hernandez were part of United's 3rd string!! I am encouraged by the defensive improvement that we have shown over the last few games. Martin looks good there. As for Pilks, you have to remember that he is still coming up to speed as he didn't have a pre season. Just look at Bennet and how much sharper he looks having had that pre season. We haven't seen the best of Pilks yet, but he is showing signs of what he can do. By the way, did anyone else hear the Rad 5 rumour suggesting that Johnson might be in the England squad??

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    Preston Canary

    Sunday, October 2, 2011

  • Watching from afar, I thought they played a tremendous game. They were not afraid to take the game to United, and the missed chances, well the otherside had them too. If they play like this the rest of the season there is no reason they will not stay in the premier divn. Congrats to the City team and the manager..

    Report this comment

    canuk

    Saturday, October 1, 2011

  • 'Course the RED STOOGE would think like that, wouldn't he! I'm beginning to revise my opinion a little. Maybe he's not a Binner after all - remember he does spout the same drivel on the Green 'Un site. No, I think he may possibly be aligned with the red half of Manchester - and the above anagram of his name reinforces the theory.

    Report this comment

    The Crab

    Sunday, October 2, 2011

  • We played really well, and came out of that match with a massive amount of credit. You dont mind losing too much, when you play like that against a team like Man Utd. We held our heads high. The negative is that we cant hit the goal. We wasted at least half a dozen chances because of woeful and inadequate finishing. I found myself wondering why Lambert is persevering with Morrison. Ignoring a commendable goal last week.....he just doesnt seem to have Grant Holts eye for goal. But overall a very credible performance

    Report this comment

    Algarve Canary

    Saturday, October 1, 2011

  • Didn't realise that Rooney and Hernandez were part of United's 3rd string!! What encourages me is that defensively we do look more solid at the moment. Lets look at what United with those two in their team have done to others ie 5-0 (I think) against Bolton and then putting 8 past Arsenal. As for Pilks, got to remember that he is still getting up to speed as he didn't have a pre season. Don't think we will see the best of him for a few games yet. Compare him to Bennet on the other side who did have a pre-season, and he is looking sharp. Did anyone else hear the rumour on Rad 5 that Johnson might be in the England squad??

    Report this comment

    Preston Canary

    Sunday, October 2, 2011

  • Good old Crab! A bit of lateral (sideways) thinking is a boon. In view of the fact we`ve lost most of our central defenders and our "pacy" alternative up front in Vaughan that was a creditable show. We really COULD have won it! Never mind the Anodyne Anagram. It`s more to be pitied than scorned. Just make sure we get a fair share of points from the other teams that are trying to avoid falling into the Orwell. That`s the estuary of a river close to the ground where an aspiring League One outfit play at being footballers.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Monday, October 3, 2011

  • City effectively neutralised everything that Man Utd could muster for most of the game. United fans around me weren't excusing their players, they were saying that Norwich were stopping them from playing, and more effectively than most other sides had done for years. The whole Norwich defence was outstanding; the midfield defending with tenacity and attacking with purpose; the wingers and forwards constantly causing problems. All that was missing was the composure to make that final killer pass or unstoppable shot in the opposition penalty area after all that good work. That will come (back) and from our performances against Chelsea and Man Utd we now know that we are close to holding our own against the top sides in the league. Our fans certainly held their own as well: Outnumbered at Old Trafford 10:1 - Out-sung? Never. Norwich are well and truly back in the Premier League!

    Report this comment

    Robin Hood

    Sunday, October 2, 2011

  • Great prefornance that deserved at least a point, Back four were superb again, Front men just need to learn to shoot - wonder if we practise that enough in training? I'd still play Morison over Holt any day - his overall contribution and work rate was first class, Thought Jackson looked lively off the bench too. Great support! Great manager!

    Report this comment

    canarydownunder

    Sunday, October 2, 2011

  • I diddn't see the game but it sounds like we had a go, if city loose to the top 6 away and pick up good pionts elsewhere then all should be well for stayin up. Tough test on sat against swansea they will be every bit as up for it as we are, lets just see who has improved the most since last season. Come on NCFC

    Report this comment

    MBA Marine

    Sunday, October 2, 2011

  • 50 odd goals in two seasons-no need to say more!

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    harry mcardle

    Saturday, October 1, 2011

  • Oh well yet another disappointing away trip for those of us that bother to go. We will never have a better chance of actually beating a decent team in this league, but inevitably Fergie got it right and playing his 3rd string team proved to be enough. Our attacking options simply aren't good enough and Lambert got his team selection wrong yet again. Morison is just not a Premier League player and Hoolahan creates nothing. Pilkington should be sold in January after that miss. Another nail in the coffin for "plucky little Norwich". Poor.

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    Ged Steroo

    Sunday, October 2, 2011

  • Yes we played well and matched them in every department until it comes to scoring goals. But of course that is what the game is about and I think it will be our demise as I just cannot see where the goals are going to come from.

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    Old Long Balls

    Sunday, October 2, 2011

  • A good day to be a City fan... Any "supporters" who are negative about that performance would clearly be happier if they followed a different club.. with celebrity players they can get more excited about. Why not attach yourself to one of the Manchester clubs or Barcelona?

    Report this comment

    geoffparfitt

    Sunday, October 2, 2011

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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