Slideshow: Youngster shines for new-look City
PUBLISHED: 15:00 25 July 2009 | UPDATED: 16:22 10 September 2010
Norwich City 1, Man Utd XI 1: It would take a brave man to suggest Saturday's game leaves us any closer to knowing how Norwich City will fare in the unchartered waters of League One. But it is fair to say on Norwich's opening 45-minute showing that should any team come down to Carrow Road and allow those in a yellow shirt the time and space to play football, City will have enough to carve them open.
It would take a brave man to suggest Saturday's game leaves us any closer to knowing how Norwich City will fare in the unchartered waters of League One come August 8.
With the Canaries playing against the third-string side of arguably Europe's biggest club - and a team full of youngsters at that, competing against players told to pass and move and keep the ball - the game was never really going to prepare Norwich for the rigours of English football's finest third tier bulldozers.
But it is fair to say on Norwich's opening 45-minute showing that should any team come down to Carrow Road and allow those in a yellow shirt the time and space to play football, City will have enough to carve them open.
Wes Hoolahan, fully recovered from an injury that probably played a significant part in how last season finally ended for the Canaries, pulled the strings as he roamed, probed and covered well.
And Paul McVeigh - whose name was afforded the biggest cheer of the day by the 13,381 crowd - produced plenty of glimpses to remind the City faithful what he is still capable of.
For some, it was all about the new faces. Stephen Hughes, Michael Theoklitos and Rhoys Wiggins may have sat out proceedings, but Ben Alnwick, Grant Holt, Michael Nelson, Owain Tudur Jones, Matt Gill and Simon Whaley all got their chance to shine.
However, the star that shined brightest was a player making his first team debut, albeit in a friendly, after 10 years with the club - Tom Adeyemi.
With the Canaries dominating the early exchanges, the 17-year-old looked every part the real deal; winning and using the ball effectively, constantly making himself available and showing he can score goals from midfield - the latter he proved in superb style.
Chris Martin, another familiar face returning to Carrow Road after his season's exile at Luton, started alongside Jamie Cureton up front, and the duo shared the early chances.
Cureton volleyed wide after Tudur Jones broke up play, with McVeigh and Adeyemi combining well in the build-up, before the striker nearly benefitted from United keeper Tom Heaton's misjudgement. Heaton flapped under the ball, but Cureton could only head wide.
Martin, looking strong and quick, got himself in good positions but too often was closed down before being able to get his shot off - so Adeyemi decided to show him how it's done with a goal that got Carrow Road rocking on 21 minutes.
The youngster picked up the ball just outside the area and took a touch away from his marker, before drilling an unstoppable effort high into the top right corner, with Heaton left clutching air.
City continued to be the more purposeful and if any watching scouts were impressed by Ademeyi's first strike, had his second hit the net the bids probably would've arrived by half-time; his mid-air volley on the run from Hoolahan's centre whistling narrowly wide.
Norwich had looked in little trouble defensively, but when winger Cameron Stewart - playing as a lone striker for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's stretched side - was far too fleet-footed for Gary Doherty, the defender's outstretched leg was enough to send the young forward tumbling in the area to earn United a 36th minute penalty.
Sam Hewson was the man to step up, but his weak effort was saved by Alnwick low to his left to deservedly preserve City's lead.
And City's advantage should have been doubled moments later, as Tudur Jones steamed in to meet Hoolahan's delightful right-foot cross, Heaton pulling off an excellent stop with his legs.
The break brought plenty of changes from both sides, and the customary pre-season lull that seemed to affect Norwich more than their visitors.
Danish triallist Jens Berthel Askou had looked a class act until he seemed to trip over thin air to gift United a dangerous looking break, Jon Otsemobor pushing on the accelerator to cover and snuff out the danger.
Right-back David Gray saw his cross come back off the underside of the bar with Alnwick flummoxed, as United remained in the driving seat and City struggled to keep the ball.
New Zealand triallist Kris Bright and new signing Grant Holt were soon introduced and both caused problems, but as United's second half possession pressure started to tell, they finally got the goal they deserved - during a two minute period in which they were reduced to 10 men through Oliver Gill's injury.
Left-back Richie de Laet, pushed up front by Solskjaer, might fancy a longer stint in the role after being sent clear and tucking the ball competently past Alnwick with five minutes left.
Bright and Askou saw late headers fail to trouble Heaton as the game ran out of steam, another 90 minutes of fitness in the tank.
But City will have more accurate indicators of their abilities to come - starting at Crystal Palace tomorrow.
t Norwich City(4-4-2): Alnwick, Otsemobor, Doherty (Nelson 46), Askou, Lappin, McVeigh (Whaley 46), Tudur Jones (Gill 46), Adeyemi (Spillane 81), Hoolahan (Drury 46), Martin (Bright 69), Cureton (Holt 81). Subs (not used): Lee-Barrett, Stephens. Goal: Adeyemi 21.
t Manchester United XI (4-5-1): Heaton, Gray, Chester (Gill 46, Wootton 86), Cathcart, De Laet, Simpson, Hewson (Norwood 46), Evans, Eikrem, Stewart (Dudgeon 76), Cleverley. Subs (not used): Zieler, Moffatt, Ajose. Goal: De Laet 86.
t Referee: K Hill
t Attendance: 13,381