Barclays U21 Premier League
Friday 15 August, 19:00 BST
Leigh Sports Village

(Lawrence 14, McNair 33, Harrop 77)


15/08/2014 20:44, Report by Adam Marshall
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United U21 3 Norwich U21 0

Manchester United started the Barclays Under-21 Premier League with an emphatic 3-0 victory over Norwich City at Leigh Sports Village.

Tom Lawrence and Paddy McNair handed the Reds a commanding first-half lead and Josh Harrop's beautiful third strike sealed three points for a side deprived of James Wilson's striking talents after he sustained an injury in training with the first team.

Warren Joyce started with a 3-5-2 formation for the first time with Sean Goss beginning the game at the back before wing-back Guillermo Varela switched to the middle during the opening half. The Reds' creative players enjoyed themselves in the system as the Canaries were pegged back from the outset.

McNair slammed an Andreas Pereira free-kick against the bar from close range on eight minutes but City were unable to hold out. Joe Rothwell drove into the heart of the defence and collected a backheel from Lawrence to force Ben Killip into saving with his boot. The keeper was beaten to the rebound by the alert Lawrence, who tapped in. 

Kyle McFadden made a vital challenge to deny Lawrence a second following a one-two with Andreas Pereira and Rothwell sliced a first-time effort wide when it bounced up at an awkward angle. Andreas Pereira, who also created that opening, turned superbly to force a sprawling save out of Killip but the former Chelsea stopper was soon picking the ball out of the net again.

A short corner found Ben Pearson in space on the edge of the box and he crossed for McNair to bury an unstoppable and old-fashioned header into the net. Killip was out to narrow the angle on Rothwell and deny the midfielder when he burst onto an Andreas Pereira touch as the hosts dominated.

After Jacob Murphy managed a shot on target for Norwich, safely fielded by Joel Castro Pereira, there was a flare-up at the end of the half when Harrop was cautioned for a late tackle. However, with the points safe, the pace dropped substantially after the break with United in total control.

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Premier League