The showdown between United and Norwich’s U21s ended in a stalement on Carrow Road Friday night. Josh Harrop’s was the man to bring United level through a rocket, after the Canaries’ centre-back Adel Gafaiti headed the hosts into the lead.
Norwich and the former Southend loanee Jamar Loza had an incredible opportunity to open the scoring after seven minutes, but the effort went wide. Only minutes later, Jesse Lingard went down in the Canaries box, but despite there probably was a foul, it was eventually outside the box. Nonetheless the referee waved play on, just as he did when Powell went to ground after bodily contact just a few minutes prior. The Norwich defender could actually been sent off on that occasion if the referee had blown his whistle, which he didn’t.
After 20 minutes, Liam Grimshaw and Jesse Lingard were denied within 30 seconds of play. Grimshaw turned up at the near post and tried to tap in the corner, but the shot was cleared off the line by a defender. Subsequently, Lingard got into a one-on-one with the keeper after being on the receiving end of a floated cross, but his volley went straight at him.
Six minutes later, Norwich got a free-kick on the corner of the box, which Adel Gafaiti exploited to the maximum. The French defender towered up and headed the cross from Grant powerfully into the back of the net.
Cameron Norman could’ve extented Norwich’s lead after 31 minutes after drifting past several United players in a Ryan Giggs-like manner, but Ben Amos heroically dived into his feet to clutch the ball.
The final noteworthy incident of the first half was a Norwich opportunity as well. The home side had another chance to extend their lead, but Liam Grimshaw managed to disturb Jamar Loza sufficiently, and the striker wasn’t able to tap in Hall-Johnson’s cross from close range.
Four minutes into the second half, James Weir had a decent go after one-two-ing it with Keane. Unfortunately fell over in the moment of pulling the trigger and the attempt went wide. That wasn’t the final time the co-operation was on displayed, although it didn’t turn out as a fruity pairing this night.
Some minutes later, Canaries skipper Conor McGrandles was handed a sensational opportunity when Cameron Norman crossed in from the right. Despite having the world at his feet, McGrandles wasn’t able to deliver a proper header and it went wide.
In the 53rd minute, United finally got back to level terms. Josh Harrop did everything by himself (despite Keane rightly will claim assist credits), as he rocketed it off the post and into the top corner from 25 yards. It was an absolutely sensation effort from the 19-year-old midfielder.
A fairly uneventful period occured, nonetheless it’s fair to give Jesse Lingard’s opportunity a mention. He received the ball on the run from James Weir, but the angle was too tight and the finish went nowhere near the target. Lingard was immediately subbed off for Ashley Fletcher, who made only his second appearance on this level.
Six minutes from time, Kelly had the opportunity to dig out the winner for Norwich after getting it pulled back from the right, but his goalbound effort was blocked by Saidy Janko.
However, the game wasn’t over yet. Three minutes into stoppage time, James Weir handed a wonderful opportunity to Will Keane, who turned up in a one-on-one with the keeper. Nonetheless Keane was unable to keep his composure the former QPR loanee skied it over the crossbar.
This means that United go third in the U21 National Group, level on points with Chelsea and Southampton. On the summit we find Tottenham, who beat West Ham 3-1 Friday night, with 18 points. Manchester City have 17 and United two more points behind.
United: Amos – Janko, Vermilj, Grimshaw, Love, Lingard (A. Fletcher 78) – Weir, Harrop – Pereira (C. Evans 66) – Powell, W. Keane
Unused substitutes: O’Hara, Willock