Premier League

August 21, 2004


Manchester United

2 - 1

Norwich City

Premier League

16:15 +00:00, August 21, 2004

Old Trafford, England

Referee: N Barry

  • 90'

    A straightforward United win looked on the cards right from the outset with the home team enjoying the possession and playing in Norwich's half for large spells. But by failing to wrap the game up when they had many chances United left the door open for Norwich and they nearly clawed their way back. Every reason for optimism for Norwich if they can ride out trouble like that and still play some football against one of the big boys. As for United, question marks still hang over a suspect defence

  • 90'

    It's all over and, despite a spirited last quarter of the game from the Premiership new boys, it is United who take the points 2-1

  • 90'

    Scholes comes close to seling the points after wriggling into a shooting position on the right hand side of the Norwich box. Only some desperate lunges divert to shot behind for a corner

  • 89'

    United getting hold of the game once more by feeding Ronaldo at every opportunity; the Norwich players reduced to fouling him at every turn

  • 88'

    The Norwich defence was expecting a cross but Ronaldo elects to go for goal instead. Curling low drive stings the palms of Green who adds another to a list of fine saves from this afternoon

  • 87'

    Ronaldo looks fresh and lively, winning another free kick out wide on the left this time

  • 86'

    Keane's cross falls straight into the hands of Green as a lack of communication means no one attacks the near post

  • 85'

    Huge roar greets the Portuguese winger and he is in the action already: a tricky run earning his side a free kick out by the corner flag

  • 84'

    Proof that Sir Alex Ferguson is taking this belated threat seriously. Ronaldo was on the bench 'only for emergencies'. That situation has arisen and he comes on for Liam Miller

  • 83'

    If United do drop points here they will only have themselves to blame

  • 82'

    What a turn around. United were in cruise control but some spirited fighting from Norwich has dug them back into this game and the way things are going you wouldn't rule out an equaliser

  • 81'

    Another half chance for Norwich through McKenzie as he latches on to a long ball but dinks a difficult shot over. McVeigh had previously forced Howard into a diving save. The Canaries smell bood now!

  • 80'

    Norwich oh so nearly level! Francis gets in behind Keane in the box and out muscles him to get one on one with Howard. The path of the ball had taken him a little wide but his shot to the near post would have beaten the United keeper but it went just wide in the end

  • 79'

    Another chance for United goes begging as a decent corner flashes across the face of goal and is fractionally to far in front of Smith for the striker to connect

  • 78'

    Wonderful save from Green as a header from all of six yards forces him to leap athletically and turn the ball over the bar one handed from almost under his own bar.

  • 77'

    Exciting last 15 minutes ahead now with Norwich really believing they can get something. Three strikers on the pitch in yellow; there are more goals in this match

  • 76'

    Substitution from Norwich: Off goes Bentley and another striker, Leon McKenzie, comes on to chase the game

  • 75'

    After Francis had got the ball forward Doherty first had a shot that was blocked but the rebound spilled out wide to McVeigh. Head down and cuts inside to fire in the shot that has given the visitors a lifeline and some belief. 2-1 United

  • 74'

    Could we have a game on our hands. Tireless work from Francis in the middle ultimately sets up a chance for McVeigh to beat Howard at his near post

  • 73'

    Smith tries something a bit special by way of an overhead kick from inside the box. Makes a decent contact but sends it wide

  • 72'

    Double substitution for United sees Richardson and Phil Neville replace Bellion and Gary Neville

  • 70'

    O'Shea tries his luck from distance but, judging by the result, he really shouldn't have

  • 69'

    More barnstorming tackling from Keane lifts the crowd and the team before Giggs' attempted cross is thwarted by a wall of yellow

  • 68'

    Positive, bright stuff from first Bentley and then McVeigh set up a shooting chance for Francis but, under pressure from Djemba-Djemba, a weak effort goes wide

  • 67'

    Substitution for Norwich sees a debut for Gary Doherty. Bought as a centre back he will play for half an hour up front in place of Svensson

  • 66'

    Glorious chance goes begging for Norwich. Huckerby goes one against one with Keane and gets the better of him to hit the byline and cut a low cross into the six yard box. Svensson looked odds on to slot the ball into an empty net but it flashes agonisingly past him

  • 65'

    Cruching tackle from Keane on Huckerby shows age has robbed him of none of his competitive edge

  • 64'

    Scholes jinks across the 18 yard line before feeding Neville wide. His cross causes a bit of panic in the Norwich box before a clearance falls to O'Shea but his shot is sliced well wide

  • 63'

    United fans in good voice as their side cruise

  • 62'

    United in the boss seat but the odd bit of carelessness has given Norwich a sliver of hope in the last couple of minutes

  • 61'

    Bentley opts not to shoot when the ball breaks to him on the edge of the box. Instead his poke through for team mates to chase is too hard. After what we saw in the first half I can't understand why he didn't crack one

  • 60'

    Nearly 3-0 but Green pulls off a wonderful one handed save. Ball over the top from Bellion saw the keeper hesitate and Scholes, at full stretch, connected with it to direct the ball goalwards. Great reactions though from Green and a strong hand to force the ball away from danger

  • 58'

    Howard nearly gifts Norwich a lifeline. Back pass from Neville spelled no danger until a bobble made the American lose control of it with Huckerby bearing down on him. Recovered with soem Neville-esque skill to sell Huckerby the wrong way before clearing

  • 57'

    Neville shows a nice touch to wrong foot a sliding Bently who ends up going through the United man. Silky skills from the united right back

  • 56'

    Smith opens the play wonderfully with a raking cross field ball to Bellion but the Frenchman hurries it when he had time and space allowing the ball to run away from him

  • 54'

    United are brimming with confidence now and Bellion is the latest to try his luck from outside the box. Deflection from a norwich defender renders the effort ineffective

  • 53'

    Giggs comes closer. Cutting in from the right, about 25 yards out, he drives his effort towards Green's left upright but the keeper does well to get down and turn the ball round the post

  • 52'

    Francis looks to make a quick response but his snatched shot from the edge of the box falls well wide

  • 51'

    As with the first goal United's second came moments after a half chance for their opponents. Heartbreaking stuff for Norwich - welcome to the Premiership!

  • 50'

    Giggs did well to keep alive a high diagonal ball into the box with a nod down to Smith in the Norwich box. The former Leeds man took one touch without letting it bounce and then swiveled to hook a firm volley across the face of goal and into the net via the inside of the post. Wonderful strike. 2-0 United

  • 50'

    Smith opens his United account in some real style crashing a volley in off the post to give United a lead they are unlikely to let slip

  • 49'

    Helveg guilty of a cynical foul with an outstretched leg on Giggs' midrift. Earns a card to match the colour of his shirt

  • 48'

    Great searching ball over the top from Bentley finds Huckerby breaking off the shoulder of the last defender. Bearing down on goal he is forced to take the bouncing ball early and sends it high into the stands. Some encouragement at least for the visitors

  • 47'

    McVeigh involved early as a disguised chipped pass aimed at Francis requires Howard to come off his line and collect

  • 46'

    Bellion shows a clean pair of heels to get out to the corner flag before the impressive Drury puts in a clean tackle that he follows up with a well placed pass to relieve the pressure.

  • 45'

    Norwich make a half time change with Paul McVeigh who comes into an over worked midfield at the expense of Mattias Jonson

  • 45'

    Pretty much as you would expect this one. United dominating proceedings with Norwich reduced to fire fighting and the odd break relying on the pace of Huckerby. It could have been different had Bentley's fierce drive been an inch lower but United responded to that scare with a well worked goal. Resolute defending has kept the visitors within touching distance as far as the scores go but if this were a boxing match it probably would have been stopped

  • 45'

    Last United attack of the half is in keeping with much of the game as Scholes pops up on the right and sends over a looping cross that is not good enough to present the home side with a chance

  • 44'

    One minute of added time announced

  • 43'

    Still all United as the half comes to a close

  • 42'

    Giggs picks Helveg's pocket out on the touchline to break into the box but Fleming helps out his team mate with a timely tackle in the box

  • 41'

    Jonson and O'Shea get caught up with each other deep in the Norwich half with the Norwich man awarded the decision (on artistic merit perhaps) O'Shea is not best pleased

  • 40'

    Loose ball from Djemba-Djemba allows Drury to break and find Huckerby onside. Keane is there to compete with the striker and eventually Huckerby fouls the United captain

  • 39'

    Corner aimed at the back of the box was falling for Jonson until O'Shea got the slightest of touches to divert the path of the ball

  • 38'

    Huckerby does well to contol with his chest, turn and head down the left flank at pace. Skipped past one challenge before being stopped by the outstretched leg of Keane at the expense of a corner. Fantastic running from Huckerby

  • 37'

    Djemba-Djemba nearly puts his side in trouble by carelessly losing possession to Huckerby in his own half but does enough to correct the mistake with a recovering tackle

  • 35'

    United given an extra spring in the step after taking the lead - none more so than the much maligned Bellion

  • 34'

    Bellion has a taste for it now. Sideways pass from Miller to the right corner of the box finds the Frenchman who cuts inside and hits a low hard left footed drive to the near post. Green does exceptionally well to get down and turn it round the post

  • 33'

    Giggs elluded the close marking of two Norwich men on the left before sending over a curling cross to the head of Smith. He showed awareness to flick it on and down into the path of Bellion who, from six yards, made no mistake with a rasping drive on the half volley. 1-0 United

  • 32'

    What a cruel game this is. A minute after nearly scoring themselves the visitors find themselves a goal down. Bellion getting the final touch

  • 30'

    Inches away from a goal - and it's those in yellow who have head in hands over how close they came. Bentley cut inside, got the ball from out of his feet and unleashed a screamer from 25 yards that beat Howard but not the bar. Cracking effort and oh so close

  • 29'

    United still dictating this match and you get the feeling that it is only a matter of time before United score. Saying that, Norwich are defending resolutely and the longer it stays 0-0 the more confident they will become

  • 27'

    giggs find space in front of a retreating Norwich back line and twists, turns then shoots but it is blocked. He really should have released Neville who had made a glorious run round the back of the defence

  • 26'

    Crisp diagonal ball into the box from Giggs is left by Smith but there is no one behind him. Rather tells the story of the game. A nice idea from United but narrowly short of something productive

  • 25'

    Encouraging for the Norwich fans seeing their team in United's half for a period

  • 24'

    Corner kick wasted by Bentley and sets up a United break with Giggs but he, much to Bentley's relief, is tackled by Charlton

  • 23'

    Corner is rather wasted but the visitors come again and a corner from the other side is earned

  • 22'

    Norwich take there time getting forward for a change and their reward is first a throw high up the field and then second a corner kick from the left. Better

  • 21'

    Smith, working hard, is often the intended target for long balls forward. On this instance he is too keen and fouls Charlton when competing for the ball. Another interesting personal battle going on there

  • 20'

    United proding and probing around the Norwich box but, so far, little in the way of penetration

  • 18'

    Another ball into the box from United finds the head of a home player but the header - from Smith - does not find the net

  • 17'

    Norwich move into the United half but instantly give the ball away cheaply. They'll have to be more careful than that if they are to get anything this evening

  • 16'

    Giggs shows great skill - a reverse, diguised back heel pass into the box (phew!) - to wrong foot the Norwich defence. Unfortunately the same applies to the intended target Smith who didn't read it at all

  • 15'

    Game being played almost exclusively in the Norwich half

  • 14'

    Cross into the box sees O'Shea climb and head over the bar

  • 13'

    Drury in the left back position is at least winning his personal battle with Bellion. Not for the first time the Norwich man is first to the ball to win a firm tackle

  • 12'

    Pattern of the game established early with United controlling the ball and Norwich defending for their lives and looking for Huckerby to help them out with his running down the channels

  • 11'

    Neville shows his team-mate how it should have been done by dinking over a delicious chip into the path of Giggs who had sprung the offside trap. The Welshman hits the byline and sends over a dangerous low cross that Charlton shows great composure to dig out from under his own crossbar

  • 10'

    More decent possession for United works the ball forward with purpose. Djemba-Djemba tries to play in Miller over the top but all he gets is a corner kick

  • 9'

    Tenacious tackling back from Smith is laudable in intent but not execution as he concedes a foul

  • 8'

    Nice build up play from United through Keane and Scholes comes to nothing after Scholes' cross from the right once more is less than accurate

  • 7'

    Norwich certainly up for this one and not afraid to get physical. Another free kick to United sees Scholes belt a low drive straight into the Norwich wall

  • 6'

    Over hit cross from Neville makes O'Shea's long run to a good position at the back post a waste of time

  • 5'

    Bright opening from both sides with United clearly out to prove a point after last weekend's loss to Chelsea

  • 4'

    Ref finds his whistle this time as Smith is manhandled to the ground just inside the Norwich half

  • 3'

    O'Shea and Huckerby grapple like over eager ballroom dancers by the corner flag. Amazingly nothing is given against either as the loose ball is whipped into the box but comes to nothing.

  • 2'

    Corner kick from United is well defended but the ball breaks to Scholes on the edge of the box. His chip over the top is poor and goes for a goal kick

  • 1'

    O'Shea's persistence outdoes Jonson in the Norwich box and his volley is goalbound but straight at Green. No problem for the England hopeful


    United get us underway in perfect footballing conditions


    New boys versus the old guard. A mismatch? We'll have to wait and see....


    Norwich start with the same 11 as last week with the addition of Gary Doherty on the bench after his switch from Spurs. It is the United bench also that is of most interest to a still injury ravaged squad. Cristiano Ronaldo returns from Athens having played just twice so expect him to figure at some stage. David Bellion is trusted to lead the line with Alan Smith - unlike the recently departed Diego Forlan.


    So, United take to the field for their first home game of the season in the unfamiliar position of bottom spot in the table (I know, I know it means nothing but it's worth saying just because you won't get the chance again for a very long time)


    Join us at 17.15 BST as Premiership new boys Norwich take on the might of Alex Ferguson's red machine.