A sparse fixture list mean that United trip to Carrow Road to take on Norwich City was only the fourth match of the 2015-16 U21s Premier League campaign.
A crowd of 5,194 saw Norwich City win 2-0 over Manchester United with the goals coming in the second half from Kyle Lafferty and Jamar Loza.
Nick Powell and Josh Harrop returned to the U21s side having spent some time out due to a detached hamstring and sports hernia respectively. Meanwhile, Norwich had three first-team squad members in Lafferty, Steven Whittaker, and Graham Dorrans who started the game.
Norwich’s experienced line-up couldn’t prevent United dominating the first half. Sean Goss was on hand to provide decent set-pieces as United pressed forwards. Joe Riley and Guillermo Varela provided attacking intent on the flanks.
Declan Rudd, in the Norwich goal, was the busier of the two goalkeepers, having to collect a Goss free-kick, as well as block shots from Harrop and James Weir. Axel Tuanzebe had a good chance when the ball fell to him in the penalty area but the ball bounced and he waited too long for it to come down which meant his shot was blocked.
The first half was rather feisty. Lafferty seemed frustrated as he shoved and kicked out at 18-year-old Tuanzebe. The Northern Irish international was involved in another incident of shoving later on, this time with Nick Powell.
Powell was then involved with a number of Norwich players but Weir was there to settle things down. Harrop picked up a booking late on in the first half for a nasty challenge which could have easily resulted in him being sent for an early bath.
The second half was a quieter affair for United. Powell made way after 55 minutes to be replaced by Marcus Rashford. Minutes later Lafferty gave Norwich the lead against the run of play with a good strike which took Sam Johnstone by surprise. After that Norwich pressed forward while United failed to really test Rudd at the other end.
A loose pass from Weir lead to a chance for Loza, which was similar to the earlier goal for Lafferty, insofar as Borthwick-Jackson was the defender and Johnstone was slightly off his line. Matty Willock had a header that was off target and Harrop forced a save from Rudd but a consolation goal proved elusive.
Fortunately the U21s won’t have too long to dwell on the defeat with a match against Liverpool scheduled for next Monday evening.
Manchester United: Johnstone, Varela, Tuanzebe, Borthwick-Jackson, Riley, Weir (c), Redmond, Goss, Harrop, Powell (Rashford 55′), Fletcher (Willock 68′).
Unused Substitutes: O’Hara, Rathbone.
Booking(s): Harrop (44′).
Man of the Match: Joe Riley.
Norwich City: Rudd, Whittaker, Efete, Crowe, Hall-Johnson (c) (Middleton 83′), McGrandles, Dorrans, Eaton-Collins (Lewis 88′), King, Loza, Lafferty (Uade 68′).
Unused Substitutes: Killip (GK), Grant.
Booking(s): Dorrans (48′).
Goal(s): Lafferty (58′), Loza (75′).