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West Ham United
26 February 2012
• Carrow Road, Norwich, Norfolk
Referee: A. Marriner
• Attendance: 26811
G. Holt 84'
P. Scholes 7'
R. Giggs 90'+
So that's that for today folks as the Red Devils go back to two points behind their Manchester rivals in the hunt for the Premier League trophy. Thanks for joining us and goodbye.
90' + 3'
90' + 3'
FULL-TIME!! On his 900th appearance for the club, Giggs has salvaged what could be a massive three points in the title race. Scholes but the visitors a goal to the good early before Ferguson's side took their foot off the gas. Holt pulled one back for Lambert's men, who then looked good value for a point after some spirited battling, however the Welshman topped off a fantastic day with a late, late winner.
90' + 2'
Yellow CardRio Ferdinand
90' + 2'
Our man George Ankers on that goal: "Heartbreak for Norwich but what a script for Ryan Giggs. The Canaries have been desperately holding on but the pressure was building, and Ashley Young floats in an inch-perfect cross from the left wing, which the Welshman pokes in at point-blank range. It's his 900th game - still got it."
90' + 1'
90' + 1'
GOOOAAAAALLLLL! What a story, GIGGS gets what is surely the winner for United!
Three minutes of added time for Norwich to hang on, and hanging on they are just now. Ferguson's men have finally sparked into life as Ward does fantastically to clear fizzed cross.
Another miss by Welbeck! The ball was chipped into him beautifully by Giggs, Carrick was up there with the striker and it looked as if they were going to leave it to each other but the forward finally got his shot away, only to be denied by the feet of Ruddy.
That goal has caused this game to explode into life. Holt firstly tries a flick over his head, with his back to goal, but de Gea collects with ease. Then at the other end, Giggs crosses towards Welbeck, who is in acres of space in the box, but the England striker just can't reach the ball with head. His jump was miss-timed and the forward should have scored. Big miss!
Reaction from Goal.com's man at Carrow Road, George Ankers: "It's there! Just moments after David de Gea pulls off a fantastic save to deny a brilliant long effort from Aaron Wilbraham, it's that man Grant Holt who gets another vital goal against a big club for Norwich. The hosts have not given up all afternoon and it finally pays off, the burly striker showing heaps of strength to turn on a cross under pressure and hit it left-footed in one motion past the helpless goalkeeper. It's a brilliant way to equalise. Manchester United ... well, they simply haven't merited a lead for most of this game."
GOOOOAAAAAALLLL! Equaliser for Norwich! The big man Holt finishes on the turn!
SAVE from De Gea! Scholes of all people gives the ball straight to Aaron Wilbraham who forces the Spaniard to tip it out for a corner at full stretch. Important stop!
We're into the last ten minutes at Carrow Road and you can see another goal is this one, but I wouldn't like to call who it might go to.
Welbeck tries to beat Ruddy from distance but gets no power behing his effort and the ball trickles into the keeper's arms.
Our man George Ankers reports from the ground: "I may have been disparaging about him a moment ago but Aaron Wilbraham is causing Manchester United problems, holding play up and frustrating defenders. Norwich fans think they should have a penalty for a handball as Wes Hoolahan looks to take advantage of Wilbraham's work, but it seems optimistic at least."
Another claim for a spot-kick from the hosts, mainly from the crowd though. Wesley Hoolahan's cross struck Evra in the box but again the man in charge says no.
Shouts for a penalty from Norwich as Scholes nudges his man in the box, but the referee waves away the protests.
GIGGS goes close in his 900th appearance! Jones delivers from the right flank and the Welshman's flicked header fails to beat Ruddy as it strokes the bar. Unlucky.
Good opportunities are few and far between at the moment so both sides will need to capitalise on anything that comes their way, as we enter the last 20 minutes at Carrow Road.
Substitute Elliott Bennett floats a ball in from the right for the Canaries but De Gea collects it with an athletic dive.
Corner for Norwich from the left hand side but Fox's ball doesn't beat the first man.
OFF THE LINE! Welbeck finds himself in space of the left hand side of the Norwich box after a lovely one-two with Giggs. He then beats the out-rushing Ruddy with a neat flick however Whitbread is there to stop the goal.
Phil Jones crosses for United but Norwich defender Zak Whitbread gets it clear.
George Ankers from the ground: "Norwich seem to have remembered that they are a goal behind now and come forward again, Anthony Pilkington once more the man they look to to conjure something. He cuts inside from the right flank as is his wont and delivers, this time over the waiting Grant Holt in the area and out to Andrew Surman on the left, who attempts a shot on the volley. It's blocked, however. Manchester United, meanwhile, seem to be sleepwalking in the final third."
Johnson tries an audacious long range effort, but the left-footed strike is tame and bobbles wide of De Gea's goal. Ashley Young is getting ready to come on and inject something different for United.
Pilkington shows skill and strength to beat Evra on the right hand side for Norwich, however the midfielder's cross fails to find a team-mate.
Rio Ferdinand does well to break up a Norwich attack before winning a throw in, the Englishman hasn't put a foot wrong so far today.
Ferguson's men are nearly in behind with Welbeck but he decides to pass backwards and the ball eventually ends up with the back four. A very conserved start to the second half.
Yellow CardJonny Evans
Welbeck gives the ball straight to Surman in the middle of the park, United still not looking themselves today.
Our man George Ankers: "The second half is under way at Carrow Road and Norwich have signaled an intention to do things differently by introducing tricky Wes Hoolahan in place of Simeon Jackson. The strikers have not had an awful lot of the ball so far so a more withdrawn attacking presence could do the trick."
We're back underway at Carrow Road.
Goal.com's George Ankers has told me his thoughts on the first period, he reports from Carrow Road: "Half-time at Carrow Road. Both sides seemed to agree that 1-0 would do at the break, and so we enjoyed one of the quietest periods of the game to see us to the oranges and drinks. Manchester United really threatened to be a long way in front by this stage in the early minutes but Norwich have wrestled their way back in. The visitors surely have plenty more gears to move up through, though."
45' + 2'
HALF-TIME! After Scholes headed home for an early opener United have somewhat gone down a notch and allowed Norwich back into the game, for that reason Ferguson has the right to be disappointment with his side at the break. Lambert on the other hand can feel pleased with his players' spirit to fight back and they might have been level if it wasn't for a couple of good stops from De Gea.
45' + 1'
Nani's first touch is poor but he is still just able to keep the ball in on the right flank, he may as well have let the ball roll out though as his cross gathered by Ruddy with ease.
Two minutes of added time announced at Carrow Road.
The Red Devils are knocking the ball around the back nicely at the moment but when they go forward they lack any penetration, as Evra miss-hits a pass straight out for a goal-kick.
Welbeck, Nani and Jones try to combine to get United out of a corner, but Norwich end up winning a throw in.
Our man at Carrow Road, George Ankers: "The extent to which Manchester United are now slowing this game down in the hopes of keeping their 1-0 lead until half-time speaks volumes. Nani, in particular, has really gone off the boil."
Ferguson's side get their foot on the ball for a few minutes before their keeper kicks it straight out from the back, after that early breakthrough you might have thought United would be cruising by now. They're not.
Pilkington and Naughton link up brilliantly on the right flank before the latter provides a cross. The Norwich players appeal for handball as the defence clears, but Andre Marriner says no.
Surman tries an ambitious volley from outside the United area, to the excitement of the home crowd, but the attempt is blocked.
De Gea says anything you can do I can do better as his does very well to hold on to Holt's glancing header from close range, after Pilkington delivered excellently.
At the other end, Ruddy produces a good stop to prevent Hernandez adding to his impressive goal tally this season. The Mexican combined well with Welbeck again but couldn't generate enough power in the shot.
The home side hit another free kick into the United box, Lambert's men have scored 20 goals from crosses this season, which is the most in the league, they are clearly looking to add to that today with much said about De Gea's frailty in the United goal.
Norwich have a free kick which they fire in from the left, Jones manages to get an important header away. The hosts have responded very well to the Red Devils' opener, perhaps it was just what they needed to get going.
WHAT A SAVE! De Gea denies Pilkington with his foot. Kyle Naughton found the midfielder with a delicious ball, the Canaries man's touch is sublime but the Spanish stopper is, somehow, equal to it.
Lambert's men are now enjoying a prolonged spell of possession as they search for a way through the back line. The ball is tossed into the area towards Holt who beats the surrounding defenders but fails to test De Gea.
Fox puts it in again and it takes United a few attempts to get the ball clear, even the final header away only half extinguishes the danger as the ball falls to Surman, but the former Southampton man drags his shot wide.
Norwich have another free kick in a good area after a foul by Patrice Evra just yards outside the box.
David Fox delivers a free kick from the left sideline and there is an almighty goalmouth scramble before the ball is hacked out for a corner. More good pressure from the home side, although they make nothing of the corner.
Pilkington puts the ball into the visitors' box but Jonny Evans out-jumps Holt to header away. The home side are starting to settle into the game.
George Ankers at Carrow Road: "A great save from John Ruddy stops Norwich from going two down - not that they wouldn't deserve it. They are looking quite poor at the moment, Adam Drury in particular giving the ball away in really dangerous positions."
Fantastic SAVE by John Ruddy! Javier Hernandez advances down the right hand side of the Norwich box before cutting the ball back to his strike partner Danny Welbeck, he hits it first time and forces the keeper to tip wide at full stretch.
Andrew Surman gets the ball on the left flank and takes the initiative by running straight at the back-four, he does well to scamper past two before the ball is cleared.
As yet Norwich haven't really managed to get their foot on the ball, but when they have they are looking to get the ball up to their big man Grant Holt, who by the way has given away more fouls than anyone else in the Premier League this season (60).
Yellow CardBradley Johnson
It's going to be an uphill struggle for the hosts now after going a goal down so early on and Lambert's players are already getting frustrated with Nani's trickery as Bradley Johnson gets his name the book for a wild lunge on the Portuguese.
Our man at Carrow Road George Ankers describes that goal: "United settle down into some possession and Nani, who's already looked dangerous on the right flank, floats a reasonable but not fatal cross into the box. However, it is poorly dealt with by the Norwich defence who fail to get it away, and it instead carries on across the box on the bounce having been hit by a red shirt, and Paul Scholes is waiting at the far post to deposit a very simple finish."
GOOOAAAALLL! 1-0 to United, Scholes with a header from close range!
Paul Scholes pings a cross field ball to Nani whose touch is perfect, the winger's cross gets blocked but the ball falls to Phil Jones who whips it in at the second time of asking. Giggs is on the end of it but misses the target.
Great skill by Nani to collect the ball and skip past two men, as he breaks he feeds the ball forward to Ryan Giggs and then nearly receives the return after a stroke of luck from a deflection but can't quite reach it. Bright start.
Anthony Pilkington delivers a high cross from the right hand side which David de Gea collects well under pressure. The Spaniard passes his first test.
Norwich get us underway.
The teams are out and kick-off is imminent. Today's game may have been overshadowed in build-up terms by the north London derby, but let's hope we are in for a cracker with the visitors looking to close the gap between themselves and Manchester City.
Paul Lambert's men won last time the two clubs met at Carrow Road, 2-0 in 2005. If United lose today it will be the first time they have ever lost more than once to the same promoted club.
The Red Devils have lost just one out of their last 13 Premier League games on the road. 13 is also the number of times today's opponents have met before, with Ferguson's men only losing on one occasion.
The Canaries kept clean sheets in their last two league games at home, something they had not done once before.
Some match facts for you before kick-off...
Our man at the ground in George Ankers, he reports: "Good afternoon from Carrow Road. It seems like an age since I've been at this ground in the sun and (relative) warmth. Things have not stopped being bright over the winter period for Norwich, though. They're joint-second alongside today's opponents, Manchester United, in the Premier League form table, but you imagine that that record will take a bit of a dent today. The big news for many will be Ryan Giggs making his monumental 900th appearance for the Red Devils by starting today, but for me, it has to be the simply fabulous hairstyle sported by one of the local mascots being introduced to the crowd. A particularly adventurous 12-year-old is displaying a vivid, lurid lime green on the top of his barnet, with a greyish-silver bottom. It really is quite a start to proceedings."
Norwich City starting line-up: Ruddy; Naughton, Johnson, Ward Whitbread, Drury; Pilkington, Fox, Surman, Jackson; Holt, Subs: Steer, Morison, Crofts, Hoolahan, Bennett, Barnett, Wilbraham Manchester United starting line-up: De Gea; Jones, Evans, Ferdinand, Evra; Nani, Carrick, Scholes, Giggs; Welbeck, Hernandez Subs: Amos, Rafael, Smalling, Berbatov, Park, Young, Fabio
Sir Alex Ferguson hands Ryan Giggs his 900th appearance for the club, but Wayne Rooney misses out with illness. Teams in full coming up…
Hello and welcome to this afternoon's Premier League clash between Norwich City and Manchester United at Carrow Road. The hosts have the chance to go within a point of Liverpool if they win, as the Reds are involved in the League Cup final today.
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