Brazilian nods in from a corner and young striker seals the game late-on, but the Premier League champions were a touch fortunate to take the points as Canaries wasted good chances
The Premier League newboys defended solidly for much of the game, and caused home side plenty of trouble on the counter attack, both early on in the game and in a period midway through the second half as the match was finely poised.
In truth, the Canaries probably should have taken all three points back to the east of England, but their finishing in front of goal was far too wasteful at a ground where mistakes go punished more frequently than most.
As the first-half progressed Norwich looked fairly assured, though United was getting more and more time on the ball and looking to find gaps in the Canaries' defense with Nani, Wayne Rooney and Anderson the playmakers in chief, though they were failing to find a way deal with Norwich's defense.
Norwich's resolute defending and counter-attacking were serving it very well as the match went into the break all square.
In the 52nd minute, Norwich almost took the lead as Morison held off a challenge from Jonny Evans before charging goalwards. As he got towards the byline, Phil Jones made a fabulous effort to get across and block the attempted cross.
The United players' frustration was clear to see, and Sir Alex Ferguson made the first move of the match, with Ryan Giggs and Danny Welbeck replacing Nani and Chicharito, who had both been rather disappointing.
And almost straight after the substitution, Norwich really should have been in front.
A quick break from the Canaries led to Pilkington chasing down Antonio Valenica in the right-back position, and the Ecuadorian player made a hash of it, gifting the ball to the winger, who bore down on goal, only to slot it wide as the Norwich bench seemed ready to explode.
And only minutes later, Norwich was made to pay a heavy, heavy price as United found the lead through Anderson.
A Giggs corner was headed back in at the far-post and again in the center by Rooney, and the Brazilian rose unmarked to nod the ball past John Ruddy and two defenders on the goal-line.
It was a touch harsh on the visitors who had defended soundly for over an hour, but no more than United deserved for its barrage on the Norwich goal.
With 15 minutes to go, Pilkington came as close as he ever will to scoring at Old Trafford without finding the net. His driven shot after a corner took a deflection off Anderson and bounced high off the inside of the post and back down into the arms of the grateful Lindegaard.
And as Norwich pushed more men forwards in search of an equalizer, it was almost inevitable that the champions would find gaps in the defense.
With two minutes to go, United broke through Rooney, and his pass put Ji-Sung Park clear, before the Korean unselfishly squared for Welbeck to apply the finishing touch.
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