Fulham knock Canaries off perch
Fulham move above Norwich with home win
Last Updated: 01/04/12 12:43am
Fulham leapfrogged Norwich into eleventh place with a 2-1 win at Craven Cottage.
Miss of the match: Howson had a chance to pull one back for Norwich but blazed it high. The ex-Leeds man is yet to score for his new team.
Moment of the match: Howson will be kicking himself about the miss. Norwich would have stayed out of the relegation zone with a draw.
Save of the match: Schwarzer was a safe pair of hands all game. He commanded his box and Norwich's threat in the air was stamped out all afternoon.
Talking point: Fulham move above Norwich with the win and take a big step in securing their Premier League status for another season. Norwich need to be more clinical if they are to stay up.
The Londoners extend their run of taking all three points when they open the scoring to 21 games as they go level with Norwich on 39 points but move above them on goal difference.
An early goal from Clint Dempsey after just two minutes set the game up for Fulham, who dominated the play.
A slick move and crisp finish from Damien Duff doubled their advantage on 13 minutes.
Substitute Aaron Wilbraham pulled one back for Norwich but despite their pressure and good play the Canaries could not find the crucial leveller.
Fulham broke forward as Bryan Ruiz latched onto a long ball, turned and saw a low drive saved by goalkeeper John Ruddy, whose parry fell kindly for Dempsey to bundle home.
That was the American's 10th goal in all competitions this year and Fulham increased their lead in the 13th minute.
Again the Canaries were caught out by a quick surge forward as Dempsey slotted the ball through to Duff, who curled home a left-footed effort from inside the box.
Elliott Ward picked up the game's first booking for a challenge on Ruiz in the midst of the Cottagers' dominance and there were calls from the home faithful for the Norwich centre-back's dismissal after he was adjudged to have taken down Pavel Pogrebnyak minutes later.
The Russia international looked to have picked up a knock in the clash and was replaced in the 35th minute by debutant Alex Kacaniklic.
Only the goal frame and a last-ditch Ryan Bennett block prevented Fulham taking an unassailable lead on the stroke of half-time as Dempsey hit the post from an acute angle and Moussa Dembele saw his follow-up deflected behind.
Norwich tightened up in the second half and pushed hard for a goal, with Mark Schwarzer doing well to stop a Wes Hoolahan drive before Aaron Hughes brilliantly blocked Andrew Surman.
Moments after substitute Wilbraham shot wide from a good position, he made amends by reducing the deficit in the 77th minute as his effort deflected in off Hughes, but Fulham held on.
|Fulham||Team Statistics||Norwich City|
|2||1st Half Goals||0|
|8||Shots on Target||4|
|4||Shots off Target||8|
|35.3||1st Half Poss.||64.7|
|41.6||2nd Half Poss.||58.4|
Barclays Premier League
|10||West Ham United||28||31|
|17||West Bromwich Albion||27||25|