Aaron Wilbraham’s first Premier League goal was not enough to salvage a point for Norwich City as they slipped to their third successive away defeat at Craven Cottage.

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City were two goals down inside 13 minutes as Clint Dempsey and Damien Duff gave Fulham a flying start.

Dempsey scored after less than two minutes after goalkeeper John Ruddy parried a shot from Bryan Ruiz.

And City were caught cold again as Duff made it 2-0 when he finished off Dempsey’s well-judged pass.

Jonny Howson missed a golden chance to reduce the arrears before the break, but the Canaries produced a much better second-half performance and although Fulham could have made the game safe on several occasions, Paul Lambert’s men were back in with a shout when Wilbraham, on for Steve Morison, struck after 77 minutes.

The substitute’s powerful shot from Hoolahan’s pass took a deflection off Aaron Hughes on its way past Mark Schwarzer.

City’s late rally failed to deliver an equaliser, however, despite four minutes of added time.

Defender Ryan Bennett was handed his debut for the Canaries as one of four changes to the team that started the 2-1 win over Wolves.

The reported £3m-plus signing from Peterborough was included after making his first reserve team appearance in the 5-1 defeat by Fulham at Colney on Tuesday.

There were recalls for Kyle Naughton, who played the second half against Wolves, and Andrew Surman, while Steve Morison returned in attack.

Skipper Grant Holt was serving a one-match ban, while Simon Lappin was left out of the 18. Elliott Bennett and Simeon Jackson were relegated to the substitutes’ bench.

Anthony Pilkington was ruled out for the second week running by a hamstring injury.

Fulham showed two changes to the eleven who started Monday’s 1-0 defeat at Manchester United, with Bryan Ruiz and Danny Murphy returning at the expense of Mahamadou Diarra and Kerim Frei, both of whom were on the bench.

Ex-Canary midfielder Dickson Etuhu was among the substitutes, along with Swedish winger Alex Kacaniklic, recalled from his loan at Watford.

Up to 5,000 City supporters made the trip to the capital, hoping for a better experience than the 6-0 defeat that condemned their side to relegation from the top flight seven years earlier.

But they didn’t enjoy the greatest start as Fulham went ahead in only the second minute through Dempsey.

An involved passing move from City broke down when Ryan Bennett’s forward ball was returned first time and Ruiz got away from Ward to fire in a shot that Ruddy parried, but Dempsey followed up to knock in the rebound for his 19th goal of the season, and Fulham’s first in four matches.

The Canaries, playing with three at the back and with Russell Martin and Naughton as wing-backs, forced a couple of corners in quick succession, defender Bennett heading over from Fox’s kick.

A neat interchange between Hoolahan and Howson opened a gap on the right side of the Fulham defence, but Morison sent a poor cross out of play.

Things went from bad to worse for City in the 13th minute when Duff extended Fulham’s lead.

Dempsey was the architect with the perfect pass for Duff, who escaped the attentions of Naughton and beat Ruddy with a left-foot shot that the keeper got a hand to, but could not keep out.

Home fans responded with the chant of “We want six” and Fulham threatened again when Dembele found space for a shot that deflected off Ward but bounced into Ruddy’s hands.

Ward was shown the yellow card after 26 minutes, the first of the afternoon, for a foul on Ruiz.

Ward earned another word from referee Taylor when Pogrebnyak went down on the touchline and needed treatment but there seemed no obvious foul and he was angry with the decision.

The goalscorers combined well when Dempsey headed over from a Duff cross as the hosts continued to dominate.

There was a rare half-chance when Ryan Bennett headed back Surman’s corner and Ward shot wide, but City had made little headway.

Ten minutes before the break, Pogrebnyak, still feeling the effects of that knock, made way for Kacaniklic.

Howson missed a golden chance to reduce the arrears after 38 minutes when Surman played him into a shooting position, but he poked his shot left-footed across the face of the goal.

Then Whitbread tried his luck from distance but Schwarzer dived to make the save.

Fulham should have made it 3-0 two minutes before the break when Dembele set up Dempsey, whose shot hit the post and rebounded to Dembele, but his follow-up effort was blocked by Ryan Bennett as he slid in.

In first-half stoppage time, Surman flashed a 20-yard drive wide from Hoolahan’s pass.

• Half-time: Fulham 2, Norwich City 0

At the restart, City brought on a striker for a defender as Jackson replaced Whitbread. They reverted to a conventional back four with Bennett and Ward in the centre.

Kacaniklic almost made it 3-0 three minutes after the break, recovering well from a slip as he escaped Russell Martin’s attentions and curling in a right foot shot that Ruddy tipped on to the bar.

There was a delay as Murphy received treatment after landing badly as he jumped for a header with Hoolahan.

Hoolahan almost reduced the arrears by forcing Schwarzer to dive to his left to save after Morison had nodded down Bennett’s long ball, and as Surman followed up the rebound from a tight angle, Hughes got in an important block.

Fox was booked for a challenge on Dembele that brought more derision from an intolerant home crowd.

A foul by Murphy on Hoolahan gave City a free-kick and Surman’s effort was deflected out for a corner. Surman took it but Bennett headed over.

Only an excellent challenge by Bennett prevented Kelly adding goal number three as he moved on to a ball from Ruiz.

Hughes missed a good opportunity moments later when he shot over from Dembele’s pass.

Riise was next to let fly from the left, but Ruddy made an important save.

City made a second change midway through the half when Wilbraham was sent on for Morison.

Fulham replaced skipper Murphy with Diarra with 20 minutes to go.

With a quarter of an hour left, Wilbraham missed a reasonable opportunity when he pulled his shot across goal after Surman and Naughton combined well.

But after 77 minutes, substitute Wilbraham did reduce the arrears to set up a potentially exciting finish.

A determined run by Hoolahan took the ball to the left of the Fulham area and Wilbraham cut inside on to his right foot to shoot past Schwarzer via a wicked deflection off Hughes.

Etuhu entered the fray as Fulham made their final change, replacing Ruiz with eight minutes to go. Shortly afterwards, Elliott Bennett replaced Fox for City.

Etuhu was swiftly booked for a foul on Hoolahan as City kept up their late assault.

Russell Martin was then the victim of a heavy challenge by Etuhu as the seconds ticked away.

• Result: Fulham 2, Norwich City 1

• Fulham: Schwarzer; Kelly, Hangeland, Hughes, Riise; Ruiz (Etuhu, 82), Dembele, Murphy (Diarra, 71), Dempsey, Duff; Pogrebnyak (Kacaniklic, 35). Subs (not used): Stockdale, Senderos, Frei, Trotta.

• Norwich City: Ruddy; Ryan Bennett, Ward, Whitbread (Jackson, 45); Russell Martin, Howson, Fox (Elliott Bennett, 84), Surman, Naughton; Hoolahan; Morison (Wilbraham, 68). Subs (not used): Steer, Drury, Crofts, Bradley Johnson.

• Referee: Anthony Taylor (Manchester)

• Attendance: 25,700

• Goals: Fulham: Dempsey (2), Duff (13). City: Wilbraham (77)

• Bookings: Fulham: Etuhu (88). City: Ward (26), Fox (54)

27 comments

  • 2 points.............................................................1) you cant give anybody a 2 goal start in this division 2) It has become more and more obvious, that Norwich has a desperate need to sign a striker in the next close season. Morrison, despite his early season goals is just not a premier league quality striker. Lambert plays him in that lone striker role because we have nobody else, whilst Vaughan is injured. Take Holt, our only threatening striker, out of the equation, and we were always going to struggle. Thank God for that early season purple patch, because on current form, we are relegation fodder.

    Report this comment

    Algarve Canary

    Saturday, March 31, 2012

  • Oops, I think I've just been ethered for my Chicken Licken story !

    Report this comment

    Dubai Canary

    Sunday, April 1, 2012

  • Congratulations to Wilby for losing his Premier League cherry

    Report this comment

    Swiss Canary

    Sunday, April 1, 2012

  • Turn the record over 'voice of the Ipswich Fans' We were going to get the lowest ever points score this season according to your drivel! If Morison had not been on the pitch we would have won this game easily. We were the better team despite what MOTD made it look like. Howson had a good game too but thanks for your input 'horseoutside' You clearly didn't go!

    Report this comment

    baguio

    Sunday, April 1, 2012

  • Sorry Billy but I can honestly say that Wilbraham deserves a place ahead of Moro. In fact, I deserve a place ahead of Moro! If I never see him pull on a Norwich shirt again it will be too soon. Playing on your own up front requires lots of hard work and effort. None of the above was forthcoming from Moro. Lazy Waste of space. I can forgive someone who misses chances as at least he made the effort to get in the position to miss. Wilbraham did that as did Howson. Wilbraham and Jackson should have started without a doubt but Wilbraham up front from the start would have given us a forward option. The midfield players are being made to look bad because they dare not pass forward to Moro as they know that it will come straight back! And Wilbraham has had no chances up to now to prove himself so can't be blamed for not scoring before either!

    Report this comment

    baguio

    Sunday, April 1, 2012

  • We've got some some fantastic players and a fantastic team spirit. I am confident we will finish in the middle third, although PL needs to quickly realise that we are not going to score the goals to achieve this by playing Morison up front on his own - he's too lazy. Holt and either Wilbraham or Jackson for me against Everton.

    Report this comment

    Mellow_Yellow

    Monday, April 2, 2012

  • We need to punish mistakes in the way Fulham did with our two blunders. Ruddy on balance has saved us more times than he has cost us and Naughton got caught for the second playing wing back when he needed to be at full backLambert is stil building te hsquad and I would rather the occasional blip taking a risk than getting haamered playing safe. A couple more points would be nivce though.

    Report this comment

    Pondlife

    Sunday, April 1, 2012

  • Just got back. Useless, utterly useless. Our manager is truly hopeless and tactically unaware. What on earth was he playing at with that formation??! We all know it doesn't work, but the fool still persists. We might just about have enough points to stay up this year (more by luck than judgement) but the way it is looking we're gonna get relegated next year with the lowest points total ever. We've been found out and our manager hasn't got a clue what to do about it. Shambert Out!!! Ged - Voice of the Fans.

    Report this comment

    Ged Steroo

    Saturday, March 31, 2012

  • Stranger things have happened, JB. Signs of life around the trapdoor and I cannot forget 1995. We should be able to get points from Villa, Everton and Liverpool. Blackburn away, maybe? Disastrous start to the game. Always chasing it. Do we depend too much on Holty for inspiration? One more win and I might stop worrying! OTBC.

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    Mad Brewer

    Saturday, March 31, 2012

  • Just back from the game. Disappointing start but after that we dominated.For the second week running 3 at the back has not worked andf had to be changed at half time. Shame Howson missed a good chance late in first half. Morisson very disappointing - almpst looks disnterested - but Ryan Bennett looks the real deal - class act. Him and Zak should be the pair. No Holt = no real threat!! Still not 'home and hosed - 2 or 3 points still needed.

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    Kent Anglian

    Saturday, March 31, 2012

  • First half too static and not enough running off the ball, we showed slick passing without any cutting edge whatsoever. The changes made all the difference. I feel sorry for Morison, what does he bring to the party. Why doesn't he do something about it. Howson and Ryan Bennett look good. The only good thing is that it reminds Mr Lambert that investment is definitely required.

    Report this comment

    Lobbo

    Saturday, March 31, 2012

  • Lack of ideas up front without Holt. Jackson played his socks off but Morison may as well have not been on the pitch - useless - give him away for free to Ipswich. Another game where we should have picked up points, but due to PL's inability to recognise the obvious we have come away with nothing.

    Report this comment

    Mellow_Yellow

    Saturday, March 31, 2012

  • I am sorry but what was Lambert doing playing 3 at the back and 3 centre backs. Whitbread cannot pass the ball and it was obvious after 10 mins that whilst we had loads of possession there was no width or goal threat with this formation.

    Report this comment

    Cap Canary

    Sunday, April 1, 2012

  • .. second half performance and formation from the start and it may all have been different. JB isnt it cold water ??.So now it all comes down to easter and as Wes is the Easter egg who is gonna be our Easter bunny?. and I have to agree with Mad that we should have had Jackson and Wilbraham on from the start. Commentary gave us another unhappy Morison performance.

    Report this comment

    wivenhoebudgie

    Saturday, March 31, 2012

  • I get fed up of taking the time to write good constructive comments to be told there is no need to re summit and then it never appears

    Report this comment

    Lobbo

    Saturday, March 31, 2012

  • Chicken Licken - I like it! The sky hasn't fallen in quite yet.

    Report this comment

    Swiss Canary

    Monday, April 2, 2012

  • At the start of the season if someone told you if NCFC were 12th in the table and 11pts clear from the bottom with 7 games to go, would you take that? I know I sure would. But saying that, I am a bit nervous now. Hope we can pick up 4 or 5 more pts.

    Report this comment

    ImDrunky

    Monday, April 2, 2012

  • I agree ImD, I would have taken that at the start of the season. We will be ok. I feel that Lambert is experimenting a bit at the moment. However, it didn't work. Neither wing back looked particularly comfortable and weren't able to supply the width in the first half. Naughton, is not used to being a wing back, and he is on the wrong side. I'm not sure the cb's were comfortable either with the formation, for example Whitbread got drawn too far into the middle for their 2nd when he should have been closer to Naughton. Allied to that we had no pace going forward in the first half. Consequently, all our very nice passing and interplay was done in the middle of the park in front of Fulham. Things did improve in the second half when Jackson came on and gave us the pace to be able to get behind them. I do not think we deserved a point from the game, because despite our pressure in the 2nd half Fulham had the better chances. I don't think Morrison had his best game and is clearly off form, but I also don't blame him for this result as we weren't really getting crosses into him to attack. Let's hope we play a different system against Everton and finally get the points on the board.

    Report this comment

    Preston Canary

    Monday, April 2, 2012

  • I said to some Fulham fans in the pub before the game that if Morison started the game Fulham would win and what do we know. Quite the worst performance I have ever seen by a Norwich player in years. By constrast, as soon as Wilbraham came on we looked like we had a chance. By by Morison. If you can't be bothered to try then you don't deserve to wear the shirt! Sorry to be so negative but I honestly believe that If Morison had not played today we would have won this game. We out played Fulham for long periods but with no attacking threat we were never going to win. The rest of the guys played well by the way. Naughton was top top class again!

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    baguio

    Saturday, March 31, 2012

  • I wish we`d started with Wilby & Jacko. I hope Zak`s not injured. Funny goings on at the foot of the table. It`s not over yet....... Good 2nd half revival. OTBC.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Saturday, March 31, 2012

  • Howson is absolute rubbish

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    horseoutside

    Saturday, March 31, 2012

  • sunday, sun shining and feeling positive we will whup Everton, and put all our nasty little dark thoughts to bed.Now Steve Morison had a great first half of a season so where may it have gone wrong, i hope he hasnt been got at by little people[agents] at Wales get togethers telling him he can do better than us??! Still Mr Holt for our player of the season, but interesting for runner up, John R or andrew S

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    wivenhoebudgie

    Sunday, April 1, 2012

  • what is going on here?why all this negativity ?we narrowly lost a football match,nobody died.if we can turn our brilliant approach play into goals we will be fine.one problem is when we get to the final third we turn back to often.we need to get in more thro balls,and when players are running down the wings,dont stop and pass the ball back,but try to get passed the backs and cut balls in from the byline.defenders find it more difficult to deal with.so come on you pessimists,cheer up.all will be well.

    Report this comment

    bluelight

    Sunday, April 1, 2012

  • I so don't want to be too negative, since it was a much better effort than last time. But I fear too many fans just want a couple of players to be good. I know Howson looks promising, but he also had a golden opportunity earlier in the game to pull one back, and our goals to the midfield player didn't convert, not for the first time! And as for Wilbraham, you can't honestly say he deserves a place ahead of Morison, that's his first goal for Norwich for who knows how long, and it was deflected. Moro had the thankless task again of being up front on his own in a 5 at the back formation, near impossible! R.Bennett looked good though, instinctive block, however his poor distribution, which is a recurring problem in our back 4, did cost us the first goal.

    Report this comment

    Billy

    Sunday, April 1, 2012

  • Please tell me we won't have to beat Villa to stay up...Liking the look of Bennett. We need 4 more points!

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    JMH

    Saturday, March 31, 2012

  • Chicken Little 'Jed' is back !! Great result against Barnsley wasn't it CL ? Up to 14th now - fantastico !! I don't know what is wrong - maybe the sky os falling in - but apparently he slags 1p5wich off too as Rob Steroo - or - maybe that's his county cousin Chicken Licken ? Good work - we are all convinced - follow the chicken leg-end !!

    Report this comment

    Dubai Canary

    Sunday, April 1, 2012

  • Dont want to pour hot water on anything but looking at the remaining fixtures and we will do well to pick up 2 points, if there are too many days like today 41 points might not be enough. hope i am wrong PL.

    Report this comment

    JB

    Saturday, March 31, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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