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18:44 31st December 2011


CITY'S super-subs combined to salvage a precious point for the Canaries against a resolute Fulham side, as Simeon Jackson's excellent header from Elliott Bennett's cross deep into injury time earned a dramatic 1-1 draw.

Fulham controlled the first half and took the lead in only the seventh minute, when Orlando Sa's crisp finish from the edge of the area put them in the driving seat.

But City reshuffled after the break and were rejuvenated, hammering away at the Cottagers' door until the fourth minute of injury time when Jackson struck to raise the roof at Carrow Road.

Manager Paul Lambert told Canaries Player afterwards: "It was brilliant. I thought we were relentless in the second-half, and I thought we played well in bits in the first-half, but we couldn't get the breakthrough.

"We lost a poor goal though, which I thought was too easy.

"Then we got a great goal though and the lads deserve unbelievable credit for what they have done, they've got a huge point for us."

Before the game Lambert made four changes to the team which started in the 2-0 defeat against Spurs at Carrow Road on Tuesday.

Kyle Naughton and Daniel Ayala came in to the defence, replacing Adam Drury and Ritchie De Laet respectively. Meanwhile the City boss opted to start with Steve Morison as lone striker, with Grant Holt dropping to the bench and Anthony Pilkington and Bradley Johnson coming in to bolster the midfield.

But it was Fulham who made the brighter start with some crisp passing and it took them just seven minutes to stun Carrow Road with a well-crafted opener. It came when Moussa Dembele surged past Johnson before finding Sa on the edge of the City box, the Portuguese player turning well before firing past Ruddy into the corner.

Within a few minutes they nearly made it two, Sa shooting towards the bottom corner only for Naughton to get back and hack the ball away from the foot of the post.

City fought back and were inches away from an equaliser in the 13th minute when Surman squared across the edge of the area and Johnson's daisy-cutter was deflected just past the post.

From the resulting flurry of corners, Norwich saw Stockdale desperately clawing Zak Whitbread header onto the post and then Morison was twice denied by blocks on the line from the frantic Cottagers 'keeper and defenders.

In the 20th minute John Arne Riise hit a trademark piledriver free-kick from distance but thankfully for Norwich it flashed wide. At the other end Pilkington showed good positivity with a well-struck effort in the 25th minute which deflected behind.

Fulham themselves were desperately unlucky not to extend their lead in the 33rd minute, when leading scorer Dempsey flicked on Sa's header but it crashed back off the crossbar.

The Cottagers were looking very dangerous on the break and Frei was the next to go close, sprinting clear of the City defence before shooting goalwards, Ruddy diving to his left to palm the effort away.

Wes Hoolahan was having a busy game for the Canaries and in the 40th minute tried his luck with a speculative 30-yard shot which dipped a couple of yards over Stockdale's bar.

Norwich City 0, Fulham 1

At the break Lambert decided to make a tactical change, with Grant Holt joining the attack to replace midfielder David Fox.

The change seemed to give Fulham a bit more to think about and in the 57th minute the ball fell to Pilkington after good work by Morison on the left, but his shot from 14 yards was charged down. A minute later Naughton twisted clear on the left and blazed a fierce drive against the crossbar.

Pilkington had another half-chance in the 62nd minute, striking a useful effort narrowly over and then Naughton's low shot was narrowly wide of the post as City continued to press for an equaliser.

With just over 20 minutes of normal time remaining Lambert made another change, Jackson coming on for Morison. Within a couple of minutes City had carved out another chance as Surman's blast whizzed wide of the post.

There was a final flurry of substitutions with ten minutes to go as Duff and Sidwell replaced Frei and Sa for the visitors while Bennett entered the fray for City, replacing Pilkington.

As the clock ticked away Jackson's angled effort was palmed away by Stockdale and just out of the path of the on-rushing Holt while Whitbread's decent header from a deep free-kick was well claimed by the Fulham stopper.

In the 89th minute two of the subs nearly combined to create an equaliser, Bennett whipping in a superb ball which Holt met with a header which was just over the bar.

But we all know this Norwich City side never, ever gives up and their relentless endeavour in the second half was finally rewarded in the fourth of five minutes of injury time when Bennett's clever cut inside and pinpoint cross was headed home in style by Jackson.

Final score:
Norwich City 1, Fulham 1

Ruddy, Martin, Johnson, Morison (Jackson 69), Whitbread, Surman, Pilkington (Bennett 80), Hoolahan (c), Fox (Holt 46), Naughton, Ayala. Subs not used: Rudd, Crofts, Barnett, Wilbraham.
Stockdale, Kelly, Riise, Hangeland, Sa (Sidwell 80), Ruiz, Murphy (c) (Etuhu 65), Senderos, Frei (Duff 80), Dempsey, Dembele. Subs not used: Etheridge, Baird, Kasami, Hughes.

Howard Webb

    Data provided by Press Association


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