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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
05:54 17th July 2013

Canaries undone by Rodallega goal.

A FIRST-HALF goal from Hugo Rodallega was enough to see Fulham take the points at Craven Cottage with a 1-0 victory.

The Canaries battled hard and had seen several good opportunities denied, Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Leroy Fer both thwarted by excellent saves from Fulham goalkeeper David Stockdale and a Robert Snodgrass free-kick hitting the bar. 

But it was the Colombian's 40th-minute goal from a Lewis Holty set-piece which proved the difference and saw Fulham take all three points as the two sides met in a critical relegation battle.

Neil Adams made six changes to the side from last weekend's defeat to West Brom at Carrow Road.

Into the starting eleven came Michael Turner and Leroy Fer for the first time for weeks both having suffered hamstring injuries - Turner injured against Crystal Palace on New Year's Day, and Fer missing since the beginning of March.

Steven Whittaker, Bradley Johnson, Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Nathan Redmond also named in the first eleven - with City in a diamond formation.

The game kicked off with all other Barclays Premier League fixtures at 3.07pm to pay respects to those fans who died in the Hillsborough disaster 25 years ago - a minute's silence took place ahead of the match.

The opening exchanges saw Kasami with a dragged shot wide and then on six minutes Stockdale had to be alert to push away Redmond's angled drive from the right, conceding the first corner of the match.

Jonny Howson then did well to take a Steven Whittaker cross and hit a shot, but John Heitinga got his body in the way and it rebounded away for another corner.

On 13 minutes Fulham responded through Hugo Rodallega who made a run down the right and placed his shot across goal and wide of the far post.

The Colombian forward then had an opportunity to get on the end of a cross but his header was not strong enough to trouble Ruddy who collected comfortably.

The game was opening up with both teams looking to attack but both defences managing to just get that all-important touch.

The best chance of the game so far fell to the Canaries when Martin Olsson's ball was met by van Wolsfwinkel but David Stockdale pulled off a marvellous stop to deny the Dutchman. The corner then came in and the former England youngster pulled off yet another save to deny Fer this time and Jonny Howson could only hit the rebound just wide.

Just after the half-hour the Canaries were awarded a free-kick. Fer was initially booked for taking the set-piece too early, but Snodgrass then stepped up and curled a great effort which agonisingly hit the crossbar and bounced out for a goal-kick.

Fulham had two corners with 10 minutes of the half to play - both taken short and Amorebieta just heading the second over the bar.

But on 40 minutes Fulham were ahead through Rodallega. The hosts were awarded a free-kick far left when Mike Dean adjudged Steven Whittaker to have fouled Kieran Richardson and the ball was lofted in by Lewis Holtby for the striker to hit home from close range.

Just before the break there was a stoppage as Martin Olsson received treatment after being clattered by a strong challenge.

Half-time: Fulham 1, Norwich City 0

City had a good spell in the opening exchanges - Snodgrass and Fer playing a one-two on the edge of the area but the Dutchman's shot was straight at Stockdale who collected. Rodallega then had an opportunity to extend Fulham's lead when he headed a corner goalwards only for Olsson to deny him on the line.

The Swede was then heavily involved at the other end when he broke into the box to latch onto a Johnson pass, but his touch took him across the area and although Snodgrass raced in, his attempt to bundle the ball home was denied by several Fulham defenders and the referee awarded a goalkick.

City's first change came on the hour when van Wolfswinkel was replaced by Gary Hooper. 

The Canaries were continuing to press and Neil Adams looked to make another offensive change bringing on Wes Hoolahan for Fer after 68 minutes, while Felix Magath looked to shore up his midfield with England international Scott Parker replacing Holtby.

On 73 minutes Hoolhan found Hooper on the edge of the box and his shot was deflected over the bar for a corner. Snodgrass' delivery was then met by Turner but Rodallega got a decisive header which turned it crucially round the post as it looked to be sneaking in at the far post.

Four minutes later and Ruddy was called into action making a good low stop from Steve Sidwell.  

With eleven minuets left of the game came the final substitution from Neil Adams Jonny Howson being replaced by Josh Murphy.

And it ws Murphy who the ball fell to just outside of the area, but although he got good contact on the ball his curling effort just went the wrong side of the post.

With five minutes left Fulham made their final change and then were awarded a free-kick right on the edge of City's penalty area - but Dejagah didn't make the most of the opportunity and hit the ball straight against the wall and the ball was cleared.

The Canaries were continuing to push forward but risked being caught on the break and Snodgrass received a booking late on for preventing a Fulham attack.

Full-time: Fulham 1, Norwich City 0

Norwich City: Ruddy, Martin (c), Whittaker, Johnson, Turner, Snodgrass, Howson (Josh Murphy 79), van Wolfswinkel (Hooper 60), Fer (Hoolahan 68), Redmond, Olsson. Subs not used: Bunn, Garrido, R. Bennett, Tettey. 

Fulham: Stockdale, Heitinga, Hangeland (c), Sidwell, Kasami (Dejagah 58), Diarra (Kvist 84), Holtby (Parker 68), Richardson, Rodallega, Riether, Amorebieta. Subs not used: Stekelnburg, Arne Riise, Roberts, Bent

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