REPORT: CITY 1-1 FULHAMNORWICH City and Fulham will play out an FA Cup Third Round replay after their clash at Carrow Road finished 1-1 on Saturday afternoon.
Darren Bent put the Cottagers' in front six minutes before half-time, but Robert Snodgrass' diving header from the impressive Josh Murphy's cross levelled things up just before half-time.
David Stockdale's superb save denied Ricky van Wolfswinkel as City pressed for a winner, but both sides face the prospect of a replay on either Tuesday January 14 or Wednesday January 15 at Craven Cottage.
City made eight changes to the team before kick-off, most notably with Murphy making his first start for the Canaries and van Wolfswinkel returning up front.
David Fox also made his first appearance of the season after returning from a loan spell at Barnsley, while youngsters Jacob Murphy, Reece Hall-Johnson and Adel Gafaiti were named among the substitutes.
Fulham fielded Clint Dempsey for his second debut for the Cottagers after returning on loan – only five players survived from the team that won 2-1 at Carrow Road on Boxing Day.
Fox’s shot on 12 minutes lead to the game’s first opportunity – his effort was actually blocked, with the ball falling to Johan Elmander, but the Sweden striker pulled his drive just wide of the post.
Mark Bunn – making his fourth appearance of the season – had to be at full stretch three minutes later to deny Alex Kacaniklic after Russell Martin had blocked his original shot.
City were the better team in general play but after Martin Olsson had a shot deflected wide, Bunn had to be sharp to deny Bent up the other end just before Kacaniklic fizzed a shot off target.
The wayward shooting continued as Steven Whittaker blazed over ten minutes before the break, but the livewire Murphy did force a parry from David Stockdale moments later.
Fulham then got the game’s first goal on 39 minutes – the Canaries defence allowed Chris David too much time to cross from the left, and Bent beat the advancing Bunn to the ball and managed to nod it into the empty net.
The Cottagers had Stockdale to thank for preserving their lead just two minutes on as he tipped van Wolfswinkel’s half-volley around the post after Fox’s superb pass over the top.
City got their leveller on the stroke of half-time, though, and it owed much to the adventure of Murphy as he skipped by Elsad Zverotic before delivering a cross into the six-yard box.
There was Snodgrass, stooping low with the diving header which squirmed underneath Stockdale before creeping over the line – the last action of the half.
HALF-TIME: Norwich City 1-1 Fulham
Murphy continued from where he left off, nudging a shot wide after another advance into the box, before Olsson drilled in a cross from the left that was just out of the reach of van Wolfswinkel.
The Dutch international did reach Javier Garrido’s cross moments later, and he would have had given the Canaries the lead but for a remarkable save down to his right from Stockdale.
Murphy was bundled down 25 yards from goal on 67 minutes, and Snodgrass’ set-piece looked to be threatening the goal but flew just wide.
Chris Hughton introduced Nathan Redmond for Johan Elmander with 20 minutes to go, but they were fortunate on 78 when Dan Burn couldn’t connect effectively with his head from David’s corner.
Jacob Murphy replaced his twin to make his senior debut for the Canaries, and he almost made had a similar impact to Josh when he powered a shot at goal from just outside the box that flew wide.
Up the other end, Snodgrass conceded a foul on Ange Freddy Plumain on the corner of the area – thankfully City eventually cleared and the tie concluded, with a replay imminent later this month.
FULL-TIME: Norwich City 1-1 Fulham
GOALS: Norwich City: Robert Snodgrass (45) - Fulham: Darren Bent (39)
NORWICH CITY: Bunn; Whittaker, R Bennett, Martin (c), Olsson; Fox, Snodgrass, Garrido; Elmander (Redmond 68), Josh Murphy (Jacob Murphy 80), van Wolfswinkel. Subs not used: Ruddy (GK), Hooper, Becchio, Hall-Johnson, Gafaiti.
FULHAM: Stockdale; Zverotic, Burn, Hughes (c), Amorebieta (Riise 70); David, Boateng (Vigen Christensen 70); Kačaniklić (Plumain 45), Dempsey, Kasami; Bent. Subs not used: Joronen (GK), Dejagah, Rodallega, Dembele.