Saturday 31 March 2012, 3:00pm at Craven Cottage, London
Barclays Premier League
Fulham FC
Dempsey 2'; Duff 13'
Norwich City
Norwich City
Wilbraham 77'

2' Goal

Clint Dempsey

13' Goal

Damien Duff
Assist by Clint Dempsey

88' Yellow Card

Dickson Etuhu Card was given for a foul

36' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Alexander Kacaniklic
Off:Pavel Pogrebnyak

71' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Mahamadou Diarra
Off:Danny Murphy

83' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Dickson Etuhu
Off:Bryan Ruiz

77' Goal

Aaron Wilbraham
Assist by Wes Hoolahan

26' Yellow Card

Elliott Ward Card was given for a foul

54' Yellow Card

David Fox Card was given for a foul

45' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Simeon Jackson
Off:Zak Whitbread

68' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Aaron Wilbraham
Off:Steve Morison

84' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Elliott Bennett
Off:David Fox

Goals from Clint Dempsey and Damien Duff saw off the Canaries and gave Fulham a deserved victory at Craven Cottage.

Fulham manager Martin Jol made two changes to his starting eleven to face Norwich City on Saturday, with Captain Danny Murphy and Bryan Ruiz replacing Mahamadou Diarra and Kerim Frei respectively.

Jol also handed Development Squad player Alex Kacaniklic his first outing in Fulham’s matchday squad following his successful loan spell with Watford. The Swedish winger featurrf on Fulham’s substitutes bench alongside two other notable youth talents from the Club’s Academy, Kerim Frei and Marcello Trotta.

Having suffered the misfortune of conceding a last minute equaliser in the corresponding feature at Carrow Road on New Year’s Eve, Saturday’s match offered Fulham the chance to readdress the balance and the weight of history was certainly on their side.

Prior to Saturday’s 3pm kick-off, Fulham had beaten the Canaries in their last seven matches in SW6, including a memorable 6-0 win in May 2005. However this season Paul Lambert’s side has undoubtedly proved their credentials in the Barclays Premier League thanks to an exceptional home record.

Fulham made a scintillating start to the match, with Clint Dempsey scoring his 19th goal of the season (all competitions) before two minutes of play had elapsed.

Once again Dempsey found himself in the right place at the right time, firing home from close range after Norwich keeper John Ruddy had parried away Bryan Ruiz’ curling effort from 18 yards after some excellent approach play by the Costa Rican.

Norwich’s 3-4-2 formation certainly provided Paul Lambert’s team with plenty of width and the Canaries made a concerted effort to dominate possession following Dempsey’s opener. However for all their possession Fulham were simply ruthless going forward during the early stages and doubled their lead after 13 minutes of play through Damien Duff.

On this occasion Dempsey turned provider, playing a wonderful through ball from central midfield behind Norwich’s defence. Duff timed his run to perfection and fired a curling left footed shot past Ruddy from 16 yards into the far corner of the net. It was a sublime offensive move from Jol’s team.

Five minutes later Mousa Dembele almost made it three-nil, twisting and turning two markers on the 18 yard line before firing a left footed strike that almost deflected over Ruddy.

Fulham’s two-nil lead knocked some of the early steam out of Norwich but to their credit the visitors persevered with an attractive style of play. However their frustration was clear, highlighted by Elliot Ward’s booking after 25 minutes following a late challenge on Bryan Ruiz.

Apart from a long-range effort by Kyle Naughton and an early header from Ryan Bennett, Norwich rarely troubled Fulham in the final third during the first half.

As the half hour mark passed Fulham began to really enjoy their football, attacking with success down the flanks through Damien Duff and Clint Dempsey, playing some eye-catching one touch passing football.

Ten minutes before half time, Martin Jol was forced to make his first change due to an injury to striker Pavel Pogrebnyak. Jol handed a debut to Swedish winger Alex Kacaniklic on the left wing, with Clint Dempsey playing in attack.

Moments later Norwich’s Jonathan Howson missed a glorious chance to reduce the deficit, firing wide from the right hand side of the area. Fulham immediately returned fire with Bryan Ruiz shooting into Ruddy’s arms from a tight angle on the left of the area.

Two minutes before half time Clint Dempsey struck the post with left footed strike from the right hand side of the area. If Dempsey was unfortunate not to have scored, Mousa Dembele then suffered the misfortune of seeing his follow-up strike being deflected over the bar.

Paul Lambert made his first change at the break, introducing Simeon Jackson for
Zak Whitbread for the second half.

After just three minutes play Alex Kacaniklic almost scored a dream debut goal. After winning possession on the edge of Norwich’s area the youngster turned his marker and fired a superb right footed curling shot towards the far corner. John Ruddy was beaten but Kacaniklic’s shot crashed against the cross bar an away from goal.

After 52 minutes Surman almost pulled one back from close range after Mark Schwarzer had made an impressive diving save to deny Hoolahan. Play was then held up after a late challenge by Fox on Dembele saw the attacking midfielder needing treatment in the centre of the pitch. Fox received a booking for what was a blatant dangerous tackle.

Just after the hour mark had passed Fulham produced another sweeping attacking move that saw Stephen Kelly set free in the area. Having charged 60 yards to latch on to Ruiz’ through ball, Kelly was denied at the last as he pulled the trigger.

Fulham then went on the rampage with Kacaniklic and Hughes going close in quick succession. The home crowd were enjoying Fulham’s expansive, fast-flowing football and this was just the performance required following recent results.

Paul Lambert made his second change of the game after 67 minutes, replacing Steve Morison with Aaron Wilbraham. Martin Jol quickly followed suit, introducing Mahamadou Diarra for captain Danny Murphy. Quite rightly, Murphy received a standing ovation after orchestrating Fulham’s play for 70 minutes on Saturday. After his recent absence from the team it was a fine return.

As Fulham looked to be cruising towards all three points, Norwich substitute Aaron Wilbraham reduced the deficit with a goal 14 minutes from time. Cutting inside the left Wilbraham’s right-footed strike caught a deflection, leaving Mark Schwarzer with no chance.

Clint Dempsey almost forced the issue with ten minutes remaining, playing a neat one-two with Mousa Dembele before firing his effort from 12 yards wide of goal.

Martin Jol made his third and final change with eight minutes remaining, introducing Dickson Etuhu for Bryan Ruiz. Elliot Bennett then replaced David Fox for Norwich.

Fulham were forced to defend their lead in the final stages, as Norwich poured forward in search of an equaliser. Mark Schwarer was required to make a number of crucial saves and Dickson Etuhu was a major force in the closing stages, picking up a booking for his efforts in protecting the Team’s lead.

Fulham held on and secured three valuable points to end the day in 11th place on 39 points in front of 25,700 supporters at the Cottage on Saturday.

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Saturday 31 March 2012
Kick-off: 3:00pm

Venue: Craven Cottage, London
Attendance: 25,700

Referee: Anthony Taylor


Line-up: Schwarzer; Kelly, Hughes, Hangeland, John Arne Riise; Duff, Dembélé, Murphy (Diarra 71'), Dempsey; Ruiz (Etuhu 83'); Pogrebnyak (Kacaniklic 36')

Unused substitutes: Stockdale, Senderos, Frei, Trotta

Manager: Martin Jol

Norwich City

Line-up: Ruddy; Martin, Bennett, Ward, Whitbread (Jackson 45'), Naughton; Howson, Fox (Bennett 84'), Hoolahan, Surman; Morison (Wilbraham 68')

Unused substitutes: Steer, Drury, Johnson, Crofts

Manager: Paul Lambert

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Manchester United 30 73
2 Manchester City 31 71
3 Arsenal 31 58
4 Tottenham Hotspur 30 55
5 Chelsea 31 53
6 Newcastle United 30 50
7 Everton 31 43
8 Liverpool 30 42
9 Sunderland 31 41
10 Swansea City 30 39
11 Fulham 31 39
12 Norwich City 31 39
13 Stoke City 31 38
14 West Bromwich Albion 31 36
15 Aston Villa 30 33
16 Bolton Wanderers 30 29
17 Blackburn Rovers 30 28
18 Queens Park Rangers 31 28
19 Wigan Athletic 31 28
20 Wolverhampton Wanderers 31 22
Total Shots
Shots On Target
Passing Accuracy
Sending Offs
Fulham (4-4-1-1)
  • 1Mark Schwarzer
  • 2Stephen Kelly
  • 18Aaron Hughes
  • 5Brede Hangeland
  • 3John Arne Riise
  • 16Damien Duff
  • 30Moussa Dembélé
  • 13Danny Murphy
  • 23Clint Dempsey
  • 11Bryan Ruiz
  • 7Pavel Pogrebnyak
  • 12David Stockdale
  • 14Philippe Senderos
  • 19Mahamadou Diarra
  • 20Dickson Etuhu
  • 21Kerim Frei
  • 31Alexander Kacaniklic
  • 42Marcello Trotta
  • Martin Jol
Norwich City (5-4-1)
  • 1John Ruddy
  • 2Russell Martin
  • 33Ryan Bennett
  • 22Elliott Ward
  • 6Zak Whitbread
  • 25Kyle Naughton
  • 24Jonathan Howson
  • 15David Fox
  • 14Wes Hoolahan
  • 11Andrew Surman
  • 5Steve Morison
  • 31Jed Steer
  • 3Adam Drury
  • 4Bradley Johnson
  • 7Andrew Crofts
  • 17Elliott Bennett
  • 10Simeon Jackson
  • 21Aaron Wilbraham
  • Paul Lambert
Total shots
Ball played into the final third of the pitch
Minutes played by player
Assists from open play
Successful aerial duels
Duel over the possession of the ball where a player wins the ball
Pass forwards
Successful dribbles
Sum of all a players ball events
Accurate passes
Key passes
Player intercepts a pass
Goalkeeper saves
Goalkeeper catches a cross