Home » EPL, Latest » Match Report: Norwich 1 Fulham 1

Talk about brinkmanship. Simeon Jackson waited until the death throes of this match, and indeed the dying embers of 2011, to pounce with the header that rescued a most improbable point for Norwich City.

The final goal of the calendar year was worth waiting for, as the striker latched upon fellow substitute Elliott Bennett’s cross for a stunning act of 94th-minute plunder, salvaging a match that Fulham should have made safe long before.

The Carrow Road crowd were exultant, crowing both at the late riposte and at the fact that, despite a trying run of festive fixtures, their team somehow remain in the top half of the Premier League. For Fulham, it was an agonising slip.

A goal to the good for all of 87 minutes after Orlando Sa’s early strike, they looked the more assured on the ball before their notorious travel sickness bit once again. Having secured only four away victories from their previous 46 attempts, they blanched in sight of a fifth.

Cue Jackson, then, to command the stage. The 24 year-old has proved instrumental in Norwich’s rise through his 15 goals since joining from Gillingham 18 months ago, and here he made a similarly profound impact off the bench.

Thanks largely to Jackson’s dynamism, Paul Lambert’s young players — his squad have an average age of 23 — redeemed a first-half performance best described as wan.

“I can’t say it was undeserved,” Lambert said. “I thought we were relentless at times in the second half. The lads dragged it out of themselves. They keep going, they have a great desire. Their hunger was great, the effort extraordinary. We always think we will get a break in front of goal.”

Norwich are consistently defying expectations. Some of their players would struggle to be recognised in the Morrison’s supermarket opposite the stadium, but are still capable of extravagant flourishes.

Take Bennett, whose perfectly-weighted ball from the right was teed up for Jackson to bury. According to Lambert, he “has just come in from League One, bypassed the Championship, and can do that kind of thing in the top flight.”

At the back, they are more susceptible, as reflected in their record of conceding in every league match so far this season.

Here the defensive struggle for Norwich became clear within seven minutes, when Moussa Dembélé hared into the penalty area to feed Orlando Sa, who angled a low strike crisply beyond goalkeeper John Ruddy into the bottom right corner.

Memories of the havoc wrought by Gareth Bale four days earlier appeared to flood back for the home side as any semblance of shape dissolved. Sa, ever a threat, almost extended the advantage seconds later, hitting the post with a snap shot before Kyle Naughton eventually cleared off the line.

“We should have scored a second,” lamented Martin Jol, the Fulham manager.

In attack, Norwich did carry some menace, not least when Zak Whitbread’s fine header forced David Stockdale to touch the ball on to the bar. John Arne Riise also needed to block Steve Morison’s follow-up.

And yet Fulham’s hold on the match kept tightening. Clint Dempsey fired a header from Stephen Kelly’s cross that hit the bar, while young Kerim Frei embarked on a surging run before seeing his effort parried by Ruddy.

Tags: ,

Related Posts

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.