Dempsey's speedy start drives Fulham

Fulham 2 Norwich City 1: Texan striker blows away Lambert's Norwich who recover too late to hurt the Cottagers

craven cottage

Clint Dempsey has a new contract offer on the table and it was easy to see why Fulham want him to sign it yesterday when the Texan scored their second-minute opener, then laid on a goal for Damien Duff as the London club secured their place in the safe haven of mid-table.

Fulham had to withstand a late Norwich rally, sparked by Aaron Wilbraham's first goal of the season, but always looked like ending a run of three successive defeats to leapfrog their visitors. City had to settle for the knowledge that there was no need to wait on updates from Molineux and Loftus Road.

"We should have got something at the end but you can't give teams a two-goal start," said the Norwich manager, Paul Lambert. "It was the worst start you can get but we never capitulated."

Norwich are one of the few teams to opt for playing three at the back on occasion but it was a case of having too many centre-halves as Elliott Ward and Zak Whitbread both assumed the other would deal with a Brede Hangeland clearance and Bryan Ruiz was allowed to bring the ball down, cut inside, and shoot. John Ruddy parried but Clint Dempsey beat Russell Martin to the loose ball to tap in. It was Fulham's first successful strike in nearly five hours after suffering three goalless defeats.

A dozen minutes later the lead was doubled. Duff ran off the right flank, behind Whitbread and on to a Dempsey pass before delivering a shot which Ruddy got his hands to but could not keep out.

"We want six," chorused the Fulham faithful, in recognition of the score the last time Norwich played at Craven Cottage, on the final day of 2005 when a 6-0 defeat sent them down. But Fulham lost Pavel Pogrebnyak to an ankle injury which will be assessed tomorrow and Norwich came more into the game with Ward going close after corner and Johnny Howson, well found by Andrew Surman, shooting wastefully wide. It was Fulham, though, who went closest to another goal before the break, Dempsey striking the post. The ball rebounded to Ruiz but Ryan Bennett threw his body in the way of the Costa Rican's shot.

To no great surprise Lambert switched to four at the back at the break with Simeon Jackson joining the isolated Steve Morison in attack. However, Fulham went close again when their own substitute, Alex Kacaniklic whipped in a shot which Ruddy tipped on to the bar.

Norwich thereafter began to worry Fulham and Mark Schwarzer had to parry a Wes Hoolahan shot with Aaron Hughes blocking Surman's follow-up. A saving tackle by Ryan Bennett on Stephen Kelly, Ruddy's parry of a thumping John Arne Riise drive, and a miss by Wilbraham meant the score remained unchanged until the final 13 minutes. Then a Wilbraham shot, taken after Mahamadou Diarra was caught in possession, deflected in off Hughes' knee. Norwich sniffed a point, but Fulham held on.

"In the second they changed the system and we could not get out," said Fulham manager , Martin Jol, "but I was pleased in the end.

Fulham (4-4-2): Schwarzer; Kelly, Hughes, Hangeland, Riise; Duff, Dembele, Murphy (Diarra, 71), Dempsey; Ruiz Etuhu, 82), Pogrebnyak (Kacaniklic, 36).

Norwich (3-5-1-1): Ruddy; R Bennett, Ward, Whitbread (Jackson, 46); Martin, Howson, Fox (E Bennett, 86), Surman, Naughton; Hoolahan; Morison (Wilbraham, 66).

Referee Anthony Taylor.

Man of the match Dempsey (Fulham).

Match rating 7/10.

Suggested Topics
Sport
Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWERollins win the WWE World Heavyweight title in one of the greatest WrestleMania's ever seen
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor