Match Report: Bore draw brings little joy for Martin Jol and Chris Hughton

Norwich City 0 Fulham 0

When Fulham thumped Norwich 5-0 on the opening day of the season it might have seemed that they were at the start of something good. Clearly, they were fooling. Six months later they and Norwich each have 29 points, and it is difficult on this evidence to declare one to be less mediocre than the other.

Click here to watch highlights of the game

But these things happen when two sides short on confidence find themselves reluctant to commit to attacking the other for fear of making mistakes. Midfielders looking for a passing option tended to go sideways or backwards; forwards with the chance to shoot were inclined to take a touch too many. There were moments at which the deadlock might have been broken, but not many.

For Fulham, winning a point away from home, there was probably greater satisfaction. It was true that they managed just one shot on target, but Martin Jol had prepared for the trip with 10 players away on international duty and was forced into changes when Sascha Riether and Chris Baird cried off sick, which meant debuts for Stanislav Manolev and Emmanuel Frimpong. Manolev, just signed on loan from PSV Eindhoven, was not even in the original squad.

“He wasn’t even here,” Jol said. “He had to come up in a taxi from London.” In the event he slotted in seamlessly, which was asking a lot of him given that Riether has been one of Fulham’s outstanding performers this season.

Another is Dimitar Berbatov, who at least carries the threat of a goal even if his tally of eight is respectable rather than eyecatching. There were good touches, good uses of space by the Bulgarian but he did not muster a shot of note, although his performance was not helped by having Bradley Johnson’s boot connect with the bridge of his nose in the opening minutes, requiring him to leave the field to have a stitch inserted.

The incident narked Jol, who came up with the unusual suggestion that Johnson should have been required to leave the field as well.

“It is a ridiculous rule,” Jol said. “We were 10 against 11 while Dimitar was off the field. Their player should have to go off as well.”

At least Fulham kept a clean sheet, their first in 12 matches, although three wins from 18 is the more telling statistic. Norwich, on the other hand, have no wins in nine in the Premier League. Just as well they went unbeaten in 10 earlier in the campaign.

“It is disappointing because we were looking to get three points as the home team,” the Norwich manager, Chris Hughton, said. “We have been on a bad run but that’s three draws in a row so we have stopped the run in terms of defeats.”

One goal in six matches in all competitions is clearly a concern, although there was encouragement from Luciano Becchio (left) and Kei Kamara, two January acquisitions.

Becchio’s best chance, on the  end of a Javier Garrido pass after five minutes, possibly came too early in the former Leeds player’s first start. But he kept Brede Hangeland and Philippe Senderos busy. Kamara, not ready to start after arriving midweek from Kansas, looked sharp and lively when he did appear in the closing minutes and it was significant that Norwich’s best chance, volleyed wide by Johnson, followed his introduction.

Norwich (4-4-2): Bunn; R Martin, Bassong, Turner, Garrido; Snodgrass, Tettey, Johnson, E Bennett (Jackson, 75); Becchio (Kamara, 85), Hoolahan.

Fulham (4-4-1-1): Schwarzer; Manolev, Senderos, Hangeland, Riise; Ruiz (Dejagah, 90), Frimpong (Urby, 63), Sidwell, Duff; Berbatov; Rodallega (Petric, 75).

Referee: Howard Webb.

Man of the match: R Martin (Norwich)

Match rating: 5/10

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

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

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before