Match report: Norwich City 1 Fulham 3
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City crashed to a 3-1 Championship home defeat against 10-man Fulham, who played the entire second half with a player less after Chris Martin's red card against his old club.
The Canaries' defensive frailties re-surfaced after last week's 7-1 Carrow Road masterclass against Reading with Stefan Johansen, Tom Cairney and Floyd Ayite on target for the visitors. Cameron Jerome replied for Norwich who again second best against another of the genuine promotion contenders.
Former Norwich striker Chris Martin was shown a straight red card after tangling with Mitchell Dijks in the final seconds of the opening period. Fulham led through Johansen's early half-volley but Cairney slotted a penalty straight after the interval, before Ayite quelled a home fightback following Jerome's intervention.
Alan Irvine named an unchanged line up from the side that hammered Reading 7-1. Alex Tettey made his 150th senior appearance for the Canaries. City's substitutes' bench was also left unchanged, with Irvine confirming after the game James Maddison was ruled out after picking up a knock in training on Thursday. Graham Dorrans (ankle) is poised to train over the weekend in a bid to come back into contention for the Easter Monday trip to Preston.
Fulham included City old boy Chris Martin, who was on loan from Derby County. City were rocked back inside five minutes when Timm Klose coughed up cheap possession before being turned inside out by Ayite, whose cut-back was lashed home by Johansen 20 yards out.
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Norwich were sliced open again in the 11th minute with Wes Hoolahan was required for a vital clearance inside his own six yard box as Sone Aluko looked to apply the finishing touch to Ayite's cross.
Hoolahan rolled a pass into Nelson Oliveira who invited Jonny Howson forward but his right-footed shot drifted wide of Marcus Bettinelli's post.
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Tim Ream foiled Jacob Murphy after Hoolahan was afforded too much time and space down the City left.
John Ruddy had to beat away Ryan Fredericks' angled strike after Cairney had advanced deep into Norwich territory.
Jacob Murphy cut inside Scott Malone but his crack from the edge of the area was deflected behind in the final seconds of the opening period.
Bettinelli was finally tested when he superbly blocked Klose's towering header, before Jonny Howson headed over inside the six yard box, but the midfielder was adjudged to be offside.
But there was one more twist in the opening period when Fulham striker Chris Martin was red carded after an aerial tangle with Dijks and an apparent slap that left the Dutchman crumpling to the floor. Referee Madley gave himself a few seconds of thinking time before brandishing a straight red towards the former City academy product.
Irvine was forced into a half-time change with Ryan Bennett replacing Klose, who had required lengthy treatment in the aftermath of his close range headed chance.
Bennett's first meaningful contribution was to haul down Tomas Kalas at the far post after Howson's reckless challenge on Ayite conceded a free kick seconds after the restart.
Cairney stepped up to send Ruddy the wrong way from the penalty spot to double the 10-men's advantage.
Irvine's response was to replace the ineffective Hoolahan with Jerome before Josh Murphy replaced his twin.
Jerome picked up an early booking but injected a sense of urgency that almost saw Howson poke home in the 72nd minute. Jerome did notch in the 77th minute when he glanced home Pritchard's inviting cross six yards out.
Norwich surged forward in the aftermath with Bettinelli far from convincing in shovelling away Pritchard's dipping shot.
Ruddy thwarted Cairney who powered from half-way after triggering a Fulham counter before the game sung to the opposite end when Jerome was crowded out.
Ayite, however, ended any home fightback when he burst into the penalty area and coolly rounded Ruddy to slot into an empty net to maintain the Cottagers' promotion push.
• Norwich: Ruddy, Pinto, Martin, Klose (Bennett 45), Dijks, Howson, Tettey, Jacob Murphy (Josh Murphy 64), Pritchard, Hoolahan (Jerome 57), Oliveira. Subs: (not used): McGovern (GK), Whittaker, Naismith, Wildschut.
• Bookings: Hoolahan (foul on Johansen, 28); Howson (foul on Ayite, 46); Jerome (foul on Fredericks, 58); Pinto (dissent, 77)
• Goal: Jerome (76)
• Fulham: Bettinelli, Fredericks, Kalas, Ream, Malone, Johansen (Sigurdsson 81), McDonald, Aluko (Piazon 75), Cairney, Ayite (Kebano 90), Martin. Subs (not used): Button, Sessegnon, Parker, Cyriac.
• Bookings: Malone (foul on Jacob Murphy, 59); Bettinelli (time-wasting, 67); Piazon (foul on Dijks, 85)
• Sending Off: Martin (foul on Dijks, 45)
• Goals: Johansen (5), Cairney (48), Ayite (89)
• Time added on: 2 minutes / 7 minutes
• Referee: Andy Madley (West Yorks)
• Attendance: 27,023