Slick Fulham too good for Norwich City in 2-0 Championship away win at Carrow Road
PUBLISHED: 23:37 30 March 2018 | UPDATED: 23:37 30 March 2018
©Focus Images Limited www.focus-images.co.uk +447814 482222
Promotion-chasing Fulham made it 17-games unbeaten in the Championship with a second half salvo sinking Norwich City.
Stefan Johansen lashed home from close range in the 66th minute before Tom Cairney sealed the win for the Cottagers four minutes later.
Daniel Farke made two changes to his line up from the side that beat Reading 3-2 in the Championship before the international break.
Christoph Zimmermann returned with Grant Hanley kept in reserve on the bench after missing out for Scotland in midweek with shin splints.
Alex Tettey was also back after a foot injury for Onel Hernandez, who missed out with a hamstring injury.
Pinto levered Floyd Ayite off the ball inside his own area with nine minutes gone, but referee Stroud waved away Fulham penalty appeals.
Cairney sidefooted a shot from 18 yards straight at Angus Gunn in the immediate aftermath.
Josh Murphy cut inside at the other end to unleash a shot that brushed Ryan Fredericks but Marcus Bettinelli gathered at the second attempt.
City broke out from their containment policy in the 28th minute, with Dennis Srbeny and James Maddison over-loading the back post, but Mario Vrancic’s weak cross was intercepted by Tim Ream.
Norwich again paid for a lack of clinical intent in the 32nd minute when Murphy powered to the edge of the Fulham box but opted to try and roll in Srbeny with Maddison screaming for a pass to test Bettinelli.
Srbeny took matters into his own hands two minutes from the interval when he was invited to shoot but dragged a 25-yard effort beyond Bettinelli’s near post.
Farke’s side finished the opening period on the front foot with another energetic burst from Lewis allowing Maddison to roll in the overlapping Pinto but the Cottagers cleared his low cross.
Farke opted not to make any changes at half-time and it was Srbeny who was prominent again in the 52nd minute with a thunderous rising 20-yard strike Bettinelli tipped over at full stretch,
Slavisa Jokanovic had seen enough and introduced the highly-rated teenager Ryan Sessegnon for Ayite.
Murphy connected with a sweet volley from the same range that had the Fulham keeper beaten but veered wide of his far post.
The wide player then led the counter in the 63rd minute but Maddison was crowded out when he cut inside.
But Zimmermann had to bail out Gunn seconds later with a goal-saving block on his line after the City keeper had raced from his line to halt Sessegnon but only succeeded in colliding with Lewis.
It proved only a temporary reprieve. Gunn parried Mitrovic’s close range header from Matt Targett’s cross after he towered above Timm Klose, but Johansen reacted quickest to slam home the rebound in the 66th minute.
Fulham poured forward again with Norwich still reeling and Cairney arrived on cue to slam home Piazon’s cross 12 yards out, which was deflected into the Scot’s path at the near post.
Murphy lashed a cross-shot just in front of the diving Srbeny with City trying to find a way back into the contest after the Cottagers’ two-goal salvo.
Young Tottenham loanee Marcus Edwards finally made his belated Norwich debut in the 84th minute for Vrancic.
Murphy drilled a shot at Bettinelli but it was fitful again from the Canaries in the final third.
• Norwich City: Gunn, Pinto, Zimmermann, Klose, Lewis, Reed, Tettey (Hoolahan 77), Vrancic (Edwards 84), Maddison, Murphy, Srbeny (Oliveira 76). Subs (not used): McGovern (GK), Husband, Raggett, Hanley.
• Bookings: Murphy (foul on Fredericks, 84); Maddison (unsporting behaviour, 90); Reed (foul on Cairney, 90)
• Fulham: Bettinelli, Fredericks, Odoi, Ream, Targett, Cairney, McDonald (Norwood 68), Johansen, Piazon, Mitrovic (Kamara 78), Ayite (Sessegnon 54). Subs (not used): Button (GK), Fonte, Christie, Kalas.
• Goals: Johansen (66), Cairney (70)
• Bookings: McDonald (foul on Maddison, 58); Fredericks (foul on Murphy, 79); Norwood (foul on Maddison, 85); Kamara (unsporting behaviour)
• Time added on: 0 minute / 6 minutes
• Referee: Keith Stroud (Hampshire)
• Attendance: 26,750
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Eastern Daily Press. Click the link in the orange box below for details.