Norwich 1-1 Fulham

Norwich should not be underestimated, a good team with a good manager and we should have expected a tricky game.  In the end we got one, Norwich’s assortment of Russells and Bradleys and Wesleys eventually powering their team to a well deserved equaliser in stoppage time. Another late goal? Well yes, but the point was really that we failed to put the game away while dominating it. While you’re only a goal up you’re vulnerable.

The first half was excellent from Fulham. Orlando Sa belted a serious first goal for the club from outside the area, giving those who have written him off on the basis of little or no evidence something to think about. We might have had more, too, Kerim Frei wasting the best chance when he brought a fine save from the ‘keeper but could have removed any doubt by using the free man to his right; Dempsey hit the bar with a header from close in. Our play was tidy and controlled, superior.

The second half changed, though. Norwich threw on Grant Holt and went about things with much more purpose. David Stockdale had another good game and Hangeland and Senderos were impressive in front of him, but long before the end there was a feeling of hanging on.  The substitutions: Etuhu for Murphy and Sidwell for Sa (Dempsey going up front) didn’t really help: we somehow needed to reverse Norwich’s momentum and perhaps some pace up front (not that we had this available) would have helped us out. In any event, they pushed us back, back, back, and a goal seemed about as certain as a goal that hasn’t yet been scored can seem.

Which is a muddled way of saying that we got a good point from a game that we could have easily won or lost.  Given our excellent start we might have expected to stroll off with all three but these points all add up and we end 2011 on a reasonably high note.  The transfer window now swings open and much excitement presumably lies ahead.  Martin Jol’s team is taking shape, and while we may be some time away from seeing it at its best, there is a sense of improvement around the club.

Happy New Year!

8 thoughts on “Norwich 1-1 Fulham

  1. Couldn’t see the game but; when are we going to start fining players for conceding in injury time? I reckon we’d be top 5 if our games had ended on 85 minutes..

    Also getting annoyed that we so often this season seem to have a very good half with a total rubbish half. What the hell is that all about? Motivation? Concentration?

  2. Great synopsis of the game – it was clearly the manner that hurt so much. My only niggling worry is around our inability or maybe unwillingness to ‘go for the corner’. I’ve seen top teams do it at the cottage so why not us? That short corner to Ruiz and that unbeleivable passage of play against Odense – we are clearly failing to learn from our mistakes… harumpf…

  3. I’m not sure where it’s coming from, but this second half thing where we sit back and try to be purely defensive does not seem to be a style that this team can effectively play. Against Odense, Norwich, Arsenal, etc — if pushed hard enough, we always seem to break, if we’re not pushing the ball up the field at least some of the time.

    I’m not sure where this comes from — is it failure to respond to some formation from the other side that cedes control of midfield? Is it a conscious strategic change? (Jol has made comments implying it’s not coming from him.) I’m confused.

  4. Norwich certainly stepped up a gear in the second half but Jol’s substitutions and general tactics aided and abetted this.
    The pressure is piling on so Sa, the sole front player, is taken of and replaced by a midfielder with a tired Dempsey, who has run his socks off left as the front man. Presumably this was done to shore up the middle but the result was that the pressure got greater as we had no one to get the ball to in the Norwich final third who could hold play up and thus relieve the pressure.
    The general feeling of the people around me was it was only a matter of time before the equaliser went in and sure enough the inevitable happened.
    Jol may imply he is not to blame but he is the boss and personnel and tactics are his responsibility and yesterday, not for the first time, he was found wanting.

  5. Quality of play aside, I can’t stand watching Sa. If some lint drifted down and landed on his earlobe, he’d act as if the Bismarck just docked between his two front teeth. Just egregious diving. It’s embarrassing as a Fulham fan and offensive as a football fan.

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