Fulham scored their first goals in four games as victory over Norwich halted a run of three successive defeats.
Clint Dempsey's thigh touched the ball home after John Ruddy was unable to hold Bryan Ruiz's shot for their first.
Within a quarter of an hour Fulham were two up as Dempsey set Damien Duff free with the winger curling the ball in.
Fulham twice hit the woodwork - through Dempsey and then Alex Kacaniklic - but Aaron Wilbraham's deflected shot set up a tense finish for the home team.
Martin Jol's men might be wondering quite why they made such hard work of killing off this game given they hit the woodwork twice, while Norwich goalkeeper Ruddy was probably the busier of the two goalkeepers - notably saving from John Arne Riise's powerful shot.
The introduction of Simeon Jackson at the start of the second half and then Wilbraham's appearance brought greater drive to Norwich, who were expertly marshalled in midfield by Wes Hoolahan.
If Norwich finished the game as they had started it - dominating possession - the end result each time was only frustration.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Fulham's USA international Clint Dempsey has scored 13 goals in the league and six in the cups this season
It was difficult to remember Fulham touching the ball in the opening two minutes but when Norwich conceded possession - debutant Ryan Bennett gave the ball away - the home team's riposte was immediate.
Brede Hangeland's clearance fell to Ruiz, who turned inside before striking a curling shot that Ruddy was only able to parry into the path of Dempsey, with the American's thigh doing the rest.
That pattern of Norwich enjoying plenty of possession but failing to maximise that advantage was replicated for Fulham's second.
It was a goal that began with goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer and after five Fulham passes, Dempsey slipped the ball through to Duff, whose curling, lofted shot proved too strong for Ruddy.
United States international Dempsey was a constant irritant to the Fulham defence and before the half was out he had hit the post after cleverly shielding the ball, with Moussa Dembele's follow-up shot superbly blocked by Bennett.
Fulham striker Pavel Pogrebnyak had to go off after 35 minutes to be replaced by Alex Kacaniklic after the Russian came off the worst following an Elliott Ward tackle.
Pogrebnyak's absence was keenly felt in the second half, with Fulham missing the Russian's ability to hold the ball.
The first-half's closing stages marked an upshift in Norwich's ability to threaten the Fulham goal, with Ward flashing a shot wide after a corner and Jonny Howson breaking clear, though he too was unable to find the net with a left-footed effort.
After the restart Fulham hit the woodwork for a second time as Kacaniklic's beautifully-clipped shot ricocheted back off the crossbar.
Hoolahan's low shot almost brought Norwich back into the game, but his effort was partially saved by Schwarzer, with Aaron Hughes rushing across to bravely block the follow-up.
Hughes had less luck with 13 minutes to go after Wilbraham's shot hit the Fulham defender to wrong foot Schwarzer, but Martin Jol's side held off Norwich in those closing frantic stages to move them above Paul Lambert's side on goal difference.
Fulham manager Martin Jol: "The balance between our offensive and defensive play was good in the first half, but we couldn't get out in the second half.
"So in the second half they changed the formation and almost forced us to double up on the flanks and go back, and we couldn't get out of it.
"The points were very important for us. Pavel Pogrebnyak twisted his ankle but he should be back next weekend."
Norwich manager Paul Lambert: "We should have got something from the game. We were relentless in the second half.
"But you can't give teams two goals at the start. It's a mountain to climb from there. But the response was absolutely terrific. We went about it and tried to retrieve the game. In the second half I thought the lads were excellent."
- 01 Schwarzer
- 02 Kelly
- 03 JA Riise
- 05 Hangeland
- 18 Hughes
- 13 Murphy (Diarra - 71' )
- 16 Duff
- 23 Dempsey
- 07 Pogrebniak (Kacaniklic - 35' )
- 11 Ruiz (Etuhu - 82' Booked )
- 30 Dembele
- 12 Stockdale
- 14 Senderos
- 19 Diarra
- 20 Etuhu
- 21 Frei
- 31 Kacaniklic
- 42 Trotta
- 01 Ruddy
- 02 R Martin
- 06 Whitbread (Jackson - 46' )
- 22 Ward Booked
- 25 Naughton
- 33 R Bennett
- 11 Surman
- 14 Hoolahan
- 15 Fox Booked (E Bennett - 84' )
- 24 Howson
- 05 Morison (Wilbraham - 68' )
- 31 Steer
- 03 Drury
- 04 Johnson
- 07 Crofts
- 17 E Bennett
- 10 Jackson
- 21 Wilbraham
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The game is over, as the referee blows his whistle.90:00 +3:22
Dickson Etuhu gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Russell Martin. John Ruddy restarts play with the free kick.90:00 +2:54
Kyle Naughton takes a shot. Blocked by Stephen Kelly.90:00 +1:50
Shot by Aaron Wilbraham from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the target.90:00 +1:30
Clint Dempsey gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Ryan Bennett. Russell Martin takes the free kick.88:06
The free kick is delivered left-footed by Andrew Surman from right channel, Mark Schwarzer makes a save.88:06 Booking
Booking Dickson Etuhu is shown a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.87:58
Free kick awarded for a foul by Dickson Etuhu on Wesley Hoolahan.86:51
Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Andrew Surman.86:31
Simeon Jackson takes a shot. Blocked by Brede Hangeland.83:41 Substitution
Substitution David Fox goes off and Elliott Bennett comes on.82:35
Brede Hangeland gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Russell Martin. John Ruddy takes the free kick.81:43
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Damien Duff, clearance made by Russell Martin.81:43 Substitution
Substitution (Fulham) makes a substitution, with Dickson Etuhu coming on for Bryan Ruiz.81:21
Clint Dempsey takes a shot. Elliott Ward gets a block in.79:48
Kyle Naughton delivers the ball, John Arne Riise manages to make a clearance.76:15
Wesley Hoolahan provided the assist for the goal.76:15 Goal scored
Goal! - Aaron Wilbraham - Fulham 2 - 1 Norwich Aaron Wilbraham finds the back of the net with a goal from just inside the area to the bottom right corner of the goal. Fulham 2-1 Norwich.75:30
Aaron Wilbraham has an effort at goal from just inside the box that misses to the right of the target.73:22
The ball is delivered by Alex Kacaniklic, Kyle Naughton makes a clearance.
Kyle Naughton produces a cross, save made by Mark Schwarzer.72:10
Centre by Jonathan Howson, clearance by Aaron Hughes.71:30
Damien Duff delivers the ball, clearance made by Russell Martin.70:04 Substitution
Substitution Mahamadou Diarra is brought on as a substitute for Danny Murphy.69:03
Inswinging corner taken by Danny Murphy from the left by-line, save by John Ruddy.68:31
Foul by Jonathan Howson on Alex Kacaniklic, free kick awarded. Danny Murphy takes the free kick.67:38 Substitution
Substitution Aaron Wilbraham is brought on as a substitute for Steve Morison.67:05
John Arne Riise takes a shot. Save made by John Ruddy.65:08
Alex Kacaniklic is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Free kick taken by John Ruddy.64:37
Effort from deep inside the area by Aaron Hughes clears the bar.64:12
Danny Murphy decides to take a short corner.63:42
Alex Kacaniklic takes a shot. Russell Martin gets a block in.62:47
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Damien Duff by Kyle Naughton. Danny Murphy crosses the ball from the free kick right-footed from right wing.62:11
Corner taken short by Damien Duff.61:28
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on John Arne Riise by Russell Martin. John Arne Riise restarts play with the free kick.60:36
Foul by Ryan Bennett on Clint Dempsey, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Brede Hangeland.59:54
Bryan Ruiz challenges David Fox unfairly and gives away a free kick. David Fox crosses the ball in from the free kick, Brede Hangeland manages to make a clearance.58:19
Corner taken by Andrew Surman from the left by-line, Close range header by Ryan Bennett misses to the right of the goal.57:29
Danny Murphy gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Wesley Hoolahan. Strike on goal comes in from Andrew Surman from the free kick.56:03
Free kick awarded for a foul by Bryan Ruiz on John Ruddy. Direct free kick taken by John Ruddy.55:25
Damien Duff takes the inswinging corner, save by John Ruddy.53:58
Brede Hangeland takes the direct free kick.53:58 Booking
Booking David Fox goes into the book.53:40
Unfair challenge on Moussa Dembele by David Fox results in a free kick.53:13
Outswinging corner taken right-footed by David Fox from the right by-line.52:58
Andrew Surman takes a shot. Mark Schwarzer makes a save.52:37
Wesley Hoolahan takes a shot. Save by Mark Schwarzer.51:13
Centre by Simeon Jackson, clearance made by Danny Murphy.48:39
Alex Kacaniklic takes a shot. John Ruddy makes a save.47:32
Free kick awarded for a foul by Stephen Kelly on Simeon Jackson. Direct free kick taken by Kyle Naughton.46:57
Alex Kacaniklic crosses the ball, clearance made by Elliott Ward.46:43
The ball is delivered by Bryan Ruiz, clearance by Ryan Bennett.45:01
The referee gets the second half started.45:01 Substitution
Substitution Simeon Jackson on for Zak Whitbread.45:00 +2:18 Half time
Half Time The referee calls an end to the first half.45:00 +1:49
Andrew Surman produces a left-footed shot from outside the penalty box and misses right.45:00 +1:00
Moussa Dembele challenges Kyle Naughton unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick crossed by David Fox, Brede Hangeland makes a clearance.45:00 +0:23
Moussa Dembele is ruled offside. Elliott Ward takes the free kick.43:49
Damien Duff decides to take a short corner.43:25
Moussa Dembele takes a shot. Ryan Bennett gets a block in.43:13
Effort from just inside the penalty area by Clint Dempsey strikes the post.41:11
Wesley Hoolahan takes a shot. Blocked by Aaron Hughes.40:44
The ball is sent over by David Fox, save by Mark Schwarzer.40:15
Corner taken left-footed by Andrew Surman, clearance by Stephen Kelly.38:58
Zak Whitbread takes a shot. Save by Mark Schwarzer.37:54
Bryan Ruiz takes a shot. Save by John Ruddy.37:02
Jonathan Howson produces a left-footed shot from close range which goes wide of the left-hand post.34:57 Substitution
Substitution Alex Kacaniklic on for Pavel Pogrebnyak.34:19
Corner taken by Andrew Surman from the left by-line, Shot by Elliott Ward from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the target.32:09
Clint Dempsey has a header from inside the six-yard box and clears the crossbar.31:25
Pavel Pogrebnyak concedes a free kick for a foul on Ryan Bennett. Ryan Bennett restarts play with the free kick.30:45
Stephen Kelly is ruled offside. Free kick taken by John Ruddy.30:25
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Bryan Ruiz by David Fox. Direct free kick taken by Danny Murphy.28:41
Elliott Ward challenges Pavel Pogrebnyak unfairly and gives away a free kick. Damien Duff produces a cross, Clint Dempsey has a headed effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the right of the target.26:07
John Arne Riise is penalised for handball and concedes a free kick. Free kick taken by Ryan Bennett.25:18
Direct free kick taken by Danny Murphy.25:18 Booking
Booking Elliott Ward receives a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.25:08
Bryan Ruiz fouled by Elliott Ward, the ref awards a free kick.23:40
Shot from outside the box by Kyle Naughton goes wide right of the target.18:45
Moussa Dembele takes a shot. Save by John Ruddy.18:19
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Pavel Pogrebnyak by Ryan Bennett. Free kick taken by Danny Murphy.17:27
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Elliott Ward by Pavel Pogrebnyak. Elliott Ward takes the free kick.13:53
The ball is swung over by Kyle Naughton, John Arne Riise manages to make a clearance.12:45
Clint Dempsey provided the assist for the goal.12:45 Goal scored
Goal! - Damien Duff - Fulham 2 - 0 Norwich Damien Duff grabs a goal from inside the box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Fulham 2-0 Norwich.12:11
Russell Martin produces a cross, save by Mark Schwarzer.8:19
The ball is swung over by Steve Morison.4:59
Corner taken by David Fox, Ryan Bennett produces a header from deep inside the six-yard box that clears the bar.4:22
Corner taken right-footed by David Fox, Brede Hangeland manages to make a clearance.1:46
Bryan Ruiz provided the assist for the goal.1:46 Goal scored
Goal! - Clint Dempsey - Fulham 1 - 0 Norwich A goal is scored by Clint Dempsey from inside the six-yard box low into the middle of the goal. Fulham 1-0 Norwich.1:40
Bryan Ruiz takes a shot. Save by John Ruddy.0:00
The referee starts the match.
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