Norwich 0-0 Fulham: Canaries still searching for first league win since December

Chris Hughton's men are now winless in nine in the Premier League after being held to a stalemate by the Cottagers in a match sorely lacking in attacking quality

Norwich City were held to a drab goalless draw at home to Fulham, leaving Chris Hughton’s side without a Premier League victory in almost two months.

Neither goalkeeper was severely tested at Carrow Road, where a number of new faces provided the only real excitement for supporters as Luciano Becchio was handed his first start for the Canaries, while Stanislav Manolev and Emmanuel Frimpong joined fit-again Dimitar Berbatov for the away side.

The hosts enjoyed the better of the opening 10 minutes, with the diminutive Wes Hoolahan, who scored his first goal for the Republic of Ireland in midweek, looking lively in behind full debutant Becchio.

The playmaker provided the Argentine striker with an early chance to open his account, picking the former Leeds man out with a low ball across the penalty area, but his shot on the stretch was smothered by Mark Schwarzer.

Wins had been few and far between for both these sides coming into the match, and this was evident from the tentative football on display, with neither team managing to assert themselves.

Becchio showed glimpses of his goal-scoring instincts by regularly finding pockets of space, but will have been frustrated by a lack of quality service from his new team-mates.

Martin Jol will probably have been the happier of the two managers going in at half-time after seeing his team silence a usually vocal Carrow Road crowd, but neither boss could have enjoyed the opening period as an attacking spectacle.

Mark Bunn was a mere spectator in the first half, but he was finally forced into a save just after the break when Steve Sidwell hit a dipping strike from the edge of the penalty area that was easy pickings for the Norwich keeper.

The visitors were certainly playing with more purpose at the start of the second half, and Sebastien Bassong was brave to block Bryan Ruiz’s well-struck half-volley from just outside the box.

However, the game soon returned to the pedestrian pace of the opening 45 minutes, as the attacking players struggled to make an impact at either end of the pitch.

Norwich’s best chance of a breakthrough seemed to be a set-piece from the cultured left foot of Robert Snodgrass, and the Scot tested the Cottagers defence with a couple of dangerous corners into a crowded penalty area.
Becchio’s last contribution of the match was a beautiful lay-off to Johnson, who struck the ball disappointingly wide from the edge of the box, as Kei Kamara was soon on to make his debut in the place of the former Leeds striker.

The Sierra Leone forward made his presence felt straight away as he rose highest to meet a long ball into the penalty area, but the powerful striker’s header was well over the bar.

The loanee demonstrated an impressive turn of pace in his late cameo, and was also in the right place to meet a loose ball in the penalty area, forcing Mark Schwarzer to brave a clattering in order to close down the danger.

That promising glimpse of Kamara’s potential will at least have provided the home supporters with a bright spark to focus on as they left the stadium, having failed to collect three points for the ninth successive game.