Norwich and Fulham share the spoils in dour stalemate
Published 09/02/2013 | 17:48
While a point will edge both sides closer towards safely, there was little creative spark.
Even the return for Dimitar Berbatov from a hamstring injury could not inspire Fulham, with a 25-yard effort from Steve Sidwell at the start of the second half about the best of the visitors' few chances.
Berbatov missed last weekend's defeat at Manchester United, and soon needed more treatment after he was caught in the face by high boot from Norwich midfielder Bradley Johnson and had to go off to the changing room to have stitches in a blooded nose.
On 14 minutes, Norwich broke quickly through Wes Hoolahan. The Republic of Ireland midfielder carried the ball to the edge of the Fulham area, before knocking it out wide to the right, but Alex Tettey's low cross through the six-yard box was hacked clear.
Berbatov's clever flick released Duff on the overlap down the Fulham left, but his angled shot was deflected over the crossbar.
Norwich defender Russell Martin, captain in place of Holt, planted a free header wide from Johnson's deep ball into the Fulham penalty area.
Emmanuel Frimpong, on loan from Arsenal, was booked for tugging back Robert Snodgrass and referee Howard Webb had the yellow card out again when Bennett chopped down Hugo Rodallega as Fulham looked to break after they had cleared the free-kick.
Becchio headed a deep right-wing cross from Martin over the bar as the game remained goalless at half-time.
Fulham started the second half brightly, with midfielder Steve Sidwell testing Norwich keeper Mark Bunn with a 20-yard effort.
The hosts finally produced some pressure of their own as the hour mark passed, with Snodgrass again the creator down the right before Bennett crashed in a goalbound effort which was blocked by Cottagers captain Brede Hangeland.
Johnson stabbed wide from the edge of the box before Kei Kamara, on-loan from MLS side the Sporting Kansas City, came on to replaced Becchio for the closing stages of a match which desperately needed a spark.
However, the Sierra Leone international's main contribution was to clatter into Schwarzer at a corner, as the game fizzled out.