Dempsey and Duff on target in Fulham win

PA Sport
Clint Dempsey (right)
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Clint Dempsey (right)

Clint Dempsey's early goal helped put Fulham on course for a hard-fought 2-1 Barclays Premier League victory against Norwich.

The United States international bundled home the opener inside two minutes after John Ruddy parried a Bryan Ruiz shot into his path. Damien Duff doubled Fulham's advantage in the 13th minute, although an impressive first half performance was tempered somewhat by Pavel Pogrebnyak limping off injured.

Substitute Aaron Wilbraham's 77th minute effort led to a nervy ending by the Cottagers who held on to end a three-match losing streak.

The hosts enjoyed a flying start to the match, breaking forward through Ruiz, who turned and saw a low drive saved by goalkeeper Ruddy, whose parry fell kindly for Dempsey to bundle home.

Paul Lambert's side were enjoying the lion's share of possession but went further behind in the 13th minute.

Again the Canaries were caught out by a quick surge forward as Dempsey slotted the ball through to Duff, who curled home a left-footed effort from inside the box.

Only the goal frame and a last-ditch debutant Ryan Bennett block prevented Fulham taking an unassailable lead on the stroke of half-time as Dempsey hit the post from an acute angle and Mousa Dembele saw his follow-up deflected behind.

While the Whites were looking comfortable, they - like so many times before this season - switched off in the final 15 minutes.

Moments after substitute Wilbraham inexplicably shot wide, he made amends by reducing the deficit 13 minutes from time as his effort deflected in off Aaron Hughes.

As Fulham began to rock, Norwich threw bodies forward and only last-gasp defending prevented Lambert's side finding another goal.

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