First-half goals help Fulham beat City

Fulham 2 Norwich 1

Fulham ended a run of three league defeats without a goal to move above visitors Norwich into 11th place.

The home side’s last goal before this win was the fifth of a 5-0 victory against Wolves at the beginning of the month but that was followed by defeats to Aston Villa, Swansea and Manchester United.

But it took the Cottagers just two minutes to score here when Clint Dempsey nudged the ball home with his knee from close range, and Damien Duff curled in a second from distance within quarter-of-an-hour.

Aaron Wilbraham’s 77th-minute goal set up a tense finish but Fulham held on to end any distant ideas of being sucked into relegation trouble.

At this stage of last season, Fulham had four fewer points on the board but they were just three points from the drop zone in 11th place in the league under Mark Hughes.

This, their eighth home win of the season, moves them 11 points clear of the bottom three and within sight of a top-seven finish in the Premier League.

Dempsey was Fulham’s top goalscorer last season with 13 and he is on course to claim that award again after adding his 19th of this term, making sure Bryan Ruiz’s parried shot found its way into the net to put his side ahead.

Duff then rewarded the Whites for their possession when he beat several Norwich players and curled the ball past John Ruddy to double the lead in the 13th minute.

Fulham twice hit the woodwork – first from another Dempsey effort and then a shot from young substitute Alex Kacaniklic, making his first appearance for the club after spending the early season on loan at Watford.

Wilbraham’s cross found its way into the net after it was deflected off Aaron Hughes.

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