Premier League: Norwich 0 Fulham 0
By Football News
Norwich were held to a 0-0 draw at home to Fulham on Saturday, leaving the hosts without a Premier League victory in almost two months.
Neither goalkeeper had a serious save to make in a stale match at Carrow Road, where a number of new faces provided the only real interest for either set of fans.
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 Luciano Becchio, a January signing from Leeds United.
Playmaker Hoolahan provided Becchio with an early chance to open his account, picking the Argentine striker out with a low ball across the penalty area, but his shot on the stretch was grabbed gratefully by Fulham goalkeeper 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 really managing to take the game by the scruff of the neck.
Becchio showed glimpses of his goal-scoring instinct by regularly getting himself into dangerous positions, but will have been frustrated by a lack of quality service from his new Premier League team-mates.
Martin Jol will probably have been the happier of the two managers going in at half-time after seeing his team silence the Carrow Road crowd.
Norwich custodian 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.
The visitors were certainly playing with more purpose at the start of the second half, and Sebastien Bassong was brave to block a well-struck half-volley from Bryan Ruiz.
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 sailed well over the bar.
The on-loan Sporting Kansas City man 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 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.