Norwich City 1-2 Fulham

Fulham midfielder Scott Parker scores the winner against Norwich

Scott Parker fired a superb late winner as relegation-threatened Fulham secured a rare away win against Norwich.

A vibrant first half saw Gary Hooper open the scoring with a 30-yard strike that deflected off Aaron Hughes.

Scott Parker

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Norwich 1-2 Fulham: Rene Meulensteen hails 'fantastic' Scott Parker

Parker had an equaliser correctly ruled out for handball, before Pajtim Kasami struck a low free-kick to level.

After the interval, Leroy Fer's header was cleared off the line for the hosts but Fulham claimed a vital win thanks to Parker's 25-yard drive.

Fulham looked on course to escape the bottom three, only for Dwight Gayle's injury-time effort for Crystal Palace away at Aston Villa to see them remain in there on goal difference.

Watched on at Carrow Road by newly appointed first-team technical director Alan Curbishley, Fulham came into the match on a run of one win in their previous nine games and with the unenviable record of conceding a Premier League-high 34 goals.

This poor record seem to be at risk of being extended as Hooper picked up the ball and fired in an effort that nicked off Hughes. It looped over goalkeeper David Stockdale, who had been drafted in to replace Maarten Stekelenburg, as the Netherlands international had picked up an ankle injury in training on Christmas Day.

Hooper became the first Norwich player since the creation of the Premier League to score in four consecutive home fixtures.

Fulham have looked a more expansive outfit under new head coach Rene Meulensteen and they presented a consistent threat, despite going behind.

Damien Duff poked a cross wide from the excellent Kasami, then Parker had a goal ruled out for handball after charging down a John Ruddy clearance.

Undeterred, Fulham drew level as Switzerland international Kasami's set-piece squirmed through a weak Norwich wall from the edge of the area.

The Cottagers ended the first half in the ascendancy, but faced resurgent opponents who had won two of their previous three home fixtures.

Visiting defender Sascha Riether had to be alert to head a Fer header away, with a scrambling Stockdale beaten.

Chris Hughton

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Norwich did not take chances - Hughton

Adel Taarabt had excelled in the lone-striker role in the Cottagers' enthralling 4-2 defeat by Manchester City last weekend, and came close to beating Ruddy when he latched onto a long punt forward.

Neither side previously possessed a scoring ratio better than one goal-a-game in the league this season, and this lack of incision was on show as both sides bombed forward in an entertaining contest without forcing a breakthrough.

The Premier League's goal decision system was tested as Fulham substitute Hugo Rodallega appealed when he incorrectly believed he had scrambled in at the back post after beating Wes Hoolahan to a header that was blocked by Ruddy.

The Cottagers were not to be denied for long, as Parker dribbled into space on the edge of the area and lashed in an unstoppable shot which saw his side win on their travels for the first time since the 4-1 triumph at Crystal Palace on 21 October.

Norwich manager Chris Hughton:

"We didn't make the most of our opportunities. I am really disappointed not to come away with a result.

"It is a concern when you do not get the result you feel you deserved.

"We would have liked to go into the Manchester United game on the back of a good result today."

Fulham head coach Rene Meulensteen:

"We have been working so hard since I took over. It was so important we got something today.

"I have worked with the players for a month, so I have a good idea of what they are capable of. Scott Parker's first touch was excellent, and he struck it so quickly. He typifies the character of the team.

"Alan Curbishley's appointment had been discussed even before I came here. We travel up to Hull in good confidence."

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As It Stood

TeamPWDLGDPts
1Arsenal1812331839
2Man City1812243238
3Chelsea1811431537
4Liverpool1811342236
5Everton189721234
6Newcastle181035633
7Man Utd18945931
8Tottenham18945-531
9Southampton18765727
10Stoke18567-821
11Swansea18558-120
12Hull18558-720
13Aston Villa18549-719
14Norwich18549-1519
15West Brom18387-517
16Cardiff18459-1517
17Crystal Palace185112-1516
18Fulham185112-1616
19West Ham183510-1014
20Sunderland183411-1713
View full Premier League table

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