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Norwich 0-0 Fulham Prem26 1213 Daily Mail

last updated Monday 11th February 2013, 2:24 PM
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Mark Ryan at Daily Mail

Norwich (0) 0 Fulham (0) 0

It was so ugly that even Dimitar Berbatov had to ask if he was still handsome. A point apiece more or less suited two teams currently doing just enough to stay out of trouble.

And it might have been more merciful had they agreed at lunchtime to share the spoils and then stayed in their dressing rooms.

An afternoon's entertainment should not really have been obliterated by a back spasm and a kick in the face - but that is effectively what happened.

Without Grant Holt, victim of the grisly spasm, Norwich had no one who could finish. 'I had a sore back,' said Holt, bluntly.

So when had he realised he could not play? 'At some point,' he replied helpfully. Jokingly, he had tweeted the previous night that he was looking after his children - and therefore risked injury.

'His kids are young and he's a big fellow, so I hope it wasn't that,' said his manager Chris Hughton.

'The physios worked on him but it wasn't to be.'

We might have expected Berbatov to light up a dull afternoon instead. But he was quickly bloodied and stunned by a wayward boot to the face from the careless Bradley Johnson.

'He came over to the touchline and asked me if he was still handsome,' said Fulham manager Martin Jol. 'I said "yes". It's important for him, but not for me.'

And Jol had every right to look glum after a bug had already left some of his squad feeling out of sorts in the run-up to the match.

Norwich almost scored early when Elliott Bennett and Javier Garrido combined to set up Luciano Becchio.

Considering the promising quality of the build-up, the former Leeds striker produced a tame effort on goal.

And Norwich captain Russell Martin then steered a free header wide. Fulham midfielder Steve Sidwell livened up proceedings temporarily after the break with a drive which at least tested Mark Bunn.

And Bryan Ruiz saw his shot blocked by Sebastien Bassong. But as the game drifted below mediocrity, even the scoreboard gave up and conked out, as if realising there was no point in it being there. Johnson stabbed his half-volley wide and substitute Kei Kamara looped a hopeful header over the bar, the final chances that went begging.

Norwich: Bunn, Martin, Bassong, Turner, Garrido, Snodgrass, Tettey, Johnson, Elliott Bennett (Jackson 78), Hoolahan, Becchio (Kamara 85).
Subs not used: Camp, Whittaker, Howson, Surman, Tierney.

Booked: Snodgrass, Bennett

Fulham: Schwarzer, Manolev, Senderos, Hangeland, Riise, Sidwell, Frimpong (Emanuelson 63), Duff, Ruiz (Dejagah 90), Berbatov, Rodallega (Petric 75).
Subs not used: Etheridge, Karagounis, Hughes, Kacaniklic.

Booked: Frimpong, Manolev

Referee: Howard Webb.

Attendance: 26,816.

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