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Fulham 2-2 Norwich Cham 13 1617 - The Guardian

last updated Wednesday 19th October 2016, 12:22 PM

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Nick Miller at The Guardian

Fulham (0) 2-2 (2) Norwich

Alex Neil pointed to 15 minutes of lost concentration as the reason Norwich City threw away a two-goal lead and top spot in the Championship after drawing with Fulham.

The Canaries were 2-0 up and seemingly strolling to a victory but Fulham surged back and claimed a 2-2 draw, leaving Neil frustrated and his players “angry with themselves”.

Norwich went ahead through a pair of Graham Dorrans penalties but second-half strikes from Stefan Johansen and Chris Martin meant they settled for a point and, thanks to Newcastle’s 2-0 win at Barnsley, second place in the table.

“I said at half-time: ‘Don’t sit back,’” Neil said, after watching them do just that. “And the strange thing is after we conceded the second goal we clicked back into gear and started to look threatening again.”

Both teams went at each other rapidly from the off but Norwich were the first to break through, in the 18th minute.

Jacob Murphy drove into the area, went down under the challenge of Scott Malone and the referee James Linington pointed to the spot.

It looked generous but Malone offered no protest beyond perhaps wishing he had not got out of bed on Tuesday morning.

Dorrans sidefooted the penalty down the middle of the goal with supreme nonchalance.

Notably, the Fulham manager, Slavisa Jokanovic, offered no complaints.

Fulham attacked gamely but with little sense of direction, as if they were windmilling their arms wildly while Norwich held them at bay with efficient jabs.

All the while irritation grew in the stands, hardly surprising as the home fans haven’t seen a league win since the opening day of the season against Newcastle.

Then five minutes before the break, they redirected their frustration towards Linington, who awarded another penalty as Cameron Jerome fell somewhere near the hapless Malone.

There may have been a slight tug of the shirt but not one convincing enough to quell the derision from the stands.

This time Dorrans buried it to keeper David Button’s left.

At half-time a man proposed to his girlfriend via the PA announcer, but would the spirit of great romance spur Fulham on?

Much like the proposee, the answer was yes, as the hosts were changed men in the second half.

Jokanovic claimed he said “nothing special” at half-time but they certainly played like a team on the receiving end of a robust talking-to.

Johansen skimmed the bar with a free-kick, then pulled a goal back in fortunate fashion, Martin’s shot deflecting home off the Norwegian’s shins.

The crowd now roused, Fulham moved with much more confidence and purpose, then in the 66th minute they equalised.

Dorrans gave the ball away in midfield, Johansen slipped it to Martin in space on the left of the penalty area and he slotted home.

After not scoring in his first six Fulham appearances, that was the Derby loanee’s second in successive matches.

Norwich came back into the game, but couldn’t force a win.

Nevertheless, Neil was not overly concerned at dropping behind Newcastle.

“As long as you’re in and about it around Christmas, you’ve still got a chance,” he said.

One suspects this won’t be the first time those two favourites for promotion swap the lead.

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