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Norwich 1-1 Fulham FAC 3rd Rnd 1314 Daily Mail

last updated Monday 06th January 2014, 1:14 PM
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Andrew Warshaw at Daily Mail

Norwich (1) 1 Fulham (1) 1

Fulham boss Rene Meulensteen described it as a 'Gordon Banks'-style save.

That may have been overdoing it slightly but no one would argue that David Stockdale kept his team in the FA Cup.

On 58 minutes of this all-Premier League tie which Norwich should have won in terms of chances and possession, the whole home bench rose as one to celebrate record signing Ricky van Wolfswinkel's downward header that seemed certain to secure their passage into the next round.

But Stockdale had other ideas, using all his reflexes to keep it out and secure a replay which both managers admitted they would rather have done without.

As anticipated, both teams made wholesale changes, but of all the relatively unknown faces on display, no one produced a more eye-catching performance than 18-year-old Josh Murphy, whose pace and balance on the left for Norwich were a constant threat.

Yet it was one of the old-timers, striker Darren Bent, who struck the opening blow.

Making his first start since November 30, Bent got between Norwich's sleepy defenders to dispatch Chris David's cross.

If Fulham thought they would repeat their Premier League victory of 10 days ago here, they were quickly pegged back as Robert Snodgrass stooped right on half-time to equalise from Murphy's delicious cross.

Cue Stockdale's acrobatics, which prompted Meulensteen to wax lyrical afterwards, saying: 'It was one of the best saves I've ever seen.

'It was Gordon Banks-like. The FA Cup is a great competition to still be in.'

Norwich boss Chris Hughton also praised Stockdale for the stop.

'Outstanding,' the Norwich boss said. 'From the angle we had we thought it was in. It's a wonderful save.'

Hughton lamented the slack defending which allowed Bent to head Fulham in front, when goalkeeper Mark Bunn was caught in no-man's land trying to meet Chris David's cross.

'We conceded a poor goal,' Hughton said. 'It's there for all to see - it was a fairly hopeful ball into the box and we should have dealt with it better.

'We showed good spirit to come back and scored the goal at the right time.

'We gave everything to try to win the game. On the balance of play, I thought we deserved it.

'It's a replay we would rather not have, but having said that we would rather still be in the competition than out.'

Fulham talisman Dimitar Berbatov was missing, but Meulensteen insisted the sole reason for the striker's omission was to allow him to recuperate following a recent injury.

Meulensteen said: 'He's not injured but because of him coming back from injury and being able to play the 90 minutes against West Ham, we thought it was better for him to recuperate and be ready for the Sunderland game.'

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