Fulham 6 Norwich City 0

Last updated : 15 May 2005 By Footymad Previewer
Norwich City were sent crashing back into the Championship as Fulham hit them for six at Craven Cottage.

The Canaries battled bravely against relegation in the final months of the campaign, but their fate was sealed as they failed to produce one final victory to keep themselves up.

Norwich headed to Craven Cottage knowing a win would secure their place in the Premiership and a huge following travelled to London to discover their destiny.

But the Cottagers were in no mood for sympathy and Brian McBride led from the front to strike twice in an easy win.

Fulham had their own aspirations in the knowledge that a victory could give them a 12th place finish, but it was the visitors who started strongest.

David Bentley tested Edwin van der Sar with a long-range free-kick early on, and after eight minutes Darren Huckerby's shot was deflected wide by Moritz Volz following a Dean Ashton cross.

Norwich were happy to send men forward, and there was always a danger they would be caught out by Fulham's sharp attackers. And so it proved as Chris Coleman's side took the lead after 10 minutes.

Lee Clark played a neat ball inside to Tomasz Radzinski and the Canadian international quickly slipped a ball through the channel for McBride. The striker wasted no time in hitting a first-time shot on the turn beneath Robert Green and into the net.

Norwich tried to get themsleves back into the game and Leon McKenzie appealed in vain for a penalty after 14 minutes. Bentley curled a free-kick wide soon after and Huckerby appealed for a penalty on 30 minutes as Moritz Volz seemed to hold him back in the area.

For all their efforts Norwich failed to pose any real threat to frighten the Fulham back line and it came as no surprise when the home side doubled their advantage.

Luis Boa Morte was fouled by Thomas Helveg 25 yards from goal and Papa Bouba Diop stepped forward to send a stunning curling free-kick into the top corner.

Radzinski hit a long-range snap shot moments later which was well saved by Green, and on the verge of half-time the Norwich keeper produced a fantastic save to deny Fulham a third.

Volz crossed from the right and McBride slid in, only to see Green brilliantly tip his close range effort onto the bar.

The half-time break gave Canaries boss Nigel Worthington a chance to re-evaluate his plans and induce some hope into his side.

Unfortunately there was little sign of improvement on the field and after 54 minutes Fulham increased their lead and put the game beyond doubt.

City substitute Mattias Jonson only managed to half clear a Fulham corner and the ball fell to Zat Knight who hammered it past Green.

It was Knight's second goal of his Fulham career and left Norwich hoping other results would go their way to give them a Premiership lifeline.

On the hour mark Jonson came close with a fierce drive but van der Sar was equal to his effort and turned his shot round the post.

Four minutes later Jason Shackell headed over the bar, and it was not long before Fulham rubbed more salt into their wounds.

With 18 minutes remaining Steed Malbranque played in Boa Morte. The Portuguese winger took his pass too wide of Green, but quickly cut back to tee up Malbranque, who slotted the ball into the net to grab the home side's fourth.

With hope of staying in the top-flight now all but drained from the Norwich players it was left to Fulham to finish off the afternoon in style.

With four minutes left Malbranque produced a fantastic piece of skill to play in McBride, and the American slotted home his second of the afternoon.

Andy Cole came on with time running out - but still managed to get on the scoresheet. In the final minute McBride cut the ball across and Cole cheekily back-heeled into the net.

It was a cruel final day for Norwich who had fought so hard to keep themselves in the division. The Norwich players came back onto the pitch after the game to salute their supporters, but those fans will be watching Championship football next season.