Fulham continued their bid for a great escape with a 1-0 win over fellow Barclays Premier League strugglers Norwich City. Hugo Rodallega, who scored at Stoke City to preserve Wigan Athetlic's top-flight status in 2011, was rewarded with a start by Fulham manager Felix Magath after sealing last weekend's 2-1 win at Aston Villa.
The Colombian striker again proved himself adept amid a scrap for survival as he stole in to score the only goal five minutes before half-time. Fulham were indebted to goalkeeper David Stockdale for a pair of magnificent saves, while Norwich, who were playing for the first time under Neil Adams after Chris Hughton's departure last Sunday, also struck the crossbar through Robert Snodgrass.
Magath's men played with greater assurance after taking the lead and are now two points behind fourth-bottom Norwich, who face a daunting final four matches against Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal.
Stockdale endured a nervy moment in the sixth minute, pushing behind as Nathan Redmond, who was one of six changes in the starting XI selected by Adams, launched a right-wing cross that threatened to sneak in at the near post.
Rodallega carried the major attacking threat for the hosts during a disjointed opening. He pulled a shot across the outstretched John Ruddy and past the far post after Pajtim Kasami's flick-on, before nodding the ball at Norwich's goalkeeper when Steve Sidwell diverted a 19th-minute punt into his path.
Stockdale was soon handed some considerably more taxing work and responded with a pair of outstanding stops. Ricky van Wolfswinkel was ready to celebrate the end of a 23-match goal drought when he volleyed goalwards from Jonathan Howson's cross, but Stockdale produced a stunning reaction save.
From the resulting 29th-minute corner he kept out Leroy Fer's powerful header before Bradley Johnson lashed the rebound wide. Stockdale could do nothing as a Snodgrass free-kick cannoned back off the bar and, buoyed by those reprieves, Fulham took a 40th-minute lead.
Norwich full-back Steven Whittaker brought down Kieran Richardson and Sidwell was allowed to glance on Lewis Holtby's left-wing delivery for Rodallega to sweep home on the half-volley.
The visitors' set-piece frailties almost undermined them again as Rodallega met a 55th-minute corner to be denied by Martin Olsson on the line. Fulham's defence were preforming well, with centre-back Fernando Amorebieta launching a brave last-ditch challenge to deny Snodgrass after the lively Redmond had touched the ball beyond Stockdale.
Even Rodallega was influential in his own area, heading Michael Turner's goal-bound effort to safety, while substitute Scott Parker and fellow midfielder Sidwell came close to giving Fulham breathing space within the last 20 minutes.
Fulham substitute Ashkan Dejagah spurned a glorious chance to extend the lead, but Fulham held on to raise hopes of another great escape.
Fulham boss Felix Magath: "I am happy with the win but today I am not so satisfied. We have to respect Norwich were the better team but we had a very good goalkeeper who saved us from defeat."
Norwich City manager Neil Adams: “We always felt confident we would get something. Time goes so quickly, we ran out of time. We’re in it now, without a shadow of a doubt. We’ve got four tough games and we’ve got to get something out of them.”