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Cardiff score vital victory in fight against relegation

ESPN staff
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Steven Caulker celebrates after scoring the first of his two goals for Cardiff against Fulham © Getty Images
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Two goals from Steven Caulker gave Cardiff City a vital victory 3-1 win over Fulham as the battle against Premier League relegation intensified.

Caulker got his first of the afternoon in first-half stoppage time, as Craig Noone's low cross was deflected into his path and gave him the simple task of finishing from two yards out.

Fulham equalised on 59 minutes as Lewis Holtby scored his first goal for the club and his second Premier League goal of the season - his first had come against Fulham for Tottenham before joining the Cottagers on loan. A corner from Giorgos Karagounis was flicked on by John Heitinga and Holtby tapped in.

However, Cardiff sealed just their fifth home win of the campaign with two goals in the space of six minutes. First Caulker doubled his tally for the afternoon with an unmarked header at a corner, before Sascha Reither put through his own net after a Noone cross caused a goalmouth scramble.

Fulham did have the ball in the net late on but the offside flag was up against Steve Sidwell and the defeat leaves Felix Magath's side three points adrift at the foot of the table, and five points from safety.

Norwich and Crystal Palace were frustrated in their efforts to put distance between themselves and the bottom three, as Norwich surrendered a 1-0 lead against Stoke City while Crystal Palace lost 1-0 at home to Southampton.

After a goalless first half at Carrow Road, it was Norwich who took the lead on 59 minutes when Robert Snodgrass picked out Bradley Johnson with a free kick that Johnson headed home from six yards.

However, the lead lasted until the 73rd minute when Sebastien Bassong bundled over John Guidetti in the box, and Jonathan Walters converted the penalty. Just four minutes later, Walters' afternoon was over as he was shown a red card for a studs-first challenge on Alexander Tettey.

The only goal of the game at Selhurst Park came in bizarre fashion. A counter-attack saw Jay Rodriguez beat Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni to the ball in a 50-50 challenge, and the Southampton man managed to stab the ball goalwards from a seated position from fully 30 yards.

The results mean just six points separate Cardiff in the third of the relegation spots from West Ham, who sit 10th in the Premier League table.

Jay Rodriguez beats Julian Speroni to the ball on his way to scoring the only goal for Southampton against Crystal Palace © Getty Images
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