Paul Lambert had spoken of a successful 12 months for Norwich City but then Fulham rolled up and nearly claimed only a second away win to send the Scot and his men into 2012 on a dissonant note.
But instead Simeon Jackson, with virtually the last kick of City's footballing year, headed an equaliser deep in added time to salvage a point that, following his side's second-half renaissance, always appeared likely.
"Yes, a good way to end the year," a happy Lambert said. "I thought we were relentless at times in the second half. We played in fits and starts in the first half against a really good side – Fulham are a really top side. The lads were disappointed coming in one-nil down at half-time but they dragged it [round] themselves and they were excellent."
Seven minutes was all that Fulham required to make Carrow Road shake with the sound of their fans celebrating. Bradley Johnson allowed Moussa Dembélé to coast past him with ease before the midfielder slipped the ball to Orlando Sá. The 23-year-old made a statue of Zak Whitbread, then finished beyond John Ruddy for a first senior goal for the club.
After this bright start, Norwich pressed forward and they should have equalised. An effort from Johnson's left boot was deflected for a corner by Brede Hangeland and when another followed there was a double goalline clearance from twin Steve Morison efforts: the initial header was blocked by Kerim Frei, John Arne Riise stopped the follow-up.
Despite being without the apparently injured Bobby Zamora and Andrew Johnson – both have differences with Martin Jol – the visiting gang still had the cutting edge that the home team lacked. An illustration was offered on 33 minutes, when Bryan Ruiz executed a backheel to Stephen Kelly, who surged down the right. From his cross, Sá's first header was followed by a Clint Dempsey effort that hit the bar.
Moments later, Dempsey and Sa were at it again: this time the American dropped into a midfield to thread a crafty ball into the run of his strike partner, but he lost control inside the area.
Frei was next up in the Fulham show: from inside his half, the Swiss ghosted through the home midfield along the left before cutting on to a right foot sweet enough to force Ruddy to fling himself left to stop a certain goal-of-the-month contender.
Lambert's reaction at half-time was to replace David Fox with Grant Holt but, while the Scot's side lacks the kind of spark Frei offers Fulham, as he said, they do not know when to give in. After another effortless surge from the 18-year-old Frei that took him from his territory into City's, to mirror an earlier one, Lambert watched on expressionless, hoping his side could reach for inspiration.
They were about to. As the contest approached the hour mark, City had gone close with Fulham repelling the second passage of intense pressure from them. Anthony Pilkington was frustrated by Riise sticking out a leg when the goal was open, and after the ball pin-balled around the area, a Johnson attempt was blocked. Kyle Naughton then blazed a shot in from the left that skimmed off David Stockdale's bar.
Pilkington went close with a 25-yard piledriver but this appeared one of those days for the men in yellow until Jackson's late goal sent the Canaries, and their support, home singing.
For Jol, there was only the disappointment of a victory scrubbed out. He said: "We had a few tired legs in the second half – we tried to play our football and should have scored more."