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Craven Cottage (ATT 25,620) 2nd February 2011 - Kick off 20:00 Ref: M Jones

Fulham Fulham vs Newcastle United Newcastle

Fulham 1

D Duff (67)

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Duff strike sinks Magpies

Fulham edge past Newcastle at Craven Cottage

Last Updated: 02/02/11 10:46pm

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Duff: Fulham's match-winner

Duff: Fulham's match-winner

Damien Duff's first goal of the season helped propel Fulham to a crucial 1-0 success over Newcastle United at Craven Cottage.

Man of the match: Brede Hangeland. Always in the right place and proved too much for Newcastle's lightweight attack Moment of the match: Danny Murphy's defence-splitting pass which released Damien Duff for the winner Attempt of the match: Clint Dempsey was sent clear by debutant Gael Kakuta in the second half, but his shot was saved by Steve Harper. Save of the match: Probably Harper's save although Mark Schwarzer also made a close-range stop to deny Nile Ranger. Talking point: With Shola Ameobi going off with a fractured cheekbone and Andy Carroll at Liverpool who is going to score the goals for Newcastle, who are only six points off the relegation zone.

The breakthrough came with 67 minutes gone when Duff's first-time finish found the back of the net from Danny Murphy's delicious long-ball.

Fulham could and should have settled the contest late on, but Steve Harper came out smartly to deny Clint Dempsey from Gael Kakuta's neat pass.

The home side finished the stronger of the sides as Newcastle rarely threatened to secure a richly-deserved three points for The Cottagers.

Newcastle could ill afford to lose another forward but that was exactly what happened when Shola Ameobi took an elbow to the head in a challenge with Steve Sidwell after just 10 minutes.

Three minutes of futile treatment followed before Ameobi was led down the tunnel and replaced by Nile Ranger.

The visitors had shown total commitment to that point, with Mike Williamson closely shadowing the in-form Moussa Dembele.

Deflected effort

Duff's deflected shot and a weak Danny Simpson strike at the other end were the only efforts of note in the opening quarter, although Sidwell arguably saved a goal by flicking Joey Barton's free-kick behind.

Danny Murphy went close to sending Clint Dempsey clean through but Steve Harper was too quick off his line, while the goalkeeper also snaffled Sidwell's harmless long-ranger.

Newcastle's discipline began to waver and Simpson was booked just past the half-hour mark for hauling back the increasingly influential Dempsey, who also drilled narrowly wide from close range as Newcastle failed to deal with a Murphy free-kick.

Newcastle were briefly down to 10 men again before half-time thanks to another head injury, this time to Simpson.

Williamson produced a great block to deny Duff an early second-half opener but the winger should then have put Fulham ahead in the 50th minute when he prodded wide from barely three yards after Dempsey's shot was saved by Harper and deflected straight to the winger.

Captain Kevin Nolan was booked for a rash tackle on Dembele but the visitors were starting to get a foothold in the game.

Leon Best nodded Danny Guthrie's cross off target and the recalled Chris Baird sent Jonas Gutierrez's wicked cross just the right side of his own post.

Williamson made a near-fatal error just past the hour when he gifted the ball to Duff and Dempsey unleashed a rising near-post drive which was tipped over by Harper.

Suicidal defending

More suicidal defending ultimately cost them in the 67th minute when Jose Enrique was too easily beaten by Duff to Murphy's 60-yard ball and the Irishman kept his cool to strike right-footed past Harper.

Fulham boss Mark Hughes handed on-loan Chelsea winger Gael Kakuta his debut with 19 minutes remaining as Andy Johnson was withdrawn, while Newcastle threw on Peter Lovenkrands for Best.

Baird's free-kick grasscutter was too close to Harper before the Fulham fans began to chant: "There's only one Andy Carroll."

Kakuta should have killed the game 10 minutes from time when he sidefooted Dembele's cross straight at Harper.

And he was almost made to pay seconds later when Ranger forced Mark Schwarzer - a surprise starter four days after the end of Australia's Asian Cup campaign - into a brilliant point-blank smother from Nolan's cutback.

The chances kept coming and Dempsey shot too close to Harper and Kakuta saw his finish blocked after a brilliant, sweeping move.

Fulham ran down time by removing Murphy and Duff for Zoltan Gera and Simon Davies but they also went closest to another goal, with Dembele prodding too close to Harper.

FulhamTeam StatisticsNewcastle United
1Goals0
01st Half Goals0
9Shots on Target3
3Shots off Target1
4Blocked Shots1
5Corners7
15Fouls20
6Offsides0
0Yellow Cards3
0Red Cards0
70.9Passing Success65
24Tackles17
95.8Tackles Success82.4
49.6Possession50.4
46.3Territorial Advantage53.7

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Barclays Premier League

Barclays Premier League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Liverpool 34 77
2 Chelsea 34 75
3 Manchester City 33 71
4 Arsenal 34 67
5 Everton 34 66
6 Tottenham Hotspur 34 60
7 Manchester United 33 57
8 Southampton 34 48
9 Newcastle United 34 46
10 Stoke City 34 43
11 Crystal Palace 34 40
12 West Ham United 34 37
13 Hull City 33 36
14 Aston Villa 33 34
15 Swansea City 34 33
16 West Bromwich Albion 33 33
17 Norwich City 34 32
18 Fulham 34 30
19 Cardiff City 34 29
20 Sunderland 33 26

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