Goals from Steve Sidwell and Hugo Rodallega earned Fulham a 2-1 win over Newcastle at Craven Cottage
Last Updated: 11/12/12 9:29am
Steve Sidwell: Celebrates with Damien Duff after his opening goal
Fulham picked up their first win in eight games with a 2-1 victory over Newcastle after an entertaining clash at Craven Cottage.
Hugo Rodallega's second-half goal proved to be enough for Fulham after Hatem Ben Arfa's stunning strike had cancelled out Steve Sidwell's first-half opener for Fulham.
Best of the game
- Man of the match: Damien Duff - Booed throughout by Newcastle fans, the left-winger set up both home goals against his old club, meaning he just edged out Steve Sidwell.
- Goal of the match - Hatem Ben Arfa - A superb long-range strike from the Frenchman with his left foot as he caught Mark Schwarzer out - the goalkeeper had taken a step or two off his line in anticipation of a cross.
- Moment of the match - Dimitar Berbatov's touch of class - Decked out in leggings, the Bulgarian forward certainly at his own pace. His personal highlight came late in the second half when he watched a high ball carefully out of the night's sky and killed it dead at his feet.
- Save of the match - Tim Krul - Few would have backed against Berbatov not scoring when he was one-on-one with the Dutchman in the first half, but Krul held his nerve, standing tall before blocking the shot with a strong right arm.
- Shot of the match - Take your pick from Fabricio Coloccini's right-foot curler that hit the Fulham woodwork and stayed out, or Mladen Petric's late left-footed strike that clipped the Newcastle bar and went over.
- Talking point - Quite how Fulham had gone 317 minutes without a Premier League goal before Sidwell broke the deadlock is tough to work out. Goals should not be a problem for a side with Berbatov in it. As for Newcastle, their travel sickness continues
Fulham started the brighter of the two sides and it came as no surprise when they broke the deadlock after 19 minutes through Sidwell.
Damien Duff picked out Sidwell inside the box and his shot took a wicked deflection off Mike Williamson to loop over Tim Krul and high into the net to end Fulham's 317-minute drought in front of goal.
The home side should have doubled their lead a minute later when Dimitar Berbatov beat Fabricio Coloccini to go through on goal, but Krul stood up well to keep out the Bulgarian's effort.
Berbatov had another chance to score just before the half hour mark when Krul could only palm Sascha Riether's cross from the right into his path, but the striker's close-range effort was kept out by a combination of Krul and Danny Simpson.
Newcastle almost equalised on 32 minutes when the unmarked Coloccini met Hatem Ben Arfa's corner from the right and his powerful header was brilliantly cleared off the line by Riether.
Riether came to Fulham's rescue again right on the stroke of half-time when Mark Schwarzer flapped at a corner and the ball dropped to Demba Ba, who fired in a shot goalwards which was blocked by the alert full-back.
Newcastle did draw level on 54 minutes, however, thanks to a stunning strike right out of the blue from Ben Arfa. There looked very little on when Ben Arfa picked the ball up wide on the right on the edge of the box, but the Frenchman caught Schwarzer out with a dipping shot which flew in off the underside of the crossbar past the hapless Fulham keeper.
Fulham were denied a second goal on 62 minutes when Berbatov slipped Sidwell through on goal, but Krul was quickly off his line to block the midfielder's shot.
The home side did not have to wait long for a second goal, though, as a minute later Rodallega got on the end of Duff's inviting free-kick to head home past Krul from close-range.
Newcastle were inches away from a second equaliser on 71 minutes when the ball dropped to Coloccini inside the box and the defender curled a superb effort off the crossbar with Schwarzer beaten all ends up.
Fulham substitute Mladen Petric then came close to netting a third for the home side a minute from time when his strike from the edge of the box clipped the top of the crossbar.
|Fulham||Team Statistics||Newcastle United|
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|7||Shots on Target||8|
|9||Shots off Target||7|
|51.2||1st Half Poss.||48.8|
|41.1||2nd Half Poss.||58.9|
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|12||West Bromwich Albion||1||1|
|16||Queens Park Rangers||1||0|
|18||West Ham United||1||0|