Cottagers gun down Magpies
By James Pearson. Last Updated: 07/11/04 4:57pm
Newcastle United dominated Fulham at St James' Park but were amazingly on the end of a 4-1 reverse as The Cottagers counter-attacked to perfection.
The Magpies were on top of the visitors from the off, however a well-taken goal from Collins John and a second half brace from Steed Malbranque killed off the contest.
Luis Boa Morte got in on the act with a fourth before the home fans were given something to cheer about when Craig Bellamy netted.
Mark Crossley continued between the sticks for Fulham and was outstanding while at the other United's deputy Steve Harper was unable to impress in Shay Given's absence.
The Magpies began in confident mood and Crossley needed to be at the races from the off with a number of shots finding their way to his goal.
The Wales keeper was forced into a double save after five minutes to keep out firstly Lee Bowyer's drive before denying Bellamy moments later.
Crossley was again called into action on 15 minutes and he made a superb reflex save with his left leg to keep out Bowyer's low drive.
The Cottagers had to weather the early storm before they could break and Andy Cole was close to tapping the visitors in front when he almost connected with Boa Morte's left wing cross.
Crossley was soon on his toes again and this time he was forced into a quick-fire save to keep out Robbie Elliott's near post header from Olivier Bernard's left wing cross.
Just seconds later the visitors were ahead. Boa Morte played in John and he burst clear of the defence to drill a left-footed effort past the helpless Harper.
Newcastle felt they should have been awarded a penalty when Alan Shearer went down in the box under pressure from Papa Bouba Diop, however referee Howard Webb did not give a penalty.
The decision incensed the home side to such an extent that manager Graeme Souness was sent from the touchline for his protests.
Patrick Kluivert thought he had levelled for The Magpies before the break, however Crossley denied the Dutchman with a point blank save after Bellamy's initial effort was blocked.
The home team continued were they left off after the break and were close to levelling from Crossley's poor throw, but Zat Knight blocked Shearer's effort superbly.
Fulham's hopes appeared to take a knock when goalscorer John was forced off with injury shortly after, however the visitors would not lose their scoring touch.
Souness brought Laurent Robert off the bench and the French winger almost made an immediate impact after replacing Aaron Hughes.
The former PSG man forced Crossley into a low save from a long-range free kick before lashing a left-footed volley on target from the angle.
Moments after Crossley made another stop, this time to deny Kluivert - the contest was over as Fulham bagged a quick-fire brace.
Firstly Cole pounced on Andy O'Brien's mistake before playing in Malbranque who lashed the ball past the helpless Harper past his left side.
Fulham had a penalty moments later when substitute Tomasz Radzinski was brought down by Elliott and Malbranque coolly slotted home from 12 yards out.
The Canadian was close to making it four just minutes later, however Harper got a foot to the striker's drive to keep out the visitors.
Newcastle were all over the shop defensively at this stage and Malbranque freed Boa Morte, who burst clear before chipping Harper and heaping more misery on the home side.
Souness' side were not to be denied however, despite conceding three goals in the space of 11 minutes, and Bellamy did give the supporters something to cheer.
Bowyer played in the ball from out wide right and Bellamy attacked the ball at the back post and headed back across goal and past Crossley.
The Magpies failed to net again and will wonder how they ended up on the end of such a scoreline despite dominating Fulham for much of the game.
|0||1st Half Goals||1|
|15||Shots on Target||7|
|4||Shots off Target||4|
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