Magpies stop the rot
By Alex Livie. Last Updated: 04/05/05 8:57pm
Newcastle finally emerged from their month of horror with a 3-1 win at Fulham.
The Magpies' season fell apart in April and they made the trip to Craven Cottage on the back of a seven-game winless run.
There had been few signs of late that Newcastle were ready to turn the corner, but The Magpies produced a passionate display which garnered three points thanks to goals from Darren Ambrose, Patrick Kluivert and Shola Ameobi - with Tomasz Radzinski's late effort proving nothing more than a consolation.
Magpies chief Graeme Souness opted to rest Alan Shearer in favour of Kluivert and the move paid off, as Newcastle attacked their task with relish and dominated from the outset.
James Milner produced a fine display against Crystal Palace and he took his form into Wednesday's clash at Craven Cottage as he gave Liam Rosenior a torrid time down the flank.
Milner was the architect of Newcastle's first chance, as his tricky run and cross resulted in Kluivert cracking an effort into the side netting.
Newcastle have defended sloppily on occasions this term and they went to sleep at a Mark Pembridge free kick, but Alain Goma failed to take advantage as he guided his header wide of the upright.
Milner and Ambrose combined to good effect on ten minutes, but Rosenior did enough to take the sting out of the former Ipswich man's shot and Edwin van der Sar made a comfortable save.
Van der Sar was quickly off his line moments later to acrobatically punch a Stephen Carr cross to safety, but the Dutch keeper could do nothing to prevent Newcastle from opening the scoring shortly afterwards.
A deep cross from Charles N'Zogbia fell at the feet of Ambrose by way of a deflected Milner header and the midfielder powered a low shot beyond van der Sar to hand Newcastle a deserved advantage.
The lead could have been doubled on the half-hour, but Kluivert headed over the bar after engineering space in the box to meet a fine Milner cross.
Luis Boa Morte produced a gem of a pass to set Andy Cole free for a rare Fulham opening, but Shay Given raced off his line to clear and another former Magpie, Lee Clark, headed the rebound over the bar.
Steven Taylor twice conceded free kicks early in the second half and it took important defensive interventions to avert the danger from Pembridge's excellent set pieces.
Fulham's attempts to increase the pace at the start of the second half unsettled Newcastle, but The Cottagers were rocked onto their heels just past the hour as Kluivert handed The Magpies a vital cushion.
The Dutchman darted to the near post to meet N'Zogbia's corner and his header thundered past Pembridge at the near post to justify Souness' decision to field him from the start.
Fulham were undone at a corner once again 15 minutes from time, as Ameobi climbed unchecked at the far post to head home a Milner delivery and kill off the home side's hopes of a revival.
Tomasz Radzinski had been on the periphery for much of the evening, but he latched onto a fine pass from Rosenior to slot past Given and give the home fans something to cheer on an evening of frustration.
Brian McBride almost set up a grandstand finish when firing in a low effort on the turn, but Given stooped to his right to make an excellent save, while Radzinski stabbed wide at the far post as Newcastle claimed a welcome three points and ended Fulham's unbeaten run on home soil in 2005.Click here for Fulham v Newcastle player ratings.
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|16||West Bromwich Albion||34||33|