Newcastle won this game, for the second week running in injury time, when a foul on Alan Smith by Elliot Omozusi, with just a minute remaining in injury time, gave Newcastle a chance to grab all 3 points. Since Martins had been replaced by Viduka some 15 minutes earlier, Joey Barton came up to take the crucial kick, and he dispatched it beautifully, low to Niemiâ€™s left, giving the goalkeeper no chance.
Joey Barton – delighted to hit late winner from penalty spot
So weâ€™ll have to stop saying Newcastle donâ€™t have any luck becasue we’ve now won our last two games in injury time. But it was hardly a good performance from Newcastle this afternoon, and the 3 points will allay criticism of Newcastleâ€™s performance, which in all honesty lacked fight and determination.
Fulham are 4th bottom of the league before this game and had been beaten quite a few times recently. And you could clearly see why that was the case today at Craven Cottage, where in the first half Fulham looked nervous and lacked confidence. In the second half however, they more than held their own against a Newcastle team, who lacked fire and determination all afternoon. At times it looked like the Newcastle players were in a training session.
But the last minute penalty by Joey Barton, his first goal for the club, meant we got all 3 points today and we cannot be too critical. However, to say this was a most disappointing display by Newcastle is an understatement. Even if we hadnâ€™t played well, we would have at least expected more fight and fire from the players, They had certainly shown that in the last 3 games but that was missing today â€“ completely missing.
While the defense wasnâ€™t really stretched by a poor Fulham attack, we nevertheless almost gifted Fulham with a goal after 57 minutes when Rozehnal and Beye both left the ball â€“ on the edge of the penalty area â€“ to each other. Healy then had a clear shot at goal and should have done better than hit the ball straight at goalkeeper Given, who was solid for Newcastle in goal today.
Cacapa and Beye were both solid at the back, but Rozehnal again seemed hesitant and lacking in confidence. Cacapa in particular made some excellent blocks at the right times for his team in the second half and was probably our best player today. Thjis was a good comeback from the Brazilian after his last poor perfromance against Portsmoth. He looked a very solid and experienced player this afternoon. Habib Beye also put in another excellent performance, and should have had a penalty in the first half, when he had his shirt clearly pulled by a Fulham defender, following a corner from Geremi.
The Newcastle attack never really got going today and Oba Martins was not pleased when he was replaced by Viduka after 77 minutes, and looked a forlorn figure as he trudged off the field. Young Martins got no service whatsoever, except for a few high balls down the middle. That’s hardly the type of service we should be providing our 5â€™7″ striker, whose major attribute is his lightning speed.
But the late winner, beautifully put home by Barton, at least gives us the 3 points, when we didnâ€™t deserve the win. But given some of the bad luck weâ€™ve had this season the 1-0 win will cheer up Newcastle supporters no end. And we’ll take all the luck we can get these days.
Now to take Derby County apart next Sunday. 😀
Fulham: Anti Niemi, Carlos Bocanegra, Dejan Stefanovic, David Healy, Steven Davis, Aaron Hughes (c), Elliot Omozusi, Clint Dempsey, Hameur Bouazza, Simon Davies, Danny Murphy
Subs: Tony Warner, Seol Ki-Hyeon, Alexey Smertin, Shefki Kuqi, Chris Baird
Newcastle United: Shay Given, Habib Beye, Charles N’Zogbia, David Rozehnal, Claudio Cacapa, Nicky Butt, Geremi (c), Joey Barton, James Milner, Oba Martins, Alan Smith
Subs: Steve Harper, Jose Enrique, Emre, Mark Viduka, David Edgar