This was Fulham’s first win in eight games tonight, and it takes the Cottagers three points above a severely slumping Newcastle side in the league table, and this is now the fifth defeat in six league games for Newcastle and we have only 4 point from the last 21 played for.
Newcastle were outplayed in the first 30 minutes of this game as Fulham came storming out of the blocks, and sure enough they were ahead after just 19 minutes.
Former Newcastle winger Damien Duff got the ball on the right wing and passed it quickly to an unmarked Steve Sidwell, who hit the ball well, and it was going in, but it rebounded off Mike Williamson and hit the underside of the bar and went in.
And Fulham had been the better side and deserved to take the lead, and they could have added to their lead almost immediately a minute or so later when Berbatov was clean through but Krul made a brilliant block.
Newcastle were playing 4-3-3 but Fulham were dominating the midfield, and after 30 minutes Alan Pardew switched to 4-4-2 and Newcastle came back into the game and started attacking the home side.
After 32 minutes an excellent corner from Anita was headed like a bullet towards the goal by Coloccini, but right back Riether headed the ball off the line – a tremendous effort by the Newcastle captain.
On 39 minutes good play between Berbatov and Sidwell set up Riise with a chance on the corner of the penalty area, but the former Liverpool and Roma full-back hit the ball well over the bar.
But it was still 1-0 at the break – and it could have been a lot worse for Newcastle.
And Newcastle started the second half with much more energy than we had started this game, and on 54 minutes a goal out of nothing from Hatem Ben Arfa put Newcastle level.
The Frenchman got the ball just outside the penalty area to the right and hit a beautiful left foot shot that went in off the cross-bar – another great opportunist goal from Ben Arfa.
But then Damien Duff had his second assist of the night, as the Irish winger sent in a beautiful free-kick from the right and Rodallega was able to head home past Krul, and how come he was unmarked six yards from goal.
Another goal conceded from a set-play by Newcastle and that will not please the manager.
And then Newcastle pushed hard to get back into the game and after 72 minutes Coloccini hit the post before Shola Ameobi, Demba Ba and Jonas Gutierrez all had shots that tested Australian goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer.
But Fulham held out for their first win in eight games, and Newcastle still haven’t won away from home this season after eight games on the road where we have only picked up a measly 4 points – and the lads are only a shadow of the side we were last season.
These are games we should be taking points out of, as we actually will be meeting some of the good teams coming up – like Manchester City at home on Saturday.
It was another terrible result, but a decent display from the lads, and if there were any doubts about bringing players in during january – we had better bring at least three or four good players to strengthen this squad – otherwise we could be in another relegation scrap.
That’s the unlikely truth after our seventh defeat in 16 league games.
Fulham (4-4-2): Mark Schwarzer; Sascha Riether, Brede Hangeland (c), Aaron Hughes, John Arne Riise; Damien Duff, Steve Sidwell, Chris Baird, Alex Kacaniklic (askhan Dejagah 62); Dimitar Berbatov, Hugo Rodallega (Mladen Petric 86)
Subs not used: Neil Etheridge, Philippe Senderos, Giorgos Karagounis, Mahamadou Diarra, Kieran Richardson
Newcastle United: (4-2-3-1): Tim Krul; Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Davide Santon; Cheick Tiote (Gael Bigirimana 86), Vurnon Anita (Sylvain Marveaux 86); Papiss Cisse, Hatem Ben Arfa (Shola Ameobi 70), Jonas Gutierrez; Demba Ba
Substitutes: Steve Harper, James Tavernier, Shane Ferguson, James Perch
Referee: Lee Mason