Make no mistake about it, this was a huge win for Newcastle United this afternoon, but Newcastle found it hard to get the breakthrough after missing several chances in the second half – but then a piece of real magic from Ben Arfa (what – again?) when the 26 year-old as he moved into the box and swung that magical left foot of his, and the ball flew into the top corner of the net – a fantastic goal from the French International and one that deserves to win any game.
The game got off to a hopeful start from Newcastle, when Coloccini went close with a header from a corner, but the ball hit Papiss Cisse and it was obvious early on that Newcastle again had not cutting edge up front.
Mathieu Debuchy hit a long shot that was straight at the goalkeeper, and then Moussa made a good surging run up the inside left channel but then shot wide, when Papiss Cisse we much better placed inside.
But it was a forgettable first half, with both sides looking mediocre and Newcastle obviously needing to show more threat in the final third of the field.
But Newcastle came on well in the seocnd half and mounted some pressure on Fulham.
Newcastle were starting to create some chances and then after 65 minutes Alan Pardew made a double change with Yoan Gouffran and Yohan Cabaye coming on for Shola Ameobi and Vurnon Anita.
Yohan received both applause and boos from the crowd – after he had refused to play in the two previous league games, and then after 74 minutes it was Loic Remy making his first appearance for the club, when he replaced Sylvain Marveaux as Newcastle were getting on top of the visitors.
And Remy got a great reception and immediately showed what’s in store for Newcastle fans as he immediately made a very good run up the left wing – an excellent effort from the Frenchman to good applause from the appreciative crowd.
It was all Newcastle in the second half with Ben Arfa prominent on the right wing and it seemed like Ben Arfa had created a goal as his delicate right wing cross found Gouffran, but Yohan mishit his header from just six yards out – another glaring miss from Gouffran – who really should have scored.
And then Ben Arfa set up a chance for Papiss Cisse who got in a powerful header but the ball thudded against the cross-bar.
After 84 minutes Debuchy headed over from a left wing corner, as Newcastle were surging forward and trying to get that winning goal – with the crowd again roaring on the players – urging them to get that vital goal.
Ben Arfa being congratulated after great goal – YES!!!
And Newcastle started to play much more aggressively, and then it happened after 86 minutes, as the influential Ben Arfa produced a bit of his magic that has made him a darling on Tyneside.
He got the ball on the right wing and moved inside before releasing a wonderful shot with that left foot of his – and the ball flew into the back of the net – and Newcastle had made the breakthrough.
It was a great 3 points for the lads, and with a little luck we could have had a second goal, but this is just what the doctor ordered – a win – a good win – and an excellent second half performance from Newcastle today at St. James’ Park.
With Cabaye and Remy on in the second half – Newcastle even looked to be a very good side. 😀
Howay The Lads!!
Newcastle United (4-4-2): Tim Krul; Mathieu Debuchy, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Davide Santon; Hatem Ben Arfa, Moussa Sissoko, Vurnon Anita (Yohan Cabaye 65), Sylvain Marveaux (Loic Remy 74); Shola Ameobi (Yoan Gouffran 65), Papiss Cisse
Subs not used: Rob Elliot, Paul Dummett, Dan Gosling, Sammy Ameobi, Loic Remy
Fulham (4-4-2): David Stockdale; Sascha Riether (Matthew Briggs 73), Brede Hangeland (c), Aaron Hughes, John Arne Riise; Alex Kacaniklic, Steven Sidwell (Hugo Rodallega 88), Scott Parker, Bryan Ruiz; Dimitar Berbatov, Darren Bent (Adel Taarabt 82)
Subs not used: Neil Etheridge, Derek Boateng, Giorgios Karagounis, Damien Duff
Referee: Chris Foy