What a wonderful first half for the Magpies at Craven Cottage in a match attended by both Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley.
Jonjo Shelvey – scored his first goal of the year
It was all Fulham in the opening minutes as they had a flurry of crosses including three in the fifth minute. All were either too high or well handled by the Newcastle defense.
A steal by Ayoze Perez changed Newcastle’s fortunes in the seventh minute. Though he couldn’t get it forward, Newcastle recycled the ball through defense and started to attack.
A long ball to Ritchie from Fabian Schar led to what looked like a foul on Ritchie. The referee waved it away as Newcastle regained possession.
A pass from the back put Ritchie through on the left and a whipped in cross was too much for Atsu to get his head on.
However, the resulting Matt Ritchie corner went straight to Jonjo Shelvey who had a superb half volley from just inside the box. What a goal for Shelvey. He sprinted to the Newcastle fans. He seems to love it at the Toon.
And would you believe it, just a few minutes later Ayoze Perez scored another great goal for Newcastle. Christian Atsu was through and Sergio Rico could not handle the shot. The shot ricocheted and Perez was there to slot the ball away.
Ayoze Perez – we must keep Ayoze
What a start for the lads!
Fulham would come back into the game a bit with a few half chances. Callum Chambers had a shot trickle wide at 16 minutes while Aleksandar Mitrovic missed a very good chance when his header glanced wide at 22 minutes.
Newcastle’s defense was set up superbly again and handled anything Fulham threw at the boys.
Some excellent tackles would stifle the Fulham comeback attempt. Jamaal Lascelles, Fabian Shar, and Paul Dummett all had superb interventions to prevent Fulham getting attempts on goal.
Rondon had a good chance at 40 minutes but pulled the shot wide from a Dupravka punt handled excellently by Perez who passed it to Rondon.
The Geordies at Craven Cottage were again a credit to this club. Singing about Rafa and Rondon. And I suspect Ashley as well (though likely not with the same adoration) as once the camera panned on the Newcastle owner while displaying a sheepish grin.
Let’s keep this lead and end this season on high.