Fulham cruelly beaten
Jonathan Stevenson at BBCSport
Fulham 0-1 Newcastle
Newcastle won a woeful game at Fulham thanks to an injury-time penalty from midfielder
Elliot Omozusi was adjudged to have brought down Alan Smith in the Fulham box and
Barton stepped up to coolly slot home his first goal for the club.
The Magpies scarcely deserved their win after a shocking game that was devoid of
any creativity or quality.
Habib Beye flashed a header wide for the visitors and David Healy had two close
efforts before Barton struck.
It was cruel on Fulham, but they deserved little for their unwillingness to attack
and they are now in the Premier League's relegation zone.
With Magpies boss Sam Allardyce afforded some breathing space after a hard-fought
draw with Arsenal and a come-from-behind win
over Birmingham, Newcastle started confidently enough.
Charles N'Zogbia gave a textbook example of how to start an attack from left-back
before the ball was cleared, though from the corner Beye's deflected header flashed
Fulham hit back when Healy tested Shay Given with an impudent chip from the edge
of the box, but the Northern Ireland striker perhaps should have taken the ball
closer to goal.
The visitors fashioned another decent headed chance soon after, James Milner crossing
under pressure to the back post where Barton forced Antti Niemi to save low down.
That was in the 15th minute. The less said about the rest of the first half the
better, for it was truly shocking.
Any hint of an attack was snuffed out by both sides' inability to pass the ball
to someone on their own team.
Most of the 24,959 present could barely even bothered to boo the teams off at the
interval, such was the general feeling of indifference at what had just been witnessed.
To be fair to Fulham, when they came back out they did at least try to make a game
Hameur Bouazza sent in a dangerous cross from the left that had to be cleared, before
Healy took advantage of some defensive hesitancy to test Given low down from 20
Newcastle fashioned a half-chance of their own when substitute Emre punted a free-kick
into the six-yard box, but Nicky Butt's tame header allowed Niemi to pounce.
The game was just too scrappy to settle - every time the ball went up in the air
there were six or seven players waiting for it to come down so they could fight
The game did not deserve a goal and the late drama was unfortunate on Omozusi, who
was supposed to be celebrating his 19th birthday.
But his challenge on Smith was clumsy at best and Barton punished him in clinical
Fulham manager Lawrie Sanchez:
"The first half wasn't much of a game but we came out and dominated and controlled
"I thought we were by far and away beter team and going into the last 15 minutes
(Newcastle boss) Sam Allardyce wanted a draw, but I wanted a win.
"It's a cruel defeat for us. We're in the bottom three now and we have got to beat
Newcastle manager Sam Allardyce:
"It was a crucial, crucial victory, it wasn't pretty, we didn't play well but we
were very resilient and nullified them.
"The late winner shows that we give our all right to the end. They are very fit
now and it shows we can win late on.
"We were always in the game and I said to my players that they were struggling at
home and we can get at them."
Fulham: Niemi, Omozusi, Hughes, Stefanovic, Bocanegra, Davies, Murphy, Davis
(Kuqi 75), Bouazza, Healy, Dempsey.
Subs Not Used: Warner, Ki-Hyeon, Smertin, Baird.
Newcastle: Given, N'Zogbia, Rozehnal, Cacapa, Beye, Geremi (Emre 59), Butt,
Barton, Milner, Smith, Martins (Viduka 77).
Subs Not Used: Harper, Jose Enrique, Edgar.
Goals: Barton 90 pen.
Ref: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire).