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Fulham 1-0 Newcastle Cham 01 1617 - Chronicle Live

last updated Tuesday 09th August 2016, 11:52 AM


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Lee Ryder at Chronicle Live


Fulham (0) 1-0 (0) Newcastle


Newcastle United were handed a reality check in their first game in the Sky Bet Championship.

On a night in which Geordie fans travelled in their thousands to the capital they headed home north after watching their side go down 1-0 at Craven Cottage.

The Magpies weren’t sharp enough and they weren’t creative enough as the Cottagers won through a Matt Smith header.

With 45 matches left to play this defeat is far from the end of the world for Rafa Benitez’s side, but if any of his players thought the EFL was going to be easy they were given a wake up call by a Fulham side who finished 20th last season and narrowly avoided relegation.

United started the game with purpose as they tried to pick out Gayle with a couple of long balls .

But they were presented a clear chance on 10 minutes when Perez was fouled right on the edge of the area.

Denis Odoi picked up a yellow card for his trouble but some Toon players felt it should have been a red one.

However, the Spaniard’s free-kick, though, hit the wall and Fulham cleared the danger.

United edged the possession stakes in the first quarter of the game without creating any clear cut chances from open play.

On 26 minutes, Fulham fans appealed for a penalty when Grant Hanley just beat Sone Aluko to the ball but ref Simon Hooper waved away the protests.

Perhaps, Newcastle should have had a penalty nine minutes later though when Matt Ritchie’s cross from the left was charged down by the hand of Ryan Tunnicliffe.

Hooper, however, again waved play on.

Just before half-time Newcastle found themselves 1-0 down when Grant Hanley conceded a corner on the left hand side.

Fulham skipper Tom Cairney floated the ball in and an unmarked Matt Smith climbed high to bury a header low into the corner of the net.

And the home side went in at the break with a slender lead after some poor organisation from United as they failed to defend a set-piece properly.

It took nine second half minutes for United to get a clear sight of goal.

Anita powered down the right hand side of the pitch and cut the ball across the penalty area but Ritchie’s effort was well blocked by David Button in the Fulham goal.

Moments later Daryl Janmaat dinked a decent cross to the back post but Fulham cleared their lines.

Benitez made his first change of the night on the hour mark when he withdrew the ineffective Jack Colback and replaced him with Rolando Aarons.

On a night when Newcastle needed to pile pressure on the home side Colback retreated into his own half far too often.

One man that was trying to make things happen was debutant Ritchie.

And he at least tested Button again on 63 minutes when he attempted a shot from distance, only for the Fulham stopper to gather comfortably.

Another chance was created two minutes later when Janmaat crossed into the box for sub Aarons but he could connect with nothing but fresh air and Fulham again cleared.

With 20 minutes left Newcastle made another change when the frustrated figure of Perez came off and Benitez introduced Adam Armstrong.

Armstrong caused a few problems for Fulham and lashed one just wide with 10 minutes left.

The game finished in desperate fashion with a couple of handball appeals by United turned down with Benitez looking like an annoyed manager after a testing night.

Ritchie’s shot was blocked by the body of Tomas Kalas while Shelvey also claimed Cairney had handled late on.

Then a late cross-cum-shot from Aarons was almost bundled into the net in the final minute of stoppage time.

Newcastle still managed to win a free-kick down the right hand side but Shelvey’s set-piece was blasted straight at Armstrong.

But Fulham held on for the three points and probably deserved it for standing up to the favourites for promotion.























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