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Fulham 1-0 Newcastle Cham 01 1617 - GetWestLondon

last updated Tuesday 09th August 2016, 11:43 AM


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Paul Warburton at GetWestLondon


Fulham (1) 1-0 (0) Newcastle


Fulham striker Matt Smith was told before the match by his boss he needed to score to keep his place - and the striker duly obliged.

A fantastic first three points came with a whiff of controversy as Ryan Tunnicliffe got away with a first-half handball in the box, but both Sone Aluko and Scott Malone had chances to make the game safe long before the end.

If the magnificent header from Smith just before the break won the game, there was a magnificent champagne moment from newcomer Denis Odoi who used his back, yes, his back to flick the ball over United defender Paul Dummett and fly down the wing.

It underlined a fine performance to suggest the season of struggle that was 2015-16 is not going to be repeated this time.

Early on, Fulham hearts were aflutter when Odoi shoved Ayoze Perez in the back a yard short of the box.

The Belgian defender got his first yellow card in English football, but no sting in the tail when the resulting free-kick from Perez rebounded off the foot of the wall and away.

Two shouts for a penalty - one at either end got nothing from referee Simon Hooper, although the biggest holler came from Newcastle mouths when Tunnicliffe stuck out a hand to a Perez chip and got away with it.

Sone Aluko's tumble as he picked up a loose ball had less credibility, but the Smith goal silenced the 7,000 Magpies at the Putney End.

Leaving a 6ft 5ins centre forward on his own in the box is asking for it, and Smith guided a deft header from Tom Cairney's corner beyond the grasp of Matz Sels.

David Button did well to stop a Matt Ritchie effort early in the second half, but the new Whites man had little to do for most of the night.

Malone went close with a left-foot drive he dragged across goal, but before he was subbed Smith laid into the path of Aluko that just evaded his outstretched foot just five yards out.

There was a last-gaps push from Newcastle, but Button and a stalwart defence perfectly marshalled by Tomas Kalas and Michael Madl were more than up to the task.























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