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Fulham 1-0 Newcastle Prem 30 1314 Mirror

last updated Monday 17th March 2014, 7:05 PM
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Steve Stammers at The Mirror

Fulham (0) 1 Newcastle (0) 0

Salvation is still possible for Fulham. And their lifeline came ­courtesy of a quite stunning strike from German-born Iranian ­international Ashkan Dejagah, who is bound for the World Cup finals in Brazil this summer and may well go there as a Premier League player.

Dejagah had been on the field precisely nine minutes when he produced his winning goal - a reward for his ability and for the endeavour of Lewis Holtby.

Holtby was the epitome of the Cottagers' spirit.

He inherited his name from his English father but his upbringing is German and Teutonic ­resilience is part of his make-up.

Holtby just doesn't give up. It is not in his DNA. No cause is a lost one to the man on loan from Tottenham and he was the man who was on hand to set up the winner in the 68th minute.

Brede Hangeland won a shuddering challenge with the hugely ineffective Luuk de Jong and the ball broke to Holtby who spotted Dejagah in the clear on the left. The substitute cut inside and hit a right foot drive that left Tim Krul clutching at thin air.

Fulham's efforts had paid off.

They may have been short of Newcastle's class but they compensated for that with honest sweat.

In Moussa Sissoko and Yoan Gouffran, the Magpies may have had the two most talented players on show. But Fulham had much more at stake.

They have punched above their weight since 2001 to stay in the top flight and there is a clear refusal to surrender that status.

In Felix Magath, their third manager in a season of upheaval, they have a man clearly unafraid of making key decisions. The first came before the match when Dutch international goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg was dropped for being 'too quiet' and replaced by David Stockdale..

"He took the decision well," said Magath. "Maarten is quiet, not loud. David is louder.

"We needed someone who gets more excited."

Stockdale can clearly talk the talk in Magath's opinion. And against Newcastle he showed he can walk the walk with two superb saves from Papiss Cisse.

Magath also revealed he had made another significant pre-match choice. He changed his glasses from those he wore during the defeat at Cardiff last week. "I saw much better today!" he joked. "So I will be keeping them for the next game."

Newcastle assistant manager John Carver was in occasional touch with manager Alan Pardew, who was watching on a feed in a Kensington hotel while he serves his three-match stadium ban for head-butting Hull's David Meyler.

"I spoke to him at half-time and then at the end," said Carver. And it can only be imagined what Pardew said when Newcastle were denied a penalty in the last minute of the time added by referee Howard Webb.

Newcastle screamed for a spot-kick after John Heitinga clearly handled the ball as a corner came in with Krul - supplementing the attack - particularly animated.

"It was a count-to-10 moment for me," said Carver, aware that Newcastle can ill-afford any more confrontations with authorities.

"Tim Krul wanted to go to see the referee after the game but I stopped him. I had a quiet, calm word with him and got my ­explanation. He said he was not in a position to see the handball.

"Sometimes these things go for you."

Newcastle had earlier been grateful to goal-line technology after Heitinga's ferocious shot hit the underside of the bar but was shown to have failed to cross the line by a narrow margin.

Magath remains a supporter of Hawkeye even though his new glasses seemed to give the impression the ball was over.

But the win was everything and now Fulham have hope.

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