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Fulham 2 Newcastle 1: Cottagers back winning

last updated Saturday 03rd February 2007, 7:27 PM
Heidar Helguson
Heidar Helguson opened the scoring
with an excellent opportunist goal

Second-half goals by Fulham strikers Heidar Helguson and Brian McBride put the Cottagers back on the winning track with a Barclays Premiership double over Newcastle.

The London side scored two late goals to snatch victory at St James' Park in September but left nothing to chance with a splendid display after the break even though it took a Nicky Butt blunder to hand Helguson the opening goal on 49 minutes.

Substitute Papa Bouba Diop, who has not figured for Fulham since December 9, came on to set up the second and 11th of the season for McBride and Newcastle's American debutant Oguchi Onyewu was lucky not to be sent off for hauling back Helguson.

Obafemi Martins' goal for Newcastle was just a stoppage-time consolation.

The Cottagers also made changes at the back, recalling Carlos Bocanegra and Philippe Cristanval after Tuesday's defeat at Sheffield United.

Fulham went down tamely at Bramall Lane to end a run of 10 games without defeat and manager Chris Coleman axed Zat Knight and Tomasz Radzinski.

There was only a place on the substitutes' bench for free-scoring Italian loanee Vincenzo Montella who went off early with a groin injury against the Blades.

Damien Duff and Nicky Butt were both passed fit for the Magpies who were seeking revenge following a late smash-and-grab win by Fulham at St James' Park in September.

But there was a setback for Fulham before the start when goalkeeper Antti Niemi, who had been out for a month with a neck injury before the match at Sheffield in midweek, was injured in the warm-up and had to be replaced by Jan Lastuvka.

Fulham decided to go without a keeper on the bench, calling up the out-of-favour midfielder Papa Bouba Diop to complete their standby list.

Onyewu's first contribution was a foul on Heidar Helguson and then a handball. Referee Phil Dowd awarded a free-kick which was cleared by the newcomer's partner in central defence, Titus Bramble.

Fulham tested yet another new-look Newcastle back four with some early attacks but Helguson and then Brian McBridde ruined their chances by running offside.

Brian McBride
Brian McBride scores Fulham's
second and his 11th

Onyewu upset the home crowd with another hefty challenge on Helguson but play went on and Kieron Dyer almost found Obafemi Martins racing through with a well-timed through-ball.

Stoppages littered the opening 20 minutes and Fulham skipper Michael Brown was lectured by the referee for a foul on Scott Parker. From the free-kick, Newcastle worked the ball down the left and Dyer's shot from the eventual cross went wide.

At the other end Helguson snapped back at Onyewu and was pulled up for a foul - much to the disgust of the home fans.

Neither side managed to create a decent chance in the opening half-hour as defences ruled the roost.

Newcastle's aerial strength dealt comfortably with high balls from Fulham's wide men Routledge and Simon Davies while Carlos Bocanegra was booked just after the half-hour for pulling back Martins as the striker executed a neat turn on the half-way line.

When Fulham tried to go through the middle they were just as ineffective, Moritz Volz stopped dead in his tracks at the edge of the area by the powerful Onyewu's crunching tackle.

Newcastle hardly carried a threat although Franck Queudrue did well to cut out James Milner's dangerous cross from the right after 35 minutes.

Fulham's Brown went down clutching his face after a collision with Parker but referee Dowd was not fooled. He gave a free-kick but ignored home fans' pleas to send off Parker for an elbow. Television replay suggested no contact at all.

There was, though, in the 41st minute when Stephen Carr tried foolishly to head the ball back to keeper Steve Harper in a crowded penalty area as Helguson so nearly nipped in first.

Routledge was the nearest to a goal until that point after 44 minutes when he worked his way in from the left and skimmed the crossbar with his shot. It was a rare chance.

But almost immediately Newcastle went close when, following a corner, Lastuvka parried Martins' shot and both Steven Taylor and Dyer had follow-up efforts blocked.

After the interval, Newcastle began with more purpose - only to be hit by a stunning goal from Helguson.

It all stemmed from a terrible backpass by Nicky Butt who, on receiving Carr's 49th-minute throw-in, left his pass dreadfully short and allowed Fulham's Icelandic striker to sprint between two flat-footed defenders and beat Harper with a crashing half-volley high into the net.

Four minutes later it needed a fine Harper save to prevent Fulham going two up. Liam Rosenior's ball in found Davies whose header was athletically tipped over by the goalkeeper, who soon afterwards caught a header from Queudrue following a corner.

Newcastle's defence needed a breather and it came with a free-kick from 30 yards by Milner just wide of the diving Lastuvka's left-hand post.

Match Stats Fulham Newcastle
Goals 2 1
Possession 55% 45%
Goal attempts 16 9
On Target 9 4
Corners 8 6
Off-sides 3 3
Fouls 12 13
Yellows 1 3
Reds 0 0
source: Soccernet

But Brown wrecked a great run by Helguson by failing to push on the striker's pass to the unmarked Brian McBride. Even so, Fulham were well in the ascendancy.

Routledge fired over again and Newcastle badly needed to settle down again.

Butt's afternoon took another turn for the worse when he was booked after hauling down Volz in the centre circle.

Fulham sent on Diop for Volz for his first appearance since December but almost immediately in the 66th minute Onyewu clearly pulled back Helguson after clumsily losing possession and he was lucky not to be sent off on his debut.

Although Helguson appeared to be clean through, referee Dowd decided on brandishing a yellow card.

Still the Fulham pressure came. Milner was back on his goalline to clear away Bocanegra's header for a corner.

And it was no surprise when Diop brilliantly laid on their second goal for McBride with 20 minutes left.

McBride had another shot blocked as Fulham stayed on top right to the finish.

But Martins grabbed a stoppage-time consolation for Newcastle from substitute Nolberto Solano's pass.

Fulham: Lastuvka, Rosenior, Christanval, Bocanegra, Queudrue, Routledge (Dempsey 78), Brown, Volz (Diop 67), Davies, Helguson, McBride (Montella 80).
Subs Not Used: Knight, Radzinski.

Booked: Bocanegra (30, f).

Heidar Helguson 49, (lobbed right-footed into high centre of goal from right side of penalty area 12 yards out.)

Brian McBride 73, (right-footed into high centre of goal from right side of six-yard box 6 yards out. Assist, a pass, by Papa Bouba Diop from right side of penalty area.

Newcastle: Harper, Carr, Bramble, Onyewu, Taylor, Milner, Parker, Butt, Duff (Sibierski 68), Dyer (Solano 85), Martins.
Subs Not Used: Srnicek, Huntington, O'Brien.

Booked: Butt, Bramble, Milner.

Goals: Martins 90.

Att: 24,340.

Ref: P Dowd (Staffordshire).








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