0 users online

Fulham beat Newcastle Telegraph

last updated Sunday 22nd January 2012, 9:53 PM
Daily Telegraph Logo
Jonathan Liew at Daily Telegraph

Fulham (0) 5 Newcastle (1) 2

The sublime and the ridiculous, squeezed into 90 glorious minutes.

It was a game that hung on a breathless, jaw-dropping 15-minute period during which Fulham were able to score at will; a devastating assault that rewarded the fortitude and skill of Fulham manager Martin Jol, who made a decisive tactical change when his team were in trouble.

For half a game, Fulham were rotten.

They oozed the torpor of a side sleepwalking into a relegation scrap.

But for half a game, they were magnificent, building an irresistible momentum that saw them turn back the tide and the Tyne.

Still, this was a game that carried the faint whiff of farce with it wherever it went.

Clint Dempsey's second hat-trick in a fortnight helped and afterwards, Jol tried to describe the transformation that had taken place.

"The first half was a sort of Brixton, and the second half was a holiday in Jamaica," he said.

Fulham were, indeed, all over the place.

Jol's masterstroke was to introduce Andrew Johnson shortly before half-time.

Fulham were being outfought and out-thought all over the pitch.

Johnson's robustness and energy, coupled with a more physical style, gave Fulham a sense of purpose going forward.

"In the first half, we didn't create anything," Jol said.

"We had no runners from midfield.

We couldn't keep the ball, and when we played it up to Bobby we lost it," Jol said.

"We couldn't exploit the spaces in behind [Mike] Williamson and [Fabricio] Coloccini.

So we couldn't exploit our extra man in midfield.

With Johnson, we solved that problem.

If you've got more people trying to move off the ball, you've got more threat.

" Newcastle, who had led through Danny Guthrie's spectacular strike from outside the area, had no answers to the barrage that greeted them after the break, and fell apart like a cheap Christmas toy.

"The first half, we couldn't have played any better," manager Alan Pardew said.

"Second half, we just lacked mental discipline.

I can't think of another period of any game where we were quite as inefficient as we were today.

" Johnson had actually been introduced for the injured Steve Sidwell a few minutes before Newcastle's first goal, and on the stroke of half-time he made his first telling contribution, muscling clear of Davide Santon, who was forced to drag him down.

Referee Lee Mason might have dismissed Santon, but on balance a caution was correct.

Fulham levelled when Damien Duff was brought to ground by Santon on the edge of the area.

Pardew protested, but Murphy's penalty was emphatic.

Six minutes later, Johnson released Zamora, Coloccini slipped as the striker cut in on his left foot, and although Tim Krul parried the shot, the ball rebounded in off Dempsey.

These three combined again for the third goal.

Zamora laid Johnson's headed flick into the path of Dempsey, who finished confidently from inside the area.

Next Johnson skipped clear of Williamson, knocked the ball out of Krul's reach and tumbled over the goalkeeper's dive.

Zamora converted the penalty this time.

Hatem Ben Arfa deservedly got his name on the scoresheet when he cut in from the right, took advantage of John Arne Riise's reticence and fired in at the near post.

But Dempsey completed his hat-trick after chasing down Murphy's lofted pass and lashing the ball beyond Krul.

The win lifts Fulham eight points clear of the drop zone.

Not that their fans were too bothered about that.

They were in nirvana - or Jamaica.

Source .
Since 1998
"It's been updated!"