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Fulham lose on the Tyne

last updated Saturday 22nd March 2008, 5:33 PM
Jimmy Bullard
Jimmy Bullard had the
best of Fulham chances
Newcastle 2-0 Fulham
Goals from Mark Viduka and Michael Owen gave Newcastle their first win in 13 games and Kevin Keegan's first in 10 since his return as manager.

Viduka struck in the sixth minute when he collected a pass from Geremi and fired low past goalkeeper Kasey Keller.

Owen should have doubled their lead with a close-range header before nodding in from Geremi's free-kick.

Jimmy Bullard had Fulham's best chances but his long-range efforts were comfortably dealt with by Steve Harper.

The victory will be a massive relief to Newcastle, who move six points clear of the relegation zone.

But the signs seem ominous for struggling Fulham, who are now four points adrift of safety with seven games left.

The visiting team were gifted enough possession during the first half but time and time again failed to come up with the killer ball.

Match Stats Newcastle Fulham
Goals 2 0
Possession 57% 43%
Goal attempts 15 9
On Target 10 5
Corners 6 4
Off-sides 3 1
Saves 3 9
Fouls 9 5
Yellows 0 1
Reds 0 0
source: Soccernet
Their downfall was self-inflicted at the other end of the field where Roy Hodgson's men produced a display that could politely be described as inept and in the sixth minute Viduka took advantage of that.

The Australian, who had not played for nine weeks prior to last week's draw at Birmingham, controlled Geremi's pass from the right, turned then drilled his shot into Keller's bottom right.

Owen, the hero at St Andrew's should have made it 2-0 but he could only head Geremi's clipped ball into the hands of Keller after finding himself inexplicably free eight yards out.

The England striker also had a 20-yard shot tipped over by the American shot-stopper, who then had to be alert to divert Obefemi Martins' low effort round the post.

Harper had his hands kept warm on a wintery Easter Saturday by the spirited Bullard, who fired in a couple of shots from distance that the Newcastle keeper had to crouch down low to save.

Keegan's men, who looked edgy in the first half despite taking an early lead, were far more confident after the break although shots on goal were few and far between.

They always looked potent though and Joey Barton, who along with Nicky Butt was one of the stars of the show, came closest to doubling his side's lead when he whacked a 20-yarder that missed Fulham's right-hand upright by a foot.

The result was still in doubt until the 83rd minute when Owen leapt above the Fulham defence to score his second in two games.

And with that, some of those growing concerns on Tyneside seemed to drift away.

A 32nd consecutive away league game without a victory left Fulham deep in trouble but manager Roy Hodgson far from ready to throw in the towel.

He said: 'We were two points behind Bolton and we are now three points; Birmingham, who were four points ahead of us at the start of the day are still four points ahead.

'We have got seven games to play. But it was a significant move for Sunderland with their excellent win at Aston Villa, so we have lost touch with them.

'But having said that, seven matches, a lot of things can happen. We have got to keep believing that our football can get us out of this situation and we have got to hope that the things that didn't go right for us today, we can put right.'

Newcastle: Harper, Beye (Edgar 87), Taylor, Faye, Jose Enrique, Geremi, Butt, Barton, Owen, Viduka (Smith 84), Martins (N'Zogbia 74). Subs Not Used: Forster, Carroll.

Goals: Viduka 6, Owen 83.

Fulham: Keller, Stalteri (Healy 84), Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky, Andreasen, Bullard, Murphy (Volz 71), Davies, McBride (Dempsey 66), Johnson. Subs Not Used: Warner, Bocanegra.

Booked: Volz (89,f).

Att: 52,293

Ref: Alan Wiley (Staffordshire).

Source Saj Chowdhury at BBCSport
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