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Newcastle 0-1 Fulham: Cottagers still in Euro spot

last updated Saturday 16th May 2009, 9:36 PM

Fulham striker Diomansy Kamara
Fulham striker
Diomansy Kamara
Diomansy Kamara
Newcastle were left in the bottom three of the Barclays Premier League with one game to play after they were beaten 1-0 at home by high-flying Fulham.

Mark Viduka was controversially denied a precious second-half equaliser after Diomansy Kamara's 41st-minute strike proved to be enough for the points at St James' Park.

The Australian thought he had levelled five minutes after the break to give his side a lifeline.

However, referee Howard Webb harshly chalked off his effort for a foul by Kevin Nolan on keeper Mark Schwarzer to dump the Magpies, who played the last half-hour with 10 men after defender Sebastien Bassong had been sent off.

Newcastle, who had soon to be out of contract skipper Michael Owen missing with a groin injury in what might have been his final game for the club, went close 12 minutes from time, but Schwarzer pulled off a fine save to deny Obafemi Martins, who had earlier hit the post, and then kept out Nicky Butt's injury-time effort.

They now face a trip to Aston Villa next Sunday knowing even victory might not be enough if other results go against them and with their Barclays Premier League status hanging by a thread.

Match Stats Newcastle Fulham
Goals 0 1
Possession 51% 49%
Goal attempts 16 13
On Target 4 3
Corners 6 2
Off-sides 0 3
Saves 2 4
Fouls 6 18
Yellows 0 3
Reds 0 0
source: Soccernet
Tyneside was shrouded in dark clouds, both literally and figuratively, as the final whistle sounded and a crowd of 52,114 filed out not knowing whether they will return to watch top-flight football next season.

The euphoria of Monday night's 3-1 victory over derby rivals Middlesbrough, which dragged the club out of the bottom three, had quickly been put to one side with no-one in the Newcastle camp in any doubt the job was nowhere near done.

For much of the first half, Shearer's men looked the more likely to take the initiative, but when they left the pitch at the break, they were trailing and back in trouble.

It might have been so different had Martins' 15th-minute shot not come back off the post after he had played a neat one-two with Nolan, or had Viduka managed to hit the target when presented with a free header, albeit from distance, by Danny Guthrie's cross 10 minutes later.

However, Fulham, who arrived sitting in seventh place in the table and in with a real shout of securing a place in the Europa League, had not just come along for the ride, and served warning of their intent six minutes before the break.

Erik Nevland ran on to Kamara's clever back-heeled pass and curled a shot towards the far post, and keeper Steve Harper was delighted to see it drop inches wide as he flung himself across his line.

But the Magpies did not heed the warning, and they fell behind two minutes later in controversial circumstances.

Danny Murphy's pass found Nevland in acres of space on the right and with the home defence appealing in vain for an offside flag, he raced away before squaring for Kamara, who evaded Bassong and Steven Taylor on the line to fire into the roof of the net.

Former Magpie Aaron Hughes blocked a Jonas Gutierrez shot as Newcastle attempted to hit back immediately, but St James' was once again bathed in anxiety as the players left the pitch at half-time.

Shearer's players returned in determined mood and might have been back in it within two minutes when Martins volleyed a Guthrie cross towards goal, but could not hit the target.

However, they thought they had levelled with 50 minutes gone after Viduka twice got the better of his former Middlesbrough team-mate.

The striker saw his header from a Guthrie free-kick cleared off the line by Dickson Etuhu, but there was nothing anyone could do to keep out his header from the resulting corner with 50 minutes gone.

But the Australia international's joy turned to misery within seconds when Webb ruled Nolan had impeded Schwarzer on the line, although television replays suggested the decision was harsh with the keeper not even appealing.

Newcastle laid siege to the Fulham goal as they sensed the time had come, but they were wasteful in promising positions with Gutierrez particularly guilty.

However, disaster struck on the hour when central defender Bassong was sent off for hauling down Kamara 40 yards from goal, and the Frenchman could have few arguments.

Martins got in 12 minutes from time only to be denied by Schwarzer, and the keeper pulled off a superb injury-time to keep out Butt's effort.

Alan Shearer blasted referee Howard Webb after he disallowed a goal from Mark Viduka as Newcastle plunged back into the relegation zone.

The Magpies were trailing 1-0 to Fulham at St James' Park when the Australia international headed home a 50th-minute Danny Guthrie corner.

Referee Webb ruled out the strike for a foul on goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer by Kevin Nolan, although television replays suggested Shearer's side were desperately unfortunate.

Perhaps significantly, Webb was fourth official at St James' Park on Monday evening when Nolan's block on Matthew Bates allowed Steven Taylor to equalise and set his side on the road to a 3-1 derby win over Middlesbrough.

Manager Shearer and assistant Iain Dowie confronted the official as he left the pitch, and the manager was still fuming when he conducted his post-match press conference.

He said: "We are bitterly disappointed at the disallowed goal. I have seen it and I can't see anything that's wrong with it.

"Probably what has happened is the goal on Monday night from Steven Taylor has been highlighted that much this week that one or two people have thought, 'We might try to clamp down on that this weekend'.

"You are allowed to put someone in front of the goalkeeper - I am not aware that you are meant to get out of the way of him.

"I thought their player was blocking him more than Kevin Nolan was, so I am disappointed with that.''

Asked if he had managed to speak to Webb, Shearer said: "Not yet, but I am going to try.

"I thought he got the big decision wrong today. When he looks at it, he might think that as well.''

The game's two most contentious decisions came in nine minutes either side of half-time, and both went against the Magpies.

First, Diomansy Kamara looked to be in an offside position when he collected Erik Nevland's pass with only Steven Taylor between him and the goal, and fired the visitors in front.

Both Shearer and opposite number Roy Hodgson, however, thought the officials got that one right.

And it was five minutes after the break that Webb infuriated the home side by chalking off what Viduka thought was a perfectly good equaliser.

Newcastle's cause looked a forlorn one when Sebastien Bassong was sent off for a professional foul on Kamara with half an hour remaining, although Schwarzer pulled off superb saves to deny Martins, who had earlier hit the post, and Nicky Butt.

Newcastle: Harper, Beye, Steven Taylor, Bassong, Duff, Guthrie (Ryan Taylor 62), Butt, Nolan, Gutierrez (Lovenkrands 76), Martins, Viduka (Carroll 80).
Subs Not Used: Krul, Coloccini, Smith, Ameobi.

Sent Off: Bassong (60).

Fulham: Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky, Dempsey, Etuhu, Murphy, Gera, Nevland (Johnson 75), Kamara.
Subs Not Used: Zuberbuhler, Zamora, Dacourt, Gray, Kallio, Baird.

Booked: Murphy(31,f), Nevland (48,f), Dempsey (56,hb).

Goals: Kamara 41.

Att: 52,114

Ref: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire).

Source Soccernet
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