Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Sunday November 9 2008
Fulham welcomed Newcastle United to Craven Cottage this afternoon in a fixture that gave both clubs the chance to climb the table.
In the event it was Fulham that triumphed with goals from Johnson and Murphy.
For this fixture Roy Hodgson stuck with his tried and trusted eleven for the fifth match in succession. For the visitors, Joey Barton was in their starting eleven whilst Michael Owen had to be content with a place on the bench.
After immaculately observing the one minutes silence in honour of those who gave their lives to maintain our liberty, it was Fulham who got the action underway.
The home side started the first half better than Newcastle and some neat, slick passing football started to open the visiting side up. Bobby Zamora played a lovely ball across the six yard line but there were no Fulham players rushing in to meet it.
Jimmy Bullard, pushing up, saw Given deprive him with a save low down at the foot of his post after Bullard had prodded a shot towards goal from close range.
Pantsil, rushing to meet a corner headed wide and Bullard saw a free kick, from a tempting position, hit the wall. Gera headed just wide after Simon Davies stood a cross up at the far post before Gera then saw a header deflected wide by Jose Enrique.
But the breakthrough wasn`t far away and in the twenty-third minute Fulham opened the scoring. Bullard clipped a cross in and Cacopa strangely headed the ball against the unknowing Colocini. The ball fell to Andrew Johnson who smashed it past Given.
Despite scoring the opener, Newcastle pushed Fulham back a little more. Martins fired a shot narrowly wide and Damien Duff hit the outside of the post from an acute angle. Just before half time Hangeland received a deserved yellow card for a crude tackle on Martins.
The second half saw Newcastle play with a little more urgency, Schwarzer had to react smartly to save a shot from Butt and then the same player saw a header go wide.
Just before the hour mark Newcastle got their reward for their positive start to the half when Ameobi equalised. The goal came after Duff had drilled a ball into the box and Pantsil, aided by two Newcaslte players, couldn`t get a clearance in. The ball fell invitingly to Ameobi who swept it home from close range although there was an element of suspicion about it being offside.
Newcastle were still in the ascendancy and Schwarzer produced a smart save to deny Butt`s low twenty-five yard drive. In the sixty-fifth minute Fulham went back in front through a penalty.
It was given after Johnson powered into the box and Coloccini tripped him. Murphy`s expertly taken kick gave Given no chance even though the keeper guessed which direction the ball was going.
It has to be said that the goal was against the run of play but Fulham could have scored again when a Davies curling shot, from twenty yards, just failed to curl enough to creep inside the post. Nevland, on for Zamora, had a low shot saved and despite showing some urgency Newcastle couldn`t get back into the game.
Their one last decent chance fell to Michael Owen but the striker couldn`t guide it in but simply let it hit his heel and go off at a weird angle.
The win put Fulham in 10th place and the visit of Tottenham next weekend is now eagerly awaited.
Date:Sunday November 9 2008
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