Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Saturday May 16 2009
Fulham edged a giant step nearer to qualification for the Europa League with a 1-0 win at St James Park this evening courtesy of a goal from Diomansy Kamara.
Now only Spurs can stop Roy Hodgson leading his gallant side into Europe and at the same time make history. Hang on to your hats, next weekend promises to be a thrilling affair.
For the fixture Roy Hodgson sprang no surprises with a familiar eleven starting. Even though Andrew Johnson and Bobby Zamora were both fit, Roy persevered with Erik Nevland and Diomansy Kamara, who had both gotten on the score sheet in recent weeks.
For the hosts, Alan Shearer had to make do without the services of Michael Owen who had a groin injury.
At a noisy St James Park Fulham done their best to stifle Newcastle early on by keeping possession and Nevland almost opened the scoring but shot wide. Newcastle bounced back and Nolan and Martins combined with the latter hitting the woodwork with his shot.
With so much at stake, for both sides, the game was evenly balanced. Newcastle then failed to capitalise on a Hughes slip with Viduka ruing his failure.
Kamara and Nevland combined and from approximately nineteen yards out, the Norwegian drove his shot inches wide. But, with four minutes to half time, Fulham did open the scoring.
Nevland beat the offside trap with Steven Tyalor being the man caught out and when the ball was fed to Kamara the striker made no mistake, making it three goals in two games.
Right on the stroke of half time Hughes had to clear a Gutierez shot as the home side looked to get back on level terms.
The second half`s first major incident saw Howard Webb disallow a Newcastle goal. Although Viduka headed home Webb had seen Nolan blatantly block Schwarzer.
The home side tried to up the pressure but the quality of their final ball lacked that little bit of quality and just before the hour mark they may well have sussed out that it wasn`t going to be their day.
A long ball out of defence saw Bassong and Harper show indecision and when Kamara threatened to storm through Bassong pulled him back and was shown the red card by the referee.
But the home still had some good chances. Hughes slipped and when the ball was fed to Martins, Schwarzer pulled off a great save with Hangeland mopping up as the ball looked to be heading towards the net.
Shearer tried one last gamble by introducing Lovenkrands and Carroll but Fulham defended resolutely and hearts only missed a beat right near the final whistle but Schwarzer produced a marvellous save to deny Nicky Butt.
For Fulham it was glee for Newcastle the prospect of relegation to the Championship and possible financial meltdown!
Date:Saturday May 16 2009
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