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10 December 2012
• Craven Cottage, London
Referee: L. Mason
• Attendance: 25270
S. Sidwell 19'
H. Rodallega 63'
H. Ben Arfa 54'
Well, that's all from me folks. I hope you've enjoyed tonight's events as much as I have. Keep an eye on Goal.com for all the reaction from the game. Thank you and goodnight!
As for Newcastle, their mini revival against Wigan now seems like a distant memory for Toon fans. They remain just four points above the relegation places. Alan Pardew can take heart, however, from some of the play from his players tonight who pushed hard right up to the final whistle.
What an absolutely thrilling game we've been treated to here at Craven Cottage. Martin Jol's men remain in 13th place but, crucially, move seven points clear of the drop zone.
90' + 4'
Full time at Craven Cottage!
90' + 3'
Desperate from the Magpies now as they hoof the ball aimlessly into the area and it's all too easy for Schwarzer to pick it out of the night sky.
90' + 1'
Absolute agony for the away side as Gutierrez swings in a brilliant cross from the left which runs all the way to the back post before eventually being collected by Schwarzer.
And it's the home side who again go close to getting the next goal. Steve Sidwell, who has been magnificent all evening, wrestles the ball from Bigirimana before eventually laying the ball off to Petric who smashes the ball against the post from 20 yards out.
Alan Pardew's men are throwing everything at Fulham now but it's just not quite happening for the visitors.
Berbatov has almost dropped back into midfield for the home side now. Martin Jol will hope his relaxed style will be a calming influence on his midfielders as we enter the final five minutes here at Craven Cottage.
Good play from Demba Ba who recieves the ball with his back to goal before turning and driving a low effort towards the bottom corner of the target which is well held by the Fulham keeper.
The Magpies are pushing really hard for another equaliser here. Shola Ameobi's effort from distance is a poor one, though, and straight at Schwarzer.
Wonderful flowing move from Fulham breaks down on the edge of Newcastle area following a poor touch from Rodallega.
Into the final 15 minutes at Craven Cottage and it's still anybody's guess as to who's going to come on top here, despite Fulham's lead.
As has been typical of this pulsating encounter, Rodallega races away down the other end and forces a good save from Tim Krul. End to end stuff!
Incredible effort from Coloccini! It's a mystery as to why the centre-back found himself at that end of the pitch but, with efforts like this, he might be encouraged to get forward more. The Argentine opens his body and curls a delightful effort onto the bar from 20 yards out. Agonising...
Hatem Ben Arfa
Fulham, rather than opting to sit on their one goal advantage, are pushing for more goals whenever they can. The game is starting to look really stretched as Coloccini thwarts Berbatov at the last moment to prevent the striker putting the game beyond Newcastle's reach.
Newcastle go close. Ba slips an incisive through ball to his compatriot Cisse who smashes his effort against the post. The flag had already gone up for offside, however.
Newcastle could easily have wilted having conceded so soon after scoring themselves but they're still passing the ball around confidently. There's definitely more goals in this game.
Assist Damien Duff
Goal Hugo Rodallega
GOAL! Fulham regain the lead! Dejagah almost immediately wins a free-kick for the home side in a dangerous crossing position. Damien Duff steps up and delivers a superb ball into the box which is met by the head of Hugo Rodallega and powered into the back of the net!
Alan Pardew's men are knocking the ball around with much more confidence now. Martin Jol's response is to ready Ashkan Dejagah.
Well it was hardly the 'golden opportunity' that Newcastle were looking for but, when you have a player of Ben Arfa's quality, you only need half a chance to score a goal. The momentum is certainly with the away side now!
Assist Vurnon Anita
Goal Hatem Ben Arfa
GOAL FOR NEWCASTLE! Wow, what a strike from Hatem Ben Arfa. The Frenchman toys with Riise on the left-hand corner of Fulham's box before unleashing a sensational drive from 25 yards that completely catches Schwarzer off guard and find the back of the net. Game on!
So, much like the first 45 minutes, the second period is shaping up to be a pretty even contest. Newcastle have just yet to make that one golden opportunity.
Wonderful link-up play from Rodallega and Berbatov on the edge of the area nearly sees the latter double Fulham's advantage. The Bulgarian advances into the area but fires his effort into the outside side-netting from an increasingly tight angle.
Fulham are almost caught out there with a ball over the top to Cisse. The Senegal international doesn't quite have the touch to set himself for a shot and elects to lay the ball off to Anita, but his thunderous effort is just over the bar.
Newcastle get us back underway here.
The next goal, you suspect, will be absolutely crucial. Duff is wreaking havoc against his former employers but the Magpies are not without their own threat. It's still a really difficult one to call. The second half is moments away...
The Magpies appeared to be rocked in the immediate aftermath of the goal, but all credit to Alan Pardew's men who finished the half the stronger side.
Well they played for over five hours without a goal, but the Cottagers finally end the drought thanks to a deflected Steve Sidwell effort.
45' + 1'
The referee brings the first half to an end here in west London.
That was almost the curse of the live-text commentator! Schwarzer, again, flaps at a cross into the Fulham area. The balls drifts out to Ba at the back post and the big man is so very close to snatching the equaliser but his effort is blocked on the line by Hangeland.
So as we approach half-time it looks like the home side are going into the break a goal to the good. Newcastle are seeing plenty of the ball but are struggling to fashion any real opportunities.
Unusually sloppy play from both sides who have just taken it in turns to give the ball away. Santon and Kacanikilic the guilty culprits!
Really entertaining game here at Craven Cottage. Newcastle are slowly edging their way back into this contest but the threat of Berbatov and Rodallega is always there for the home side.
Tiote is certainly giving Berbatov something to think about with two or three very strong challenges. It'll be surprising if he makes it to full-time without picking up a caution.
Newcastle so close to pulling one back there! A lovely floated corner is met by an onrushing Coloccini who arrows a header to towards the top corner. Unfortunately, for the Magpies, Riether is the man on the line who heads clear to deny them an equaliser.
Chance for Fulham again! Rodallega this time involved in the build-up. His dink towards the back-post ends up at the feet of Berbatov, who's powerful effort in just about kept out by Newcastle.
It's been all Fulham since the goal. Martin Jol will be delighted with the application of his troops and their hunger for more goals. Berbatov and Duff, in particular, have been the stand-out performers.
Wow, it'll be interesting to see how Alan Pardew's men respond to that opening goal from Fulham. The Cottagers have been marginally the better side so far and the Magpies will need the likes of Ben Arfa, Ba and Cisse to be at their creative best to get them back into this.
CHANCE! Fulham nearly double their advantage. Berbatov nicks the ball from Coloccini around the halfway line and advances towards goal, but the Bulgarian is thwarted by a good save from Krul.
Assist Damien Duff
Goal Steve Sidwell
GOAL FOR FULHAM! It's Steve Sidwell for The Cottagers! Good work from Duff down the right hand side as the winger manages to engineer enough space to find Sidwell on the edge of the box. The midfielder's strike is deflected past Tim Krul and into the back of the net!
Mark Schwarzer can count himself a touch fortunate there! The keeper's goal kick falls straight to the feet of Ben Arfa but his cross has just too much on it for Demba Ba to get on the end of.
Some neat build-up play from the away side comes to nothing as Anita fires wide from 20 yards when perhaps crossing for Cisse in the middle would have been the better option.
The game looks to have settled a little now. Neither side have taken up the initiative. Although Berbatov has just caught Jonas Gutierrez with a high boot, just to let the Argentine know he's there.
Both sides are moving the ball around nicely in these opening encounters. Fulham, in particular, seem to be getting a lot of joy down the right with Duff. The Irishman has swung a couple of decent looking balls into the box already.
Good work from Damien Duff down the right hand side sees the home team win a corner. His delivery is met by Hangeland but the captain's route to goal is blocked by a cluster of Newcastle bodies.
Newcastle reply by fashioning a half chance of their own. Schwarzer flaps at a delivery into the area but the Magpies fail to capitalise on the subsequent confusion in the Fulham ranks.
Really bright start from the home side. Kacanikilic driving into the Newcastle box but just loses control at the last second under pressure from Coloccini.
Fulham get us underway here at Craven Cottage.
Well I hope those stats have got the juices flowing. We're moments away from kick-off now. BRING IT ON!
Another statistical treat for you: Alan Pardew's men are the only team not to have scored from a corner this season.
Stat Attack: Seven of the Cottagers' goals have come from the substitutes' bench, more than any other club except Manchester City.
Two magnificent strikers on the pitch tonight in Demba Ba and Dimitar Berbatov - you wouldn't bet against either of them sticking at least one in the onion bag!
Fulham, who are notoriously strong at home, against Newcastle, who appear to have gone all out for the win... The league table may suggest that this is just another run-of-the-mill mid-table encounter, but I have a feeling we're in for a real Christmas cracker!
Just one change for the Magpies from the starting XI that disposed of Wigan 3-0 last week. Hatem Ben Arfa takes his place in the side in what looks to be a pretty potent attacking lineup selected by Alan Pardew.
So, as expected, Brede Hangeland returns at the back for the home side and Hugo Rodallega is the preferred partner to Dimitar Berbatov up front. Martin Jol will be hoping for a much improved performance from his side following their defeat to Spurs last time out.
Newcastle: Krul; Simpson, Williamson, Coloccini, Santon; Anita, Tiote; Cisse, Ben Arfa, Gutierrez; Ba. Subs: Harper, Ferguson, Tavernier, Perch, Bigirimana, Marveaux, Shola Ameobi
Fulham: Schwarzer; Riether, Hangeland, Hughes, Riise; Duff, Sidwell, Baird, Kacaniklic; Berbatov, Rodallega. Subs: Etheridge, Richardson, Senderos, Karagounis, Diarra, Dejagah, Petric
The team news is in so let's get straight to it, starting with the home side first...
Both teams started the campaign with genuine ambitions of qualifying for Europe, yet both the outfits have been stuttering of late. This fixture presents the perfect chance for these sides to get their seasons well and truly back on track.
Good evening and welcome to Goal.com's live coverage of Fulham versus Newcastle. My name is James Vause and I'll be guiding you through all the action from a chilly Craven Cottage.
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