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West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
31 August 2013
• St. James' Park, Newcastle upon Tyne
Referee: C. Foy
• Attendance: 46402
H. Ben Arfa 86'
That's it from me, Harry Slavin, thanks to all of you who followed the action on here today. Newcastle are up and running in the Barclays Premier League for the season thanks to that Ben Arfa screamer. Until next time, goodbye!
FULL-TIME: NEWCASTLE 1-0 FULHAM. King Arfa delivers a golden moment to kick-start the Magpies season then at St James's Park. The Frenchman's howitzer was definitely deserved as Newcastle laid seige to the Fulham goal for the final quarter.
90' + 4'
More chances for Newcastle as Cisse, Debuchy and Sissoko are all denied but it won't matter as the whistle goes for full-time!
90' + 2'
Newcastle break in numbers as Fulham commit bodies forward. There is a chance to send it to the right to a wide open Ben Arfa, but instead Sissoko goes for goal and blazes over.
The fourth official has indicated FOUR added minutes to be added on. We're not even into it yet and the fans have started whistling!
Final role of the dice from Martin Jol as he brings on Hugo Rodallega for the final moments.
Yellow Card Hatem Ben Arfa
Just moments before that Adel Taarabt had a golden opportunity to give the visitors the lead as he pounced on a mistake from Coloccini, only to see the Argentine get back and block his shot. Fine margins.
Assist Loïc Remy
Goal Hatem Ben Arfa
GOOOAAALLL!!! BEN ARFA WITH A PEARLER!!! The door bursts open as Ben Arfa sends a rocket past Stockdale. The keeper was motionless as the mercurial winger shifts the ball onto his left and smashes into the back of the net. Queue mass relief around St James's!
Another corner and once again a Newcastle player is up to meet it, but Debuchy can only head narrowly wide. Their knocking on the door here Newcastle.
Substitution for Fulham. Darren Bent has had nothing all day and his frustrating day is ended early as he comes off for Taarabt.
Yellow Card Yohan Cabaye
Poor challenge from Cabaye and he is in the book. If his head is straight now maybe it was best he didn't play as it still doesn't look screwed on based on this performance.
Gouffran! For the second week running the former Bordeaux man has a glorious chance from inside the six-yard-box and for the second week in a row he fluffs his lines. Ben Arfa sends up a great cross but the striker can't get enough on it and glances it wide.
Relentless stuff from the hosts now. Ben Arfa has his shot saved at the near post by Stockdale after a Santon cross bobbles all the way to the Frenchman at the back stick.
CROSSBAR!! Cisse leaps like a salmon to meet Ben Arfa's cross and although his header has Stockdale beaten all ends up, it rattles the bar and flies over the bar.
Yellow Card J. Riise
This is a lot more promising from the home side now. John Arne Riise feels the need to disrupt a break from the hosts from in their own half and is booked for his troubles.
GOUFFRAN! The substitute slipped onto the field virtually unnoticed but he rises highest from the corner, only to see his effort held by Stockdale.
And almost an instant impact! Sissoko blazes a trail through the Fulham half before feeding through Remy. The QPR loanee tries to find strike partner Cisse but Hangeland is there to knock it behind for a corner.
Another change now and this one brings only cheers as Loic Remy comes on to make is debut as he replaces Marveaux.
Riether is having to make way after picking up that injury. Matthew Briggs, who came on against Sunderland two weeks ago from the bench, is on the filed once again in the North East.
Under 20 minutes left then and we are still no nearer a breakthrough this afternoon. Can either side step it up in the final quarter?
We have a stoppage in play here as Sascha Riether receives treatment after getting his studs caught in the turf.
It's left to Bryan Ruiz to lift the ball over the wall and prompt a good stop from Krul who palms the ball away. Cabaye will be a very relieved man.
Cabaye is involved immediately and it will not have done his attempts to reconciliate with the fans any favours as he bundles Kacaniklic over on the edge of the Newcastle area. Good chance for the visitors this.
Double substitution for the hosts and all eyes are on one person. Gouffran almost slips onto the pitch unnoticed as he replaces Ameobi. But seconds later Yohan Cabaye is on to a mixture of boos and applause as he replaces Anita.
Newcastle suddenly have a flurry of shots! Sissoko rattles an effort that is blocked by Aaron Hughes and then Yanga-Mbiwa has a shot deflected wide. This is all after Ben Arfa test Stockdale from the edge of the area.
The free kick is played short and eventually Ruiz's cross finds Darren Bent at the back post and his knock down has to be shepherded behind by Yanga-Mbiwa.
Kacaniklic is fouled by a combination of Yanga-Mbiwa and Debuchy right beside the corner flag. There wasn't any real danger there and that is a needless free kick for the hosts to concede.
Newcastle break as Sissoko out-muscles Kacaniklic and sets Ben Arfa free down the right. The winger then cuts inside before unleashing an effort that is deflected behind for yet another corner.
Better from Ben Arfa as he takes on Riether and beats him for pace and power. He stutters on the edge of the six-yard-box as he tries to create a shooting angle but Hangeland stands firm and blocks the ball behind for a corner.
The grumblings are getting louder from the home faithful as Yanga-Mbiwa's clearance goes straight through the Newcastle midfield and straight to Scott Parker.
Ben Arfa finally sends in an early cross but Papiss Cisse tries to control the ball in the box and inadvertently knocks it straight into the arms of Stockdale.
Davide Santon tries to fire in a cross but it's too close to Stockdale who takes the ball with ease.
Ben Arfa turns infield but his pass is too far ahead of Marveaux and too short for Ameobi. I think the former Marseille man was stuck in two minds there.
Vurnon Anita sends a raking cross-field ball straight into touch, drawing the first murmurs of discontent from the home fans in this half.
Newcastle get us back up and running.
The teams are back out at St James's Park. What can they deliver in the second-half? we are about to find out.
You can't help but feel Martin Jol will be quite satisfied with his side's first half display. They were in the exact same position when they visited the North East two weeks ago to take on Sunderland. They came away with three point on that occasion and could easily do the same this afternoon.
No breakthrough yet so will Alan Pardew call in his resources from the bench? Loic Remy will surely get a run out if things stay the same and if there ever was a key to unlock any defence, Yohan Cabaye surely possesses it.
HALF-TIME: NEWCASTLE 0-0 FULHAM No goals at the break and in all truth that was probably quite predictable given the fortunes of these two clubs recently. There's enough class in both teams to change this in the second-half. What's lacking is the belief.
Yellow Card Scott Parker
Scott Parker is in the book for hauling back Marveaux as he attempts to bear down on the Fulham box. Parker looks perplexed when Foy brandishes the card but I think the wily old pro knew exactly what he was doing.
Moments later and it's Ben Arfa's turn to infuriate the Geordie faithful again. Newcastle take a quick free kick but as soon as the ball lands at the feet of the Number 10 he has only one plan in his mind and smacks an effort way off target.
Debuchy hasn't scored for the Magpies yet and he fancies it today. He has four teammates to aim for in the middle but decides to go for goal, firing high and wide.
Hatem Ben Arfa can be as equally frustrating as he can be brilliant. On this occasion he' proves to be the former, taking on two defenders three times over in an attempt to get his cross in before sending his centre over everyone.
Another corner for Newcastle as Riise knocks the ball out. It's swung in by Marveaux but Hangeland gets his head on it and clears up the park.
There are cheers around the ground it's not for a goal. Loic Remy is warming up on the sideline and the mere sight of him is enough to get the home fans excited. It isn't surprising given the offerings in front of goal so far this afternoon.
10 minutes to go until the break then and we've yet to see either keeper properly tested. Cisse and Debuchy have teased Stockdale into a couple of routine stops, while Krul has barely had to lift a finger.
Cisse! First sight at goal for Newcastle's number 9 but it's from a tight angle and Stockdale is on hand to produce a decent stop to keep out the Senegal striker.
Scott Parker bursts into the the box as Fulham start to crank up the pressure. The ball is nicked away from the former Newcastle man's feet by Yanga-Mbiwa though, who has come up with a couple of handy challenges so far for the hosts.
Half chances at either end as long balls over the top catch out both defences. Cisse is in at one end but he can't control Sissoko's pass that finds his run. Meanwhile Kacaniklic takes the ball down inside the Newcastle area but Yanga-Mbiwa is there to nick the ball away before the winger can get his shot his away.
Berbatov has the ball at his feet on the edge of the area after being picked out by Kacaniklic but he's dispossessed by Sissoko.
It's Newcastle who are doing most of the pressing so far but apart from Coloccini's header early on there hasn't been much else to shout about for either side. A cagey start to say the least.
Mathieu Debuchy winds up an ambitious effort from fully 35-yards out. It stings the palms of Stockdale but it's straight at him and he gathers at the second attempt.
Hatem Ben Arfa has the ball in the box but is quickly surrounded and as options dwindle the little playmaker has to pick out Sissoko on the edge of the area who can't get his shot away either.
The game is still a bit disjointed at the moment. Newcastle's lack of confidence has been evident so far with some loose passing and Fulham are quite happy to sit back and allow the Magpies to attack for now.
Yanga-Mbiwa steps in with an imprtant interception as Scott Parker tries to slip Darren Bent in behind Newcastle's defence. The former Sunderland man would have been clean through on goal there.
Hatem Ben Arfa gets on the ball for the first time this afternoon and embarks on one of his trademark dribbles. It's curtailed by a robust challenge by Steve Sidwell but referee Chris Foy deems the tackle fair. Not many other people in the ground saw it that way though.
Ameobi isn't afraid of a shot but on this occasion he tries to cross the ball instead of going for goal, the ball blocked at the front post before it can reach a handful of black and white jerseys at the back post.
Newcastle break with Sissoko as the French midfielder rides a couple of challenges. He only has Papiss Cisse for support inside and decides to go it alone, which turns out to be a poor decision as his tame effort is blocked by Riether.
More attacking intent from Fulham now as Riether is found in space down the right. His cross has to be turned behind by Coloccini for a corner to the visitors.
Ruiz comes forward for Fulham as they venture into the Newcastle half for the first time. His cross is flies beyond everyone though and out for a goal kick.
This is a lively start from the home side and the Toon Army are getting behind their side. Davide Santon is found in space down the right but he is closed down quickly by two Fulham defenders and can't get his cross away.
Coloccini! The Argentine is up from the back and rises unmarked to direct his header goalwards. Is on target, but hits his own teammate Sissoko on the line!
Ameobi shows some nice control with his chest and drives into the area. Aaron Hughes has to poke the ball behind for a corner.
A long, deep cross from Debuchy is nodded wide by Shola Ameobi as Newcastle register the first attempt of the afternoon.
Fulham get the ball rolling at a sun-soaked St James's.
The sides are both out and we are about to get underway in the North East.
Meanwhile Fulham bring three former Magpies back to St James's Park. Scott Parker starts after recently moving to Craven Cottage and Aaron Hughes also starts. Damien Duff is on the bench.
There are a number of fascinating little sub-plots to today's match but the biggest news is probably that Yohan Cabaye is back in the squad for the home side as he takes his place on the bench for Newcastle after refusing to play in any of their last three outings. What kind of reaction will he get if he comes on from the home fans?
FULHAM: (4-4-2) Stockdale; Riether, Hangeland, Hughes, Riise; Kacaniklic, Sidwell, Parker, Ruiz; Berbatov, Bent.
NEWCASTLE: (4-4-2) Krul; Debuchy, Yanga-Mbiwa, Coloccini, Santon; Ben Arfa, Sissoko, Anita, Marveaux; Shola Ameobi, Cisse.
We are just over ten minutes away from kick off on Tyneside so let's take a look the line ups.
Fulham also had to overcome a tricky League Cup tie midweek, Martin Jol's side squeezing through on penalties in the end against Burton Albion. But with one away win in the North East already under their belt this season after their opening day win at Sunderland, the Cottagers will be confident of snatching the points again today against an unsettled Newcastle side.
We are live to St James's Park this afternoon as the troubled Magpies look to build on the slight momentum gained by their midweek League Cup win over Morcambe. It has been a tough summer for Alan Pardew's side, with limited movement on the transfer front, and the home fans will be praying for a victory today.
Usually the 31st of August is reserved for outrageous Manchester City bids for European forwards, Arsenal panic buys and a car window interview with Harry Redknapp. This year you'll have to make do with me, Harry Slavin, as the madness of the transfer window is put on hold for the Barclays Premier League fixture between Newcastle and Fulham.
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