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Toon boss also bemoaned referee's decision to award Cottagers a spot-kick for their first goal which kick-started an incredible second half turn-around for the home side

Alan Pardew was left mystified after Newcastle United threw away a half-time lead to lose 5-2 at Fulham.

Danny Guthrie had put the Magpies a goal up before the interval but a Clint Dempsey hat-trick helped the Cottagers to a victory and Pardew was left frustrated by his players’ second-half performance.

He told Sky Sports: “The game got away from us in a quite extraordinary fashion, we were so dominant in the first half, it’s difficult sometimes to prepare for what happens.

“Their first goal certainly changed the course of the game, it looked like a really soft penalty.

“Then we had a really difficult period in the game where we didn’t handle the game very well.”

Despite their poor showing in the second period, Pardew refused to criticise his players after their magnificent season in the Premier League so far, which sees them sit just outside the European places.

He continued: “I can’t complain about my team, they’ve been brilliant all year and we’re in a fantastic position in the league.

“For 20 minutes today we just lost the plot and conceded, for us, poor goals. They were the type of goals we haven’t conceded all year.”

The result was a shock following Newcastle’s excellent first-half showing but Pardew bemoaned a lack of killer instinct while his side were on top.

“I would have liked a second goal in that first half,” The Toon boss explained. “I thought we deserved a second.

“We couldn’t have played any better in the first half, we’ve had a complete contradiction in terms of our performance today.

“First half was as good as we’ve been and second half was certainly as bad as we’ve been.

“We’ll have to work hard on the training ground now to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

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