Another away performance which is can not be described as a much more improvement than our last two games. This one is kind of boring and backwards from the way we play on our last fixtures against Arsenal or Birmingham.
Newcastle have a good chance to take the lead in quarter with Butt switches play to Milner, twists inside and out of Omozusi and crosses deep into Fulham’s penalty area. Barton who gets there first only sees his header saved by the legs of Niemi on the goal-line.
Martins is playing too deep today and often have to search for the ball because the lack of services from Toon midfielder. His one-two with Beye in the fifth minutes or so find the overlapping Rozehnal. Martins, on the edge of the area waiting for the cross but it’s Stefanovic who clear.
Minutes later, Newcastle’s adopted left-back N’Zogbia tries to force his way into the Cottagers box but is stopped in his tracks by Stefanovic who’s screwed clearance goes behind for a left-wing corner. Two corners for the Magpies but both Geremi’s take didn’t produce any danger and Dempsey hacks the latest one away.
As being reported before, 4,000 travelling Toon Army are making some noise as the game start with the home side do the attack. Cacapa who returns from hamstring injury succeded to taking care of a clever ball from David in-behind the Toon backline and resulting a throw-in on the left-flank.
Martins has triple half-chance to scores in the first-half. First from Milner crosses in 41st minute. Niemi is under pressure from the Nigerian but does well to claim the ball inside the six-yard area. His second came from Geremi’s swing ball over from the right.
Fulham’s skipper, an ex-Magpie Aaron Hughes jumps with Martins to head clear. N’Zogbia get the clear ball and crack it from 25 yards, the effort is weak and Niemi is able to save low to his left easily.
Geremi hooks a ball forward and Martins has stole a march on Hughes near the end of first-half. It looks like Martins was clean through on Niemi’s goal but Hughes does very well to recover and guides the ball back to his keeper.
In second half, Newcastle almost got caught again by the home side. Keep losing possession at midfield with both Geremi and Barton looks hardly to produce the decent performance today. Bouazza runs at Beye and Geremi from midfield on the left, He darts in-between them and takes aim for Given’s goal.
The ball deflected and spins across the target but luckily for the Magpies, the ball was evades the upright by a matter of inches. Big Sam must be furious when he’s looking at the way the lads perform today.
Another weak defensive efforts from the lads in 57minutes, when Davis’ header causes confusion and Healy capitalise it, this time the Northern Irish striker shoot the ball first time from 20 yards out but his effort is straight at Given. If we have been playing with the Big Four teams, we have been punished by that.
Sam Allardyce sees enough and he is replacing the “Skipper” with Emre in 57 minutes. Smith take the arm band from Geremi, who is having another quite poor appearance.
Habib Beye, who is the only United’s defender who is playing well today has to turned behind Davies lovely ball out to the left for Bouazza, after the Toon backline are stretched again.
Emre’s appearance in Toon midfield change the game. He drives Newcastle forward and feeds delicious ball for Martins, he has two defenders in close attendance but manages to back-heel into the path of Milner, the young winger bursts into the area and looks for Smith. Stefanovic is tracking the United skipper’s run and cuts out the delivery before Bocanegra clears.
Big Sam has more homework to do after today. Newcastle looks fragile in defensive set pieces. From Bouazza’s work on Newcastle’s right sees off Beye before cross it from the left-hand touchline. Cacapa cut out at the near post, but the other Newcastle players can’t fully clear it.
The ball is forced behind amid a crowd of bodies in the penalty area. Davies takes but after a game of head tennis inside the box Cacapa hacks behind for another flag-kick. Dempsey heads well over from Davies’ corner.
Fulham making changes with Shefki Kuqi replaced Simon Davies, while Newcastle replacing Martins to bring in Mark Viduka to partner with his former Leeds team mate up front.
The game looks destined to have a draw, before in the dying seconds, Fulham fans appeal for a penalty as Dempsey runs into Cacapa inside the area but Howard Webb rightly waves away the appeals. It’s a bit harsh but the luck is not on the Cottagers side for today.
It was Newcastle who is once again grab the last minutes winning goal. After just around a minute from our penalty box incident, Alan Smith is tripped by the sliding Omozusi inside the host penalty area and Howard Webb quickly points to the spot.
Without Martins and Geremi presence on the field, it was Joey Barton who grabs the ball and kept his nerves before steps up to slot home past Anti Niemi for his first goal since April 9 on the very same ground. I must say we are lucky to get out with a point from Craven Cottage, but to have three points on hands is the other lucky bonus.
Anti Niemi, Carlos Bocanegra, Dejan Stefanovic, David Healy, Steven Davis, Aaron Hughes (c), Elliot Omozusi, Clint Dempsey, Hameur Bouazza, Simon Davies (Shefki Kuqi 73″), Danny Murphy.
Subs: Tony Warner, Seol Ki-Hyeon, Alexey Smertin, Chris Baird.
Newcastle United FC:
Shay Given, Habib Beye, Charles N’Zogbia, David Rozehnal, Claudio Cacapa, Nicky Butt, Geremi (Emre, 57″), Joey Barton, James Milner, Oba Martins (Mark Viduka, 77″), Alan Smith.
Subs: Steve Harper, Jose Enrique, David Edgar.
Referee: Howard Webb.
Attendance: 24, 959.