A deep cross from Charles N'Zogbia down the
found James Milner at the far post. His attempted knock-back hit Liam Rosenior
and fell nicely for Darren Ambrose to fire home past Edwin van der Sar
at the Hammersmith End of the ground.
Fulham 0 Newcastle 1
The unmarked Patrick Kluivert bulleted a header from N'Zogbia's
corner past the 'keeper and Mark Pembridge guarding near post.
corner this time came from Milner, Shola Ameobi rising above former SJP
colleague Alain Goma to nod in at
the far post. 3-0
Striker Tomasz Radzinski ran on to Rosenior's through ball before tucking a
tidy finish past Shay Given. 3-1
Fulham 1 Newcastle 3
"We’ve made hard
work of it. At 3-0 we had done the hard part but we were a bit naïve towards the
"We didn’t keep the ball as well as we could have done but we’ve got three
teenagers and a 20-year-old and I can’t ask any more from the teams I’ve been
"This has been a difficult period for us with the games coming thick and fast
and the injuries we’ve encountered.
"It’s been a steep learning curve for me. I’m an experienced manager but
managing this club is not an easy job.
"We’ve had a lot to deal with that we shouldn’t have been focusing on.
"Next year hopefully we’ll strengthen and do without the sort of stuff that gets
us headlines for the wrong reasons."
About the rested Shearer:
Shearer took it as hard as anyone when we were knocked out of the Uefa
"He saw the Uefa Cup as our best chance of success this year. Both
physically and psychologically he has been drained in recent weeks.
to me the other day and said that he really could do with a rest. He came to me
- despite what has been written about the situation by various people.
"I have not been worried about what people have said, not in the slightest.
Why should I have been? He came and asked if he could be rested."
Captain for the night, Boumsong told the Chronicle wearing the
"One of the proudest moments of my career."
"The best thing last
night at Craven Cottage was still beating Fulham."
"To captain a club as
big as Newcastle United is a massive honour. It is something nobody can ever
take away from me and it made me so proud.
"When the manager
told me I was going to be skipper I was a little surprised but delighted, even
though when Alan Shearer went off at Old Trafford last week he threw the armband
"I was vice-captain
at Auxerre but was only skipper on the odd occasion.
"We took the
game very seriously right from the off although obviously we are nearing the end
of the season. We came here to win and we were focused.
"What was important
was that we broke that losing sequence and now we want to try and keep winning
in our last two games.
"It was nice to have
Titus Bramble back beside me in defence, but don't forget Andy O'Brien has also
done well and this competition can only be good for the team when everyone is
"We have another
tough game against Everton and Duncan Ferguson on Saturday and whether I'm
captain or not is not really important."
"Perhaps it would be
best if I wasn't captain again and I could always say I had a 100% winning
record whenever I have worn the armband for Newcastle United."
Chris Coleman grumbled:
"We weren’t at
the races. The first goal was always going to be a factor.
“We got punished from two set pieces. Overall it was definitely a case of after
the Lord Mayor’s show.
first home loss since December. We dug deep and worked very hard but weren’t as
sharp as Saturday."
"It was a disappointing performance. We’ve got two games left and it’s really
important we finish on a good note and not with performances like that."
"It’s important we finish on a high - we can still climb a couple of places up
the table and well be aiming to do that."
Moving on to lifeless striker Andy Cole, jeered by home and away
"It’s not just our crowd, it’s crowds all around the country that have
this thing about Andy Cole. There is nothing I or Andy can do about it.
“He has scored 12 goals in all competition and is one of the highest scorers
in the Premiership in a team which is at the wrong end of the table. His goals
have been incredibly important to us.
“He was not on form against Newcastle but neither were the other 10 players.
Andy’s fitness is not what it should be but we have not really got any
alternatives at the moment so we had to play him.
“You can’t question his attitude. When he is 100% he scores goals, but he
has not always been 100% fit. He was not great and that is why he was replaced,
but he will hold his hands up to that.
Seven game Premiership winless run
now ended, our first win in eight games (all competitions) and
we're unbeaten in three Premiership outings.
This was also our first Premiership away success since Palace in
November - since when we're lost six and drawn four.
failed to score in four away games this season - Arsenal,
Chelsea, Spurs and West Brom.
This was the first time we'd scored three goals in a Premiership away
match under Souness - the last occasion being in May 2004 when we drew
3-3 at Southampton.
50th game in charge for Souness, of which he's won 24,
drawn 12 and lost 14.
lost their unbeaten home record for 2005 as we joined Boro, Liverpool,
Chelsea, Blackburn, Arsenal and Birmingham in having left Craven
Cottage with all three points.
was our first Premiership victory at Craven Cottage.
Craven Cottage - last 10
3-1 Ambrose, Kluivert, Ameobi
2001/02: Lost 1-3 Speed
1983/84: Drew 2-2 Beardsley, Keegan
1982/83: Drew 2-2 McDermott, Varadi
1981/82: Lost 0-2 (League Cup)
1979/80: Lost 0-1 No scorer
1978/79: Won 3-1 Connolly, Withe, Shoulder
1967/68: Lost 0-2 No scorer
1966/67: Lost 1-5 Pop Robson
1965/66: Lost 0-2 no scorer
We've also faced Fulham twice in recent seasons at Loftus Road:
2003/04: Won 3-2 Robert, Shearer 2
2002/03: Lost 1-2 Shearer
Shola Ameobi's second Premiership goal of the season (both of
which were headers) and first
since January 1st (Birmingham at home) - ending a run of 1,117
scoreless minutes. His last away league was almost a year ago - away
at Liverpool in May 2004. In the absence of Shearer, he would have
been our penalty taker.
Patrick Kluivert's sixth Premiership goal of the season - all
of which have come away from home (Villa, Palace, Liverpool, Norwich,
barring one against West Brom at SJP.
Darren Ambrose's fifth Premiership goal of his Newcastle career
- and they've all come away from home, with efforts against Bolton,
Manchester United and Fulham in the current campaign adding to
conversions at Leicester and Southampton last season.
only success on Tyneside came on his home debut, against NAC Breda in
the UEFA Cup.
The final whistle in this game was the signal
for fans to turn jeers into boos, as an embarrassed looking set of players in
black and white meandered off the field.
Thankfully for once the objects of derision weren't Newcastle, who with old boy
Lee Clark among them, were clad in the blue away kit for the final time,
industriously applauding the toon contingent in the Putney end.
And although Steven Taylor's exuberant hand gestures would have been more
appropriate had we just won a place in the Champions League final, the relief on
and off the field was palpable - it may have been a meaningless win, but for
those who made the effort it was a damn sight better than a meaningless point or
While a fatigued Alan Shearer may have spent the night in his own bed, he'd have
doubtless been kicking the cat when he saw footage of this game on TV.
Physically and mentally knackered he may have been, but surely he'd have been
capable of sidling up to the incoming balls and scoring as Kluivert and Ameobi
did, while seemingly uninterested home defenders looked on.
After having given one of their better performances of the season in stifling
out Everton's threat last weekend here, Fulham demonstrated once
again the inconsistency that's seen them marooned in Premiership no man's land
alongside us since we met last November.
And having collected the point which confirmed their status in that game, the
Cottagers seemed to have promptly swapped their boots for espadrilles.
Tonight Coleman's men were anything mustard, giving a
reasonable approximation of the lifeless and blunt-edged displays seen recently
at Gallowgate and like Newcastle in recent seasons, collapsing over the
finishing line in some disarray.
Although it's easy to fall into the
over-praising trap here. Milner, N'Zogbia and Ambrose all did well in this game,
but so would a clutch of youngsters from any other club in the league against
opposition as listless as this.
And it's a fair bet that one or two of the
brighter sparks at clubs above us would have had a field day here as a more
resounding victory was recorded than ours.
But we won and won so deservedly - a much-needed result for all concerned.
Newcastle revelled in the consequent space and lack of midfield bite from
Fulham, Pembridge again looking like he's
on borrowed time and Clark not far behind Cole in being grumbled at by
long-suffering home fans, the fact both had recently returned from injury
seeming to cut little ice with SW6 malcontents.
For Cole especially, the presence of his former club and the manager who
publicly insulted him when showing him the Ewood Park exit door could have acted
as a spur for him to grab another goal against us, to add to the ten he plundered
for Manchester United and Blackburn.
In the event, the 33 year-old showed little in the 66 minutes he was given
before Coleman put him out of his misery.
There again, we're not exactly well
placed to mock - Cole's return of eleven Premiership strikes this season four more than
anyone has managed in a black and white shirt - and no less than 9 more than
Ameobi's meagre return.
Of Kluivert though it's a case of too little, too late.
Yes, he scored his 12th Newcastle goal, but five of those came in the UEFA Cup
(four against some Arab part-timers). And save for efforts at Villa Park and
Anfield in games we lost, they've all come against teams below us in the table -
Palace, West Brom, Norwich and now Fulham. In cricketing parlance he's a flat
Shola though deserves some credit for his display in this game and deserved his
goal after showing up well in the wide role he's taken on recently. While
overseeing the comings and goings before next season, Souness also has to try
and solve the conundrum of this enigmatic man, who should be an asset to us but
so often just isn't.
The biggest problem Shola faces though (apart from not shooting on target or
scoring often enough) is that the man absent tonight but
with an extended contract and looming coaching responsibilities doesn't seem to
dovetail with the Nigerian Geordie on the field.
So, relief for Newcastle fans and an early birthday present for Graeme Souness,
as he reaches his half century of games in charge of this madhouse, sorry,
If there's one negative to this positive night though, when the goals were laid
on by the younger members of the side and the returning Bramble boosted Boumsong
in defence, it's that our best league goal tally in a game since October didn't
come on home territory.
The moribund three hours that Tyneside football watchers endured last week
hasn't helped, but given that we've not won a home league game by more than one
clear goal since Souness's bow against West Brom, then season ticket renewal waverers could have
done with a first-hand reminder such as this to banish some of those Gallowgate
After having deflated the hopes of one former toon trio here, Newcastle travel
to Goodison Park on Saturday looking to do the same to messrs Watson, Pistone
But while our injury situation is expected to ease still further, for a former
Kop favourite to put a dent in Everton's hopes of claiming Merseyside's
Champions League place will require a greater effort in a more frenetic
atmosphere than this undemanding evening by the Thames.