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Season 2016-17
Fulham (h) Championship

In association 

Saturday 11th March 2017, 3pm

 St. James' Park

Conditions: brittle

Newcastle United


1 - 3




15 mins Stefan Johansen's through ball reached Scott Malone on the Fulham left. He cut infield and found Tom Cairney in a central position. Matt Ritchie was a bit slow to close him down but the alleged Toon target let fly from 25 yards, beating Karl Darlow with a left-footed howitzer. 0-1

Half time: Magpies 0 Cottagers 1

51 mins The visitors broke down their left flank through an offside-looking Johansen, whose hopeful cross saw Paul Dummett make a hash of his clearance. Sone Aluko took advantage, back-heeling the ball to Ryan Sessegnon, who promptly drove it into the corner of the Gallowgate goal. 0-2

59 mins A classic counter attack cost United dear, Clark bungling a headed clearance just inside the Fulham half. Aluko broke forward down the middle of the pictch before slotting in the onrushing Ryan Sessegnon to his left. The teenager beat Darlow with an emphatic finish. 0-3

76 mins Christian Atsu helped on a headed clearance up to Daryl Murphy on the edge of the box with two Fulham players in attendance. He turned before striking an excellent low left-footer from the edge of the box into the far corner. 1-3

Full time: Magpies 1 Cottagers 3

We Said


Rafa said:

"We knew it could be a difficult game, and we knew we had to do well at the beginning and not make mistakes. But we started making mistakes, and we paid for that.

"Fulham are a good team - they passed the ball well and they have pace. We were giving the ball away, and that was giving them the chance to play in the way that they like to play.

"When you have tried and have made mistakes, you have to analyse why. 

"It is not as though the players were not trying in terms of effort. Sometimes, it is just the wrong decision, and that is something we have to improve."

They Said

Slavisa Jokanovic commented:

"(Ryan) Sessegnon is working very well, we tried to use him in a little bit of a different position but in the past we have used him in more of an offensive position.

"We expected that he could find the space in behind the back four of Newcastle and he did that twice. He finished with a great level of quality and he completed a very good football game and he must be satisfied with the team and himself too.

"We played very good football and we tried to win the game. With our style, we move the ball and we had control. We were more clinical.

"I believe at the end my team deserved the result. It is a great step for us, everything is open, although some teams have more points than what we have right now.

"I believe Newcastle will be a Premier League team. They play a different style of football - they are physical and a very strong team full of important players.

"We knew they would try and attack behind our full-backs and we would be in a good distance from them with good positions.

"We are not in a position to think about being a promoted team, but we are going to push hard for the top six. If you have enough strength for this then we have a 25 per cent chance to be a Premier League team next season."



The Magpies were beaten in the Championship for the first time in 12 games, as Fulham joined Blackburn Rovers in claiming a league double over Rafa's side.

Daryl Murphy scored his fifth goal of the season in all competitions for Newcastle, four in the Championship and one in the FA Cup. This was his second from the bench, the first coming at Brentford back in January.

Cottagers in Toon - last 10:

2016/17 lost 1-3 Murphy
2013/14 won 1-0 Ben Arfa
2012/13 won 1-0 Cisse
2011/12 won 2-1 Best 2
2010/11 drew 0-0
2008/09 lost 0-1
2007/08 won 2-0 Viduka, Owen
2006/07 lost 1-2 Parker
2005/06 drew 1-1 N'Zogbia
2004/05 lost 1-4 Bellamy
2003/04 won 3-1 O'Brien, Speed, Robert





Maybe it was the shirts.

The results of googling red include  "energy, strength, power, determination, desire, danger", while putting that through a black and white filter though produces Huddersfield Town, Blackburn Rovers, Bristol City and now Fulham: a quartet of red-clad sides who have prospered at SJP this season. 

Make no mistake, this was classic Newcastle United: build you up to knock you down. Sending fans back with tales of success from far-flung fields only then fluff their lines in bewildering fashion on their own stamping ground. The names of the players may change, but the frustration remains.

Having come within a rotten penalty of matching their best-ever victory at Gallowgate, thoughts of Fulham's 4-1 win here quarter of a century ago were invoked - another day the visitors wore red and the likes of Gordon Davies and Ray Houghton found acres of space to punish.

A check through the archives revealed that particular game came on the back of a trio of away treks: an epic 5-1 victory at Rotherham, a backs-to-the-wall 1-0 success at Leeds and finally a 2-2 stalemate at Oldham achieved by a tiring team. Sound familiar?

Back to the 2017 vintage and having set themselves up nicely with seven points from three away games, United conjured up one of their worst performances as Rafa Benitez marked a year here. 

His side remain top of the table on goal difference, but were a pale imitation of that which has led the Championship for most of the campaign.

Our sluggish and sloppy performance was at times reminiscent of the opening game of the season when Fulham won 1-0, but it was a far more impressive display of passing and movement from a visiting side now unbeaten and seven and coming up on the rails in the playoff stakes.

The pace and movement of the Cottagers exposed our shortcomings, proving to be the very worst opponent to face after the three away games that seem to have sapped both legs and brains.

Tom Cairney's rocket gave Fulham the lead and further goals could have followed as Darlow made one smart stop and saw another deflected effort pass across his six yard box as he repositioned.

Despite starting with Dwight Gayle, an incredibly toothless performance from United failed to improve after the break and 16 year-old Ryan Sessegnon scored twice to end the contest by the hour.

There was a suspicion of offside in the build up to his first, Paul Dummett's mis-kick in the box crucial. The second came after another lightning counter exposed our trundling midfield again.

A fine strike from substitute Daryl Murphy gave United a glimmer of hope with less than 15 minutes left but a memorable comeback never seemed remotely possible and Fulham even managed to miss a late penalty - conceded by Dummett (whose below-par offering was matched by right back Vurnon Anita, while the performance of Jamaal Lascelles was as wayward as his at Craven Cottage).

The spot kick was won by Sessegnon and he looked to have the chance to complete his treble, only for Tim Ream to pull rank and promptly slice his spot kick wide of the Gallowgate End goal.

It's difficult to convey the awfulness of today's display - and there's some dismay that no half time changes followed a woeful opening 45 minutes. Wins for Brighton and Huddersfield combined with our defeat undid much of the good work done last week and our goal difference is being eroded.

We at least finished with 11 men and Matt Ritchie and Jack Colback avoided the bookings that would have seen them suspended for two games. That threat has now been lifted giving Rafa something to work with in midfield - an area that he rightly tried in vain to strengthen in January. 

The return of Isaac Hayden for the final part of the season may offset being unable to pick Anita in midfield until DeAndre Yedlin is available again - the USA international's forward running a significant loss to us. There's nothing suitable in the U23s and one look at the bench today told its own story: three forwards, three defenders and a goalkeeper. Achraaf Lazaar seems to have disappeared while Sammy Ameobi's brief return to first team life looks to have ended.

The points gap at the top of the table means this wasn't a total disaster, but following a similarly pedestrian opening gave Bristol City a two goal start, our home form is of increasing concern. 

More positively, Leeds were held to a draw while Reading and Sheffield Wednesday both lost - leaving the Terriers as the main threats to a Seagulls/Magpies double in the top two spots.

It's still very much in our own hands - although letting such a strong position slip through our fingers now would be absolutely unforgivable. Nine games remain to guarantee that the good work done in the first 4/5ths of the season isn't wasted, before the real personnel battle off the field starts. 

PS: Returning to that red for danger thought, maybe it's just as well that our penultimate opponents Cardiff City have now reverted to their traditional blue shirts - although Barnsley will doubtless close the season off here wearing their usual home colours. Hopefully by then it won't matter and this wobble will have been forgotten.



We're sad to report the passing of Wallsend -born Paul Devine, a long-time member of Toon Army Dallas who had been battling cancer. 

Paul's affable personality made him popular with those who gather to watch Newcastle on TV games at The Dubliner - while his own unique live commentary (described by a fellow Mag as "a steady stream of poetic profanity") gripped many with fear and incomprehension in equal measure.

A proper Geordie lad, our thoughts are with his many friends and his family at this time. 

By way of a small tribute, here's a photo of Paul in happier times, meeting some bloke from Gosforth - we'd like to think he was asking him for a blow-by-blow account of that incident with Neil Lennon...

Page last updated 15 June, 2017