10 December 2012 23:19
Fulham overcame a spirited display from Newcastle to clinch a 2-1 win in an end-to-end Premier League encounter at Craven Cottage on Monday.
The hosts took the lead in the first half courtesy of Steve Sidwell’s deflected strike from inside the penalty area.
Newcastle equalised shortly after the break through a lobbed effort from outside the box from Hatem Ben Arfa, with Mark Schwarzer wrong-footed following another deflection.
Hugo Rodallega then proved the match winner, prodding home Damien Duff’s free kick.
After a high-tempo start that saw both sides pour resources forward, it was the hosts who took the lead through Sidwell in the 18th minute, the Englishman’s effort deflecting in off Mike Williamson with Tim Krul sent the wrong way.
Fulham could have added a second moments later when Dimitar Berbatov latched on to a sloppy pass from Vurnon Anita before racing through one-on-one, but Krul did well to stay balanced and palm the Bulgarian’s effort away.
Berbatov went close again on the half-hour mark after a superb run and cross by Sascha Riether down the right which saw the former Manchester United’s acrobatic effort cleared off the line.
Riether then rose highest to nod Fabricio Coloccini’s powerful header from a corner away off the goal-line and blocked a sweetly-struck shot on goal from Demba Ba just before half-time.
This prompted a response from Newcastle and they grabbed the equaliser in the 54th minute courtesy of a sensational strike from Ben Arfa from outside the area on the right which caught the bar on its way in.
Fulham regained the lead in the 63rd minute after Rodallega buried a header at the near post, beating Coloccini in the air after Duff delivered a precise free-kick from the right flank.
With the game opening up and both defences looking vulnerable, Coloccini struck the bar with a magnificent curling effort from inside the box after a rampaging run forwards.
Despite both sides pushing for another goal, Fulham were able to hold on to their lead and secure their first league win in over a month.