Newcastle United v Fulham – Match Report
Newcastle United 1 Fulham 0
Sunday 7 April 3pm
Watch Match Highlights Here
One of the worst atmospheres for a long long time, at least for the first hour or more.
A horrible mixture of fear and resignation that while Fulham looked unlikely to score, Newcastle were desperately short of attacking initiative.
My prediction of Gouffran in a central striking role and Sissoko alongside Cabaye, came to fruition…if only for fifteen minutes or so.
In that time I thought there was the odd sign that it had the makings of a more threatening formation than of late, injury to Davide Santon put paid to that though as Anita came on and the team shuffled around.
The Santon injury happened when Marveaux showed his vulnerability, a quick Fulham one-two and the Frenchman wasn’t at the races, the Italian full-back having to turn on the turbo to make up for Marveaux’ failure to track back. The turbo was turned on too high and too quickly as Santon went down clutching his hamstring.
Jonas dropped to left-back, Gouffran to his usual left wing spot and Anita in the middle.
I have to say that I wondered why Alan Pardew didn’t just stick Anita at full-back where he has produced his better performances and leave the rest of the formation alone. Anita looks out of his depth at times in midfield and struggles to impose himself.
The game crawled to half-time with Tim Krul making a couple of close range blocks which kept United in the game, I had the distinct feeling that if we went behind today then there would be no fightback heroics like the previous three home Premier League matches.
Half-time chat wasn’t positive and Marveaux in particular singled out as somebody who had been totally anonymous.
Some people really rate him and at times he looks the part, as he did the longer this second half went on. If he could stay involved for the full ninety minutes then he would give Alan PArdew food for thought when everybody was fit.
Newcastle clearly had players having to start who in other circumstances would have been on the bench at bets, speaking of the substitutes the cupboard was pretty bare and when the other two changes were made it was a case of making change for the sake of it, no disrespect to Shola and young Adam Campbell.
The two real stars for me were Moussa Sissoko and Jonas Gutierrez.
In recent weeks when Newcastle have been up against it in both Europe and domestically, he has really stepped it up and shown his true value once again. He never stopped running up and down and was always prepared to hold onto the ball, as was Sissoko who looked clearly knackered but who you could almost physically see him set himself to go on another run and dribble with his mind urging his body on.
Cisse may have got the winner but it is a tribute to the team overall that as the game went on they looked to want it more than Fulham and pressed them further and further back.
Our Senegalese striker is a bit of a one-off but somebody who definitely knows where the goal is, even if he hasn’t hit it as consistently this season.
His winner burst a massive balloon marked tension and apart from the 502 travelling fans and Fulham team/coaches, there was a release that made sure any neutral knew how important this result is to the football club and supporters.
One result doesn’t make a season but it can set it up.
Newcastle United: Krul, Simpson (Campbell 81), Taylor, Mapou, Santon (Anita 17), Marveaux, Cabaye, Sissoko, Gutierrez, Cisse, Gouffran (Shola 69)
Unused Subs: Elliot, Williamson, Bigirimana, Obertan
Fulham: Schwarzer, Riether, Senderos, Hangeland, Riise, Manolev (Rodallega 81), Enoh (Frimpong 51), Karagounis, Duff, Ruiz, Berbatov
Ref: Kevin Friend
Crowd: 51,847 (502 Fulham)
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