Newcastle 1 Fulham 0 – The three big points that I’m taking from the match
Going into another match, with another chance to consolidate top four places, today’s game was an important one.
Possibly at a slight advantage due to Fulham’s Thursday game, but in no way a game to take for granted, given the opposition’s performances of late.
Only one question mark over our squad – would Joelinton play after his post-league cup antics behind the wheel?
The team showed an unchanged line-up, with Joelinton in, Isak and ASM having to settle for a place on the bench.
I’m sure Joelinton’s inclusion will be a bone of contention for some and a good excuse for teams around us if things go our way, but things like this have been done before.
Mitrovic starting up top for Fulham, good to see him on form in the PL, but hopefully today would prove an off day for him.
The first half started with pressure from the home side, Joelinton setting up Willock for the first chance within the first few minutes, a shot sent wide. Not a couple of minutes later, Bruno put Longstaff through with a lovely pass, a desperate Fulham block stopping a certain goal!
A nervy few minutes as Bruno appeared to roll his ankle, but after hobbling around, he seemed to be running it off, much to the relief of fans.
Newcastle beginning to dominate possession as the half continued, with more half chances, but blocks and other decent defending keeping the score at 0-0.
Issa Diop surely Fulham’s player of the match in the first half, blocking cross, shot and pass throughout.
Wilson having the first real shot on target just before the 40th minute, spinning past his defender after being put through by Schar, only for Leno to save well. Very strange moment not long after, with the referee seemingly moving a free kick’s location well further back from the incident.
Wilson having the last chance of the half, wonderfully turning his man, only to shoot straight at Leno. That was the story of the first half. Newcastle dominant, only for Fulham to stand firm and deny many goal scoring chances.
After the break, Bruno replaced by ASM, understandable given his ankle struggles, Joelinton slotting back into midfield.
The Frenchman straight into the thick of it, setting up for Longstaff to blaze a shot over. One way traffic again, with Wilson heading wide from a corner after 50 minutes.
Newcastle though tested defensively shortly afterwards from a succession of Fulham set-pieces, but holding firm.
Good chance for Newcastle on the hour mark, as Joelinton nudged the ball past Ream and won a free kick on the edge of the box. So close from Schar as he hit the post, with Diop blocking the rebound shot from Almiron, then Wilson heading wide again from the resulting corner.
Very dangerous moment after Pereira seemed to go down in the box under contact from Dan Burn, nothing given though, with Almiron leading a counter attack and gaining another corner from the resulting counter. However, following a VAR check on a less likely looking foul on Decordova-Reid, a penalty was given.
Mitrovic scored, then pandemonium as replays proved that kicked the ball off his standing foot, leading to a free-kick to Newcastle- absolutely crazy scenes at St James’ Park!
Isak coming on in the midst of the the madness, Newcastle still pushing for a winner.
ASM shooting agonisingly wide in the 75th minute.
Then finally, after almost 90 minutes of hammering on the door, a great cross from Longstaff led to a Wilson header blocked at the back post by Diop, Wilson reacting quickest to lift the ball across the six yard box for Isak to nod home!
Fulham throwing the kitchen sink in the last few minutes, desperate for an equaliser, but to no avail.
Here are my three key points that I am taking from the game:
Chances a positive, Conversions not so much
It’s becoming a common occurrence, we create a lot of chances, but convert a frustratingly small number of the- luckily we didn’t pay for it this time. Much like the quarter final in the cup- we could and arguably should have been up by 3 or 4 goals by half time. Hopefully the continuing return of ASM and Isak can add to more clinical finishing, and a few more finishing sessions in training please!
Isak the difference maker?
With Wilson struggling to finish throughout the match and Wood seemingly a stop gap option only.
Aanother striker was certainly needed.
Up steps Alexander Isak.
He has had to be patient due to injury, following a promising start upon signing.
However, he really added another option when he came on today and made the crucial difference.
I hope to see both he and Wilson play together more frequently, going forward.
Bruno hobbling off was another spotlight shone on the lack of depth in the squad.
Hopefully, with a couple weeks of the transfer window still to come, a few reinforcements can be found to bulk up the numbers and add some extra quality, as further important games loom ever closer…
Stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 1 Fulham 0 – Sunday 15 January 2pm
(Half-time stats in brackets)
Possession was Fulham 37% (43%) Newcastle 63% (57%)
Total shots were Fulham 5 (2) Newcastle 20 (11)
Shots on target were Fulham 0 (0) Newcastle 5 (4)
Corners were Fulham 5 (2) Newcastle 10 (7)
Referee: Robert Jones
Pope, Trippier, Schar, Botman, Burn, Bruno (Saint-Maximin 45), Longstaff, Willock (Isak 71), Almiron (Murphy 85), Joelinton, Wilson (Wood 90+6)
Dubravka, Lascelles, Ritchie, Manquillo, Lewis
(Top four breakaway is now definitely on – Just look at Sunday night Premier League table and upcoming games – Read HERE)
(Bruno Guimaraes injury – Newcastle United official update – Read HERE)
(Marco Silva embarrasses himself as blames match officials for Newcastle 1 Fulham 0 – Read HERE)
(Bruno Guimaraes leaves St James’ Park on crutches with protective boot – Posts personal message to Newcastle fans – Read HERE)
(Newcastle 1 Fulham 0 – The instant NUFC fan / writer reaction – Read HERE)
(Newcastle 1 Fulham 0 : First time seen this happen at St James’ Park – Absolutely remarkable win – Read HERE)
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