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Match Report - Fulham 5-2 Newcastle United

Sunday 22nd January 2012
Fulham's American star Clint Dempsey struck a sensational hat-rick to end Newcastle United's run of good form in a stunning 5-2 defeat at Craven Cottage.

Poor defending and lack of quality with big names missing from the starting line up ultimately cost Alan Pardew's men. Although they were slight underdogs going into the game, no one could have predicted that Martin Jol's team would smash five goals past the Geordies.

Pardew finally gave Hatem Ben Arfa a starting place in the front three that also featured Shola Ameobi and Leon Best. The Frenchman was central to many of Newcastle's first half attacks.

Newcastle should have gone ahead when captain Fabricio Coloccini walked into the Fulham area, but only managed to poke his effort strate at keeper David Stockdale. Although all was forgotten moments later when on 43 minutes, Danny Guthrie smashed a long range effort past the helpless Stockdale. Ben Arfa had robbed Bryan Ruiz in the build up and fed Guthrie who's left foot strike delighted the Newcastle faithful.

Alan Pardew must have been confident going into the second half that his team could build on this lead, especially after seeing how poor Fulham were. But on 52 minutes the Cottager's were handed a lifeline when former Magpie Damien Duff was pushed in the area by Davide Santon, which resulted in Danny Murphy firing the resulting penalty past Tim Krul.

Santon was lucky not to receive a red card for the foul. Although the goal seemed to finally ignite the Fulham team and shortly after Bobby Zamora had a shot brilliant saved by Tim Krul before Chris Baird blasted the rebound over the bar.

Newcastle were keen to extend their winning run that had previously seen them beat Manchester United and QPR in the league, and dump Blackburn Rovers out of the F.A Cup. With more and more Toon players pushing forward, inevitable they were caught on the counter attack.

Andy Johnson broke free of the Newcastle defence, he then played in Zamora who was to the left of him. Zamora's shot was saved by Krul but the rebound only fell to Clint Dempsey who opened his account on 59 minutes.

Six minutes later Dempsey had his second of the game. Fulham were on the rampage by now, exposing Newcastle's frailties in defence on every attack. Dempsey was played in by Zamora down the left and he fired low past Tim Krul. Alan Pardew and his Newcastle team could not believe what had hit them in the second half, and it was soon to get worse.

Only three minutes later, Fulham had their fourth of the game thanks to another penalty. Centre-back Mike Williamson could not stop the pace of Andy Johnson's surge in the area, and the former Crystal Palace striker was bought down by Krul, who like Santon was lucky not to see red. Bobby Zamora would have pleased the on looking Fabio Capello, by slamming the ball straight down the middle past Krul.

Frenchman Hatem Ben Arfa offered a life line to Newcastle late on when he cut in from the right and fired a low shot inside of the near post. But it was to little, too late. This result really hinged on the fact that Cheick Tiote, Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse were all away at the African Cup of Nations and Yohan Cabaye was out injured.

The day belonged to Fulham, and their American forward Clint Dempsey who secured his hat-rick in the 89th minute. He outpaced the centre-back pairing of Williamson and Coloccini latching onto a Murphy through ball to fire past Krul. After the game Pardew told the media:

"We were dominate in the first half and perhaps we should have led by more.""But we didn't defend well and that's been the key to our success this year." Alan Pardew has now taken his team on a short training break in Tenerife before flying back later in the week for the F.A Cup clash with Brighton and Hove Albion. The Cup match will be a welcome relief from the strains of the Premier League, and with the draw favouring Newcastle, Pardew will be looking for this team to push on in the competition.
Harry-Jay Bellew

Total articles: 3

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