Hugo Rodallega’s second half header ensured Fulham got back to winning ways as they beat Newcastle at Craven Cottage.
Seven games had passed since Martin Jol’s men had tasted victory but they ended that winless streak by edging a tight encounter with the Magpies to move seven points clear of the relegation zone.
Its now one win in 10 for Alan Pardew’s men who looked to have turned a corner after beating Wigan at St James Park last Monday but, even with the return of Hatem Ben Arfa to the starting lineup, couldn’t fashion another morale boosting win on the Thames.
And writing was almost certainly on the wall from the outset as the home side started brightly and took a deserved lead in the 19th minute when Steven Sidwell’s shot zipped off Mike Williamson’s outstretched leg and looped in over Tim Krul to end their 317 minute wait for goal.
Krul then did superbly to thwart Dimitar Berbabtov after he seized upon a weak pass from Cheick Tiote and skipped away from Fabricio Coloccini.
Berbatov was denied again by the Holland keeper in the 29th minute before Newcastle started to threaten, Coloccini seeing his header from Ben Arfa’s corner cleared off the line by Sascha Riether with the German full back denying Demba Ba on the stroke of half time.
Whatever Pardew said to his players at the interval seemingly worked and they were level nine minutes after the restart courtesy of a stunning strike from Ben Arfa, who lashed a dipping shot in off the bar from 20-yards that caught Mark Schawarzer off guard.
But, unlike last term, the Tynesiders have looked frail defensively and Fulham were back in front in the 64th minute as Rodallega beat a flat footed Coloccini to Damien Duff’s inswinging free kick to head past Krul.
Coloccini then hit the bar for the away side as they looked to force an equaliser but tame efforts from Ba and substitute Shola Ameobi failed to trouble Schwarzer as the hosts held on.