Fulham 5-2 Newcastle United – Match Review

It was a game of two halves at Craven Cottage as Fulham completed a remarkable turnaround scoring five goals after the break to beat Newcastle who were cruising before half time.

Alan Pardew’s men were well on top in the first forty five after Danny Guthrie’s blistering strike gave them the lead for the Cottagers to come out all guns blazing in the second half to inflict the visitors’ first defeat of 2012. Danny Murphy scored a controversial penalty seven minutes after the restart before Dempsey bundled home a second just before the hour. The American then struck twice more either side of a Bobby Zamora spot kick to complete his hat trick and leave the Magpies, who saw Hatem Ben Arfa score a late consolation, shell shocked. Newcastle’s astonishing collapse after the break meant their bright week ended on a sour note following the signing the clubs new number nine Papiss Cisse whilst Martin Jol will be thrilled by his side’s performance after they were dominated in the first half.

Two wins in a row had lifted the spirits on Tyneside following a difficult christmas and they were by far the better team in the opening exchanges with Yohan Cabaye firing an early warning to the Fulham defence with a crisply struck effort in the first minute. Captain Fabricio Coloccini should have put Newcastle ahead soon after but could only stab the ball straight at David Stockdale after waltzing into the penalty area to been Mike Williamson’s cross. With the hosts penned back into their own half Pardew’s men continued to press and deservedly took the lead two minutes before half time with Guthrie fizzing the ball into the top corner from 20-yards after being fed by Ben Arfa who had dispossessed Bryan Ruiz seconds earlier. However they were lucky to still have 11 men on the field just before the break as David Santon hauled substitute Andy Johnson down as he bore down on goal with referee Lee Mason brandishing a yellow card in his direction.

Whatever Jol said in the dressing room had an immediate effect although Fulham’s equaliser was a tad fortuitous as Damien Duff went tumbling in the area under the challenge of the hapless Santon although the Italian will feel hard done by with replays showing the initial contact took place outside. Murphy took no prisoners though sending Krul the wrong way from 12-yards to ignite the Cottagers’ comeback and they took the lead on 59 minutes with Dempsey putting the finishing touches to a pacey counter attack for his first of the day after Bobby Zamora’s initial effort was saved. The duo combined again six minutes later as the American slid the ball past Krul before Zamora lashing the ball in from the spot after Johnson had been brought down by Krul. Still, Newcastle valiantly poured forward in search of a consolation and they receded the arrears with five minutes remaining as Ben Arfa did brilliantly to beat John Arne Riiser and fire past David Stockdale at his near post. But it was the home side who would have the last laugh as Dempsey beat the offside trap to beat Krul and complete his hat trick.