A Tale Of Two Halves – Fulham 5, Newcastle United 2

Posted on January 21st, 2012 | 37 Comments |

Fulham v Newcastle United.
Calamity At The Cottage!
Venue: Craven Cottage, London.
Date: Sat 21st Jan, 2011.
Kick-Off: 3:00 pm.
Referee: Lee Mason (Lancs).

If ever you want to see a textbook example of “a game of two halves”, get the DVD of this game. though personally, it’s a video horror show I’ll be steering clear of.

United went into this game sitting in sixth place on merit, and with a chance of leapfrogging Arsenal and moving into fifth. It was a nice sunny day down in London, the pitch looked in good condition and there was black and white in evidence everywhere – even down to Newcastle’s all black strip contrasting with Fulham in all white. What could possibly go wrong?

First Half

The opening pattern of the game was one we’ve become accustomed to this season, a scrappy first 15 mins with Newcastle gradually settling into our possession and passing game. A foul by Ben Arfa on Hangeland after 7 minutes was also a good sign that our latest right winger was going to put his foot in. Best optimistically put a ball through for Ameobi on 8 minutes expecting him to run after it – you’d think he’d know by now. The first bit of real excitement came with a Senderos mistake after 11 minutes when he almost put the ball into his own net. United were starting to exert some good pressure now and were definitely looking the more likely team to score. Ben Arfa hit a good left-foot shot from outside the area which the keeper just got to, diving to his left.

As ever, it was the Newcastle fans making all of the noise, a fact that was commented on by the ESPN commentators I was watching. After 20 minutes a good cross from Jonas saw Ameobi rise above his defender at the far post, but he headed wide. Sidwell was yellow-carded after 25 mins and shortly afterwards Senderos again looked shaky as he headed the ball in front of goal taking it away from his keeper who had it covered.

United were starting to win the midfield battle as Fulham looked decidedly subdued. Our organisation looked better and we were playing most of the game in Fulham’s half. Zamora, playing up front on his own for Fulham could have gone for a pint and no-one would have noticed as he’d seen so little of the ball. Ex-United player Damien Duff also wasn’t seeing much of the ball, but on the odd occasion he did, the visiting fans were “saying hello”.

Santon won a corner on the left which was taken short by Cabaye, it was worked through to Coloccini in the area who fired straight at the keeper. After 36 minutes Sidwell was taken off with a dead leg and Andrew Johnson came on. The immediate impact of this was that United’s dominance of the midfield got even stronger, and Fulham were starting to look for half-time. On 40 minutes Ameobi ran at the Fulham defence and hit a good low shot which was curling away from the keeper, who diving to his left just managed to get a hand on it and turn it away for a corner.

Two minutes later and Newcastle deservedly went a goal up with a Danny Guthrie left foot screamer from just outside the semi-circle. What a goal! Apparently his first since March 2010 according to ESPN but well worth the wait! Fulham 0 Newcastle United 1

Just before half time, Santon tangled twice with Johnson just inside the United half. The Fulham fans were shouting for a red card and claiming Johnson would have been clean through on goal but the referee decided it was far enough away from goal to merit only a yellow.

Second Half

At the beginning of the second half, Fulham replaced Ruiz with Baird, who took up a defensive position to protect the back four. Ruiz had been poor and was at least partly responsible for Guthrie’s goal towards the end of the first half, good as it was. Fulham had now changed to a 4-4-2 with Johnson pushed up front alongside Zamora. This was to prove the decisive change of the game.

On 50 minutes Santon was again involved in some controversy, pushing Duff over just outside the United area. The referee saw the incident differently however and awarded a penalty. Murphy sent Krul left then put the ball right. Fulham 1 Newcastle United 1

Three minutes later Best hit a long-range shot hoping for some assistance from the wind, but it flew to the left of the Fulham goal. In contrast with the first half, Fulham were getting much more possession and beginning to look dangerous. On 54 minutes a good through ball by Simpson saw Ameobi “arriving late”.

After 54 minutes Fulham got their first corner of the game. Initially there was a great save by Krul and Baird put it over the bar.

The Fulham crowd had finally woken up by now and their team were starting to carve out a few chances. On 58 minutes they went further ahead when Johnson ran through the middle of midfield and played it to Zamora on the right. Zamora’s shot was saved by Krul but Dempsey was on hand to fire home. Fulham 2 Newcastle United 1

On 62 minutes Guthrie received a yellow card for a tackle on Dempsey. Simpson was also booked for arguing about it. Two minutes later and things went from bad to worse. A long ball to Johnson, who knocked it down for Zamora who put Dempsey through to score. Fulham 3 Newcastle United 1

Coloccini won the ball in the Fulham half and burst through to fire a long shot which just went over the bar. Then the worst happened as Fulham scored again. A bad kick out by Krul went straight to Johnson who ran into the area and was brought down by the United keeper. The good news, if you can call it that, was that Krul only received a yellow card. The bad news was that Zamora fired the resultant penalty straight into the net. Fulham 4 Newcastle United 1

Newcastle did get the ball into the net on 72 minutes but Ameobi was offside. On 75 minutes Guthrie was replaced by Perch, for some reason I haven’t figured out yet. Was Pardew trying to keep the score down perhaps? Seven minutes later Cabaye was spared any more exertion in what was clearly a lost cause and was replaced by Gosling.

United pulled one back on 84 minutes when Ben Arfa skipped past Riise befor scoring inside the nearside post. Fulham 4 Newcastle United 2

Alan Pardew decided it was time to pull off Leon Best and send on Ryan Taylor. Unfortunately Fulham weren’t finished yet. Dempsey was found by a long ball from Zamora and hit a right-foot shot past Krul from just inside the area to finish off a memorable hat-trick, memorable for him at least. Dempsey was taken off on 90 minutes to allow the Fulham crowd to show their appreciation for his efforts. Frei came on as his replacement.

A day best forgotten. But it does leave a lingering question about our defence, and whether we can continue to pick up points whilst our defensive midfielder, our scoring machine and his best pal are in africa (potentially until late in February).

Teams / Stats

Fulham (4-5-1): David Stockdale; Stephen Kelly, Brede Hangeland, Philippe Senderos, John Arne Riise; Steve Sidwell (Andy Johnson 37), Danny Murphy (c), Clint Dempsey (Kerim Frei 90+1); Damien Duff, Bobby Zamora, Bryan Ruiz (Chris Baird half time).

Substitutes: Neil Etheridge, Matthew Briggs, Chris Baird, Aaron Hughes, Kerim Frei, Marcel Gecov, Andrew Johnson

Newcastle United (4-4-2): Tim Krul (G), Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini (C), Davide Santon; Hatem Ben Arfa, Yohan Cabaye (Dan Gosling 84), Danny Guthrie (James Perch 76), Jonas Gutierrez, Leon Best (Ryan Taylor 87), Shola Ameobi.

Substitutes: Rob Elliot (G), Shane Ferguson, James Perch, Ryan Taylor, Dan Gosling, Gabriel Obertan, Peter Lovenkrands.

Goals: Danny Guthrie (43), Danny Murphy (52), Clint Dempsey (59, 65, 89), Bobby Zamora (Pen, 68), Hatem Ben Arfa (85).

Yellow Cards: Steve Sidwell, Davide Santon, Danny Guthrie, Tim Krul, Danny Simpson.

Red Cards: None.

Match highlights and post match interviews.

NUFCBlog Author: UTD111 UTD111 has written 59 articles on this blog.

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37 Responses

  1. Missed opportunity with Chelsea only getting a point and Bindippers losing. Very dissapointing but gotta look at the next game.

  2. blooming heck – still 6th after being thrashed ! That was a winnable game – thank gowd there’s 14 rubbish teams below us.

  3. well at least we’ve made them happy in Texas “Texas native becomes first American with hat trick in EPL Houston Chronicle”

  4. Pardew got his tactics wrong again….cannot keep winning games on wonder goals Eg Q P R…Blackburn..Man Scum. Against Liverpool West Brom Swansea we were out done by his game plan in them as well…Just give a 4 4 2 man !!!!

  5. after sleeping on the result(bloody nightmares) and time to cool off newcastle was unlucky if the penalty wasn’t given it could of been a completely different story. santon’s first bad game and can only improve as he gets used to the English game. still 6th so can be happy with that and smash blackburn next week ;)

  6. nufc337 says:
    January 22, 2012 at 12:41 am

    “after sleeping on the result(bloody nightmares) and time to cool off newcastle was unlucky if the penalty wasn’t given it could of been a completely different story”

    Aye, Santon and possibly Krul could have been sent off nufc337. Our central defence was awful, that’s why we let five goals in, but people will probably try to blame it all on Ameobi again for some reason.

  7. Had bad feeling all week about this 1 they seem to be a bogey team for us.Trust us to hit Dempsey on form good game he had,but i aint ganna let the result spoil me buzz on signing cisse :)

  8. Second half horror show best forgotten.
    Our only consolation being that of Megabicks Liverfool losing.
    Fifth would’ve been nice though this can also serve as good ‘reality check’ for Ashley.
    Get ya purse out and quick!

  9. I’m putting this down as a freak result, best forgotten as Cloggybob says.

    Looking at the games over this season, there has been little or nothing that has gone on before to suggest that this result was normal. Our first half performance was more indicative of our play this season. Perhaps they had Tenerife on their minds in the second half.

    Of the good points, I liked the way that Jonas and Ben Arfa interlinked with each other. I thought Jonas looked good playing in the middle.

    That is three goals now for Ben Arfa, two more than Shola and one less than Best which arguably shows that at least one of our two strikers doesn’t deserve to start a game. I wish Pardew would give Vuckic a few games especially now that Ba and Cisse are away. He is a great talent and has an eye for goal.

    Let’s hope the lads have a good break in the sun as they deserve it on their performances this season.

  10. worky – “people will probably try to blame it all on Ameobi again for some reason” – if Shola did little wrong then he did little right, in fact he contributes little to the team. It’s not his fault – it’s the manager’s (in fact a long line of managers) fault for picking him.
    He is not a top-half of PL player.
    As a very limited player myself I would not keep failing at a level above my ability, I would find a club where I could succeed, enjoy my game and gain the respect of fellow players & supporters.
    Football has always had well loved and fondly remembered “local heroes” – Shola still has time and the ability to be one with a decent Championship club.
    If he stays with us he will not get any better, only slower & less popular. Clubs should have a duty to their staff to watch this closely and think of theire welfare.
    Money isn’t everything!

  11. Supermac, I agree, but Shola will not be able to pass a medical anywhere. I think it was Ipswich who tried to sign him when fat Sam took charge and he failed one. Stoke also had him on loan in the Championship, and they opted against it.

    He will end his career here, but that’s not his fault. He should not start for us, simple really.

    Shearer said Ameobi’s problem is he switches off, he’s got zero concentration. His movement is poor, and he is so unfit it is laughable. He was drenched in sweat after 30 minutes!

    But we lost yesterday because of poor tactics, and Pardew and the defence being outsmarted by a team playing long, direct football. Our defensive line should have sat deeper, as Williamson and Colo have very little pace, but the manager didn’t want to alter anything, he needs to bite the bullet at times and concede that he’s got it wrong.

    Saying that, we’ve been brilliant this year, and I expect this to be a one off. Though there have been games this year when we’ve been very fortunate to not be several goals down (QPR)… We can’t win them all though…

  12. we need a quality centre back and a right winger to sign this window. i would like to see vukic get a chance up front im sure he would be a better bet than shola for goals, which is what we need until the africans get back.

  13. Jimbob says “We can’t win them all though” no mate, and neither can anyone else this year – which helps us maintain an impressive 6th place.
    I think we must forget the score and simply accept that we got beat away – big deal, so did Liverpool, but Stoke got beat at home and Norwich drew at home – so all in all not a bad weekend compared to our rivals in the 6th-8th positions !
    We actualy remain on course for a successful season.

    Did Shola go on loan to Forest a couple of seasons back?


  14. i wonder what pardew said to them at half time?
    from the moment the second half kicked off, we went from a team playing good football, to a team hoofing it up to amoebi and best.

    why can’t pardew see that hoofing the ball up to those two, is a waste of time.
    shola must have photos of mike ashley sh***ing a roulette wheel, for him to constantly get starts.
    what was witnessed in the second half, was the biggest collapse, since fred dibnah was blowing chimneys up.
    the defence had more holes in it, than jodie marsh’s knickers, and that would take some equalling.

  15. I don’t think he went to Forest Supermac, just Stoke on loan from what I remember, and he was crap…

  16. See Kieron Dyer and Jermaine Jenas on Goals on Sunday… Two players who thought the grass was greener and achieved nothing in their careers. What a massive let down Jenas turned out to be, thought he’d be in the England set up for years and years.

    I won’t even begin to explain what’s wrong with Dyer…

  17. I think we went into this game elated by our coup of Cisse. As a result, we we were not focussed enough on this match. The first half, due to Fulham’s pathetic performance, lulled us into an even sweeter sense of security, only for this to be ripped from under us once they got two quick goals. We never recovered.

  18. TROJAN RECORDS 73 says:
    January 22, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    “i wonder what pardew said to them at half time?
    from the moment the second half kicked off, we went from a team playing good football, to a team hoofing it up to amoebi and best.”

    Personally Trojan, I think it was more a question of what Jol said and did at half time. Fulham were poor in the first half, their 4-3-3 wasn’t working and Ruiz was a bit of a liability when Jol moved him to the middle. Good though Guthrie’s goal was, it was a clanger from Ruiz which led to it. If we were really so good in the first half, perhaps we should have filled our boots and scored more goals like they did in the second?

    Fulham are something of a Curate’s egg at the moment while Jol is settling in and working things out for the long term. I used to say similar things about Hughton at Newcastle with our somewhat erratic results sometimes but many people didn’t seem to get it.

    They were always going to be much better in the second half after Jol had finished with them and we weren’t prepared for that. Captain Colo and Iron Mike had absolute stinkers in that half, but of course, quite a few of the fans who don’t know what time it is will blame the fact that we let five goals in on Ameobi for some bizarre reason.

  19. Perch was brought on to keep Guthrie from getting sent off and suspended for a game where we won’t have Tiote. The match was over at that point. One decision from AP I agree with, even if it did involve Perch.

    The squad doesn’t worry me. It is what it is: under-strength, and also the same squad that dominated the first half but couldn’t score.

    What does worry me is how obtuse AP seems to be about attacking tactics.

    Worky-we didn’t lose because of Ameobi, but he did have something to do with 0 goals from 60%+ possession in the first half. Anyone else think we’d have been 3-0 up with Ba & Cisse? Also, on the topic: Dempsey now has one more goal than Shola in the PL, despite being played almost exclusively as a midfielder and playing six fewer seasons. The local hero thing is very questionable for me: when we were in dire straights and could have used the cash, he blew up his sale to Stoke with his wage demands.

    I have to deal with headlines over here of: First American Hattrick in EPL!!1!

    And I have to watch Balotelli stomp on Parker’s head and then go on and win the match?!

    Not a good day.

  20. I’d like to know what AP said at half too. Did nobody say: hey, Colo-that guy Johnson out there, he’s fast. You can’t let him stay behind one of you two, as you’ll never catch him. You can’t play him the same as you’ve played Zamora. See what he did to Santon?

    Did nobody say this? Or did Colo & Williamson just ignore it? Was Guthrie not put on alert to cover? If they really did switch off that completely, how about a sub earlier in the second half to grab their attention?

    Also, to me it really is remarkably obtuse that AP looks at his squad, says to himself: the attack should be all about Shola & Best…how can I use HBA? I know, stick him out wide to get crosses into Bestie & Fenham Pele? WTF?

  21. tunyc says:
    January 22, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    “I have to deal with headlines over here of: First American Hattrick in EPL!!1!”

    I also beleive that he’s the highest scoring Sherman in the Premier League ever too tunyc?

  22. Aye, he is. He overtook Brian McBride according to Motty on “Match of the Day”

    ps I’ve finally put the longer highlights up for anyone who’s interested.

  23. Worst part is I actually like Dempsey. He’s the best U.S. outfield player in my lifetime, imo.

    Fulham and our national team have squandered his talent in midfield though. Again imo.

  24. Man United winning against Arsenal 2-1 in the 90th minute. At least Arsenal, Liverpool and Stoke got no points like us so we stay where we are thankfully.

  25. tunyc says:
    January 22, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    “Worst part is I actually like Dempsey. He’s the best U.S. outfield player in my lifetime, imo.”

    What’s wrong with that tunyc?

    Phisix says:
    January 22, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    “At least Arsenal, Liverpool and Stoke got no points like us so we stay where we are thankfully.”

    Aye Phisix, but whatever the results from week to week, it usually tends to work itself out over 38 games anyway.

    Sunderland are continuing to catch up with us though which is worrying in the long term. We’ll never hear the end of it if the unthinkable happens and they overtake us.

  26. Watched Man City beat the spuds today – very enjoyable for someone like me who has no time for Totts claims to be a “big club”…

    Redknapps twitch is getting worse….

  27. UTD111 says:
    January 22, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    “Watched Man City beat the spuds today – very enjoyable for someone like me who has no time for Totts claims to be a “big club”…”

    UTD111, I have no time for Man City’s vulgar, human rights abusing owners, their dirty money, and their blatant attempts to cheat UEFA’s “financial fair play” rules with their phony stadium naming rights deal. Oh! and their leg breaking hatchet man too. They’re worse than Dirty ‘Arry anyday! Cahmonyouspursah! :-)

  28. Another 2 pens?
    That didn’t help!

    Took the 2nd half for granted & couldn’t recover.
    2 great goals though.
    Ba woulda had us 2/3 up by half time.


  29. Don’t begrudge dempsey his hat-trick though, it was deserved & he didn’t even take the pens.

  30. It was Norwich who tried to sign Ameobi Jimbob and I think he would do a good job for them I think he has had enough time at the toon and has come up short.Still the derby is just round the corner so maybe he is saving himself for that.One minute he is world class the other 88-89 minutes bloody awful.

  31. worky says- ps I’ve finally put the longer highlights up for anyone who’s interested
    of course I’m interested mate, its just that I havn’t the heart to look!
    anyway, thanks to you & UNT for the blogs, greatly appreciated as always.

  32. wikipedia says – after failing to impress Newcastle manager Sam Allardyce or Kevin Keegan on 27 March 2008, Ameobi agreed a loan deal with Stoke City until the end of the season, to help their promotion campaign. It is understood that a loan fee of around £500K was agreed and that a possible permanent transfer was also discussed subject to Stoke winning promotion. Ameobi made his debut for Stoke against Sheffield Wednesday on 29 March, the game ended 1–1. After playing for six games and not managing to score, Ameobi returned to Newcastle, and Stoke decided not to sign him permanently.

    On 14 August, Ipswich Town manager Jim Magilton confirmed that the club were in talks with Ameobi and that the club were keen to get the deal finalised as long as Ameobi was willing to play in the Championship. However, on 17 August, Ameobi failed a medical, showing hamstring problems, and the deal collapsed.

  33. supermac, looks like we’ll never be shot of him.
    the lad should count himself very lucky, to play at this level, for as long as he has.
    it must have something to do with clean cut “goodie-goodie” image.
    he doesn’t drink, do drugs, probably always on time etc, so he’s a managers wet dream to handle.
    that’s the only reason i can see, for him dodging the bullet, as often as he has.