Barton spot-kick snatches win
Joey Barton's injury-time penalty ensured Newcastle came away from Craven Cottage with three points.
Last Updated: 15/12/07 7:35pm
Joey Barton's injury-time penalty ensured Newcastle United came away from Craven Cottage with three points.
In a game bereft of quality, the match looked to be heading for a 0-0 stalemate; however Barton struck with seconds remaining to snatch a late win.
Lawrie Sanchez's Fulham have now gone five Premier League outings without a victory, while The Magpies climb a place to 10th in the table.
Both sides lacked rhythm in their play, and without incisive passing, chances were few and far between.
The opening 15 minutes did see two decent opportunities, the first of which fell to Habib Beye who headed into the side-netting.
Fulham then went up the other end and David Healy drew an acrobatic save from Shay Given.
The second half barely improved on what was a drab first period, but when Elliot Omozusi clumsily felled Alan Smith in the box, Barton made no mistake and drilled past Antti Niemi.
The first 45 minutes were desperately poor and gave little indication of the drama that was to come.
Newcastle forced a flurry of early corners, all delivered by skipper Geremi,and one saw Barton lose his marker right in front of goal only to fail to make the crucial connection.
Barton's second attempt, on the quarter hour mark, was much better as he did everything to meet Milner's back post delivery from the left. His header had power and was directed downwards but home goalkeeper Antti Niemi had anticipated and dived low to his left to save.
Fulham's finest first-half moment had already come and gone by then, with the recalled Healy seeing a snap-shot from the edge of the box pawed round a post by Given.
Hameur Bouazza was the man most likely to make things happen and within seconds of the restart had beaten two opponents and fired in an excellent cross. But despite his best efforts Dempsey was unable to get the touch needed to turn it goalwards.
Healy was alert to get to a hopeful head forwards before any of the Newcastle defence but his first-time effort from outside the box was straight at Given.
Newcastle made a change just before the hour mark when Geremi was taken off in favour of Emre.
SaveThe Turk almost broke the deadlock after Healy had clumsily felled him with a free-kick that found the head of Nicky Butt, who had managed to get goal side of his marker. Again the header was good but Niemi's positioning was faultless and he made the save.
Clint Dempsey was only just too high with a header from a corner at the other end and with 15 minutes left on the clock Sanchez threw on target man Shefki Kuqi in place of Steven Davis.
Newcastle defender David Rozehnal got on the end of Milner's free-kick after Mark Viduka had replaced the disappointing Obafemi Martins.
But the Czech's connection from almost in front of the far post was neither a shot nor a pass to set up Viduka and pretty much summed up the game.
There was a late scare for the visitors when Bouazza robbed Habib Beye but the recalled Claudio Cacapa bravely headed behind as Kuqi thundered in to meet the cross.
Barton forced another save from Niemi before finally beating the Finn from the spot to settle a disappointing contest.
|Fulham||Team Statistics||Newcastle United|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|3||Shots on Target||5|
|9||Shots off Target||2|