Fulham made a perfect start to the new Championship campaign, keeping a clean sheet as they beat Newcastle 1-0. Here’s how we rated the Whites players at Craven Cottage.
David Button: 8
Couldn’t have asked for a better debut. Any first-night nerves the ex-Brentford man had would have been dispelled by Newcastle’s lack of first-half threat. He was busier after the break, saving twice from Matt Ritchie and clawing away from Roland Aarons in stoppage time.
Denis Odoi: 8
A hesitant start was symbolised by his clumsy foul on the edge of the box on Ayoze Perez, but after that he was excellent at both ends of the pitch. When he got forward and offered width he gave Newcastle left-back Paul Dummett a tough time.
Tomas Kalas: 8
The Chelsea loanee was strong in the air and made important clearances. A very promising debut from a man who was one of the best centre-backs in the division last season.
Michael Madl: 9
The stand-out player of the first half, he judged his tackles to perfection, snapping at forwards and then playing simple passes into midfield.
Scott Malone: 7
Keen to get forward but his end product was often found wanting, most notably when he screwed a shot wide in the second half. Decent defensively but will need to improve, especially with his hurried clearances. Replaced by Tim Ream late on.
Kevin McDonald: 8
Another to have an excellent first half, when he really imposed himself in the centre of the park. A busy and effective performance.
Ryan Tunnicliffe: 7
Ticked things over in the middle but lacked consistency in his passing and was perhaps fortunate to get away with a handball that Newcastle felt should have led to a penalty.
Tom Cairney: 9
His terrific delivery created the winning goal, he was the team’s creative heartbeat coming in from the right and he barely gave a ball away. His prominence summed up by the fact he had the most touches and was the most-fouled player on the pitch.
Sone Aluko: 8
Very bright in patches with his bursts of pace and energy, linking the midfield and attack well. But he needed to back himself more – when he did get a shot away, he forced Matz Sels into a save.
Floyd Ayite: 8
A constant thorn in Newcastle’s right-hand side, using his pace and trickery to keep Daryl Janmaat busy. However, when he got into good positions, he too often turned into traffic. There is more to come from him, though, you feel.
Matt Smith: 8
Took full advantage of some poor Newcastle marking to send a bullet header past Sels for the winner, capping a display in which his physical approach unsettled the visitors’ defence and created space for the runners around him.
Scott Parker: 7
Came on for Tunnicliffe and was tidy in possession.
Lasse Vigen Christensen: 6
Replaced Smith midway through the second half, dropping in behind the more advanced Aluko, sending a shot over the bar.