Fulham beaten by Ben Arfa’s late goal

Newcastle 1 Fulham 0

Hatem Ben Arfa struck four minutes from time to deny Fulham a point at St James’ Park.

The Whites defended resolutely – and rode their luck at times – before Ben Arfa cut in from the right and fired into the top corner.

Despite being on the back foot for most of the game, Fulham would have taken the lead had keeper Tim Krul not saved Bryan Ruiz’s second-half free-kick and thwarted Adel Taarabt.

But Newcastle were worthy winners as they went close on several occasions before eventually finding the net.

They came into the match in dismal form, having not only failed to score in their previous three league games, but also managed a total of only one effort on target.

They made a nervous start against a Fulham team which had recent signing Darren Bent alongside Dimitar Berbatov up front, with Taarabt dropping to the bench.

But the Magpies eventually settled and were unfortunate when Fabricio Coloccini’s free header was inadvertently blocked by team-mate Papiss Cisse.

Fulham keeper David Stockdale was then called into action and made a good save to keep out Mathieu Debuchy’s 30-yard strike.

Stockdale also did well to deny Cisse after the striker had squirmed away from Brede Hangeland.

There was more frustration for the hosts early in the second half when Ben Arfa’s attempt was comfortably saved by the impressive Stockdale.

It prompted Newcastle boss Alan Pardew to bring on wantaway playmaker Yohan Cabaye, who was given a mixed reception by the home fans.

Cabaye’s first contribution was to concede the free-kick from which Ruiz’s strike brought a superb stop from Krul.

Pardew then introduced Loic Remy for his first appearance since the striker’s move to Tyneside from QPR.

Newcastle finished strongly and were unlucky not to finally break the deadlock when Cisse hit the bar after being found by Ben Arfa.

Stockdale then made an excellent save from Ben Arfa in a frantic finale, during which an unmarked Yoan Gouffran headed wide from six yards out.

Having done everything but score, Newcastle were almost undone by a mistake by Coloccini at the other end.

Taarabt, on as an 82nd-minute substitute, pounced after the defender slipped but saw his shot saved by Krul.

It proved to be a pivotal moment, because a minute later Ben Arfa netted the winner.

Fulham: Stockdale: Riether (Briggs 73), Hangeland, Hughes, Riise; Kacaniklic, Sidwell (Rodallega 89), Parker, Ruiz; Berbatov, Bent (Taarabt 82).
Subs not used: Karagounis, Duff, Boateng, Etheridge.



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