Rodallega’s winner gives Fulham victory

Fulham 2 Newcastle 1

Hugo Rodallega’s 63rd-minute goal gave Fulham their first win in eight matches.

After Steve Sidwell’s deflected shot gave Martin Jol’s side a 19th-minute lead, Hatem Ben Arfa embarrassed Mark Schwarzer by equalising with a long-range effort early in the second half.

But Rodallega’s header from Damien Duff’s right-wing free-kick ended Fulham’s worrying recent run.

Duff, playing against his former club, also set up the opening goal.

He pulled the ball back for Sidwell, whose shot ended up in the net after striking first Newcastle defender Mike Williamson and then the underside of the bar.

After three matches without a goal and nearly two months without a victory, the breakthrough was a much needed boost for Fulham – as was skipper Brede Hangeland’s return from suspension.

They should have been two ahead soon afterwards, when Dimitar Berbatov dodged Fabricio Coloccini to leave himself one-on-one with Tim Krul only to shoot straight at the Magpies keeper.

Berbatov again fired straight at Krul eight minutes later, this time from point-blank range, before Newcastle came close to equalising when Coloccini’s header was cleared off the line by Sascha Riether.

And Riether produced another goal-line block just before the break, denying Demba Ba at the far post after Fulham had failed to clear a corner.

Newcastle continued to press after the restart and were hauled level by Ben Arfa’s strike – a surprise attempt from near the right-hand edge of the penalty area.

It deceived keeper Schwarzer, who anticipated a cross and also wasn’t helped by a deflection off Whites full-back John Arne Riise.

Undeterred, Fulham regained the lead and then rode their luck when Coloccini’s curler from the edge of the box hit the bar.

Fulham (4-4-2): Schwarzer; Riether, Hughes, Hangeland, Riise; Duff, Baird, Sidwell, Kacaniklic (Dejagah 62); Rodallega (Petric 86), Berbatov.
Subs: Etheridge, Senderos, Karagounis, Richardson, Diarra.




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