Thursday, September 05, 2013


Newcastle Utd 1 – 0 Fulham 

Finally, after what has felt like an eternity, we have a goal at home to celebrate. What a goal, too, as HBA cut inside onto his favoured left foot and smashed a shot into the Gallowgate goal to send the crowd into raptures and give us the win which our second-half performance deserved. As the player himself said afterwards when describing his strike, “Ooof”. 

The game itself saw us retain the same XI who had secured the goalless draw against West Ham the week before, with the only changes being on the bench where summer signing Loic Remy and Dreamboat were both available after their injury and temptation troubles had begun to clear. 

Unfortunately, the same failings which had seen us struggle to create much in the way of chances or inject sufficient urgency in our play against West Ham also continued with little for either set of fans to get excited about in the first half. The closest we came to a goal was Sideshow Bob’s goal-bound header from a corner, which unfortunately struck the foot of Papiss Cisse and rebounded to safety. 

Thankfully, unlike last season, we emerged in the second period as a team with a greater intent and slowly started to press the visitors back down the hill towards their Gallowgate goal. With Fulham’s twin strikeforce of Darren Bent and reported boyhood Toon fan Dimitar Berbatov both enduring off-days, the Cottagers looked toothless. By contrast, we started to look like a side at least capable of creating chances, with HBA in particular enjoying skinning John Arne Riise at every opportunity, even if his end product was decidedly mixed. 

Shola missed one decent opportunity and Cisse later hammered a header against the bar, and, with the clock ticking, the Silver Fox turned to the bench, bringing on both Remy and Dreamboat (for Sylvain Marveaux and Vurnon Anita) in a bid to get the goal. While the former was warmly welcomed, the latter endured a decidedly mixed reaction, with a combination of cheers and boos letting the Frenchman know exactly what the crowd thought of his attempts to agitate a move to Arsenal. 

Despite conceding a dangerously located free-kick as his first meaningful action, Dreamboat settled into midfield and started to show the passing and drive which we have lacked thus far, almost scoring a goal in the dying seconds. Remy too showed electric pace and drive down the left, which seemed to pick us up a gear. Further chances came and went, with Goofy (on for Big Lad) guilty of missing from a couple of yards out, before HBA took matters into his own hands to get our first league win of the season and leapfrog us halfway up the table. 

On the plus side, another clean sheet (even against a toothless Fulham side) is never to be sniffed at. Similarly, the prospect of Remy and Cabaye coming into the side definitely increases our attacking threat. 

By contrast, Cisse continues to labour in need of a goal as does his fellow Francophone Goofy. It’s going to be a long slog to January unless one of them (or Big Lad) doesn’t suddenly start banging some goals in. 

Other reports:  BBC, Guardian

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