Boyhood Newcastle fan Lee Clark came back to haunt his former employers as the midfielder capped an impressive Fulham comeback to seal three pressure points in Chris Coleman’s first game in charge.

Former Fulham captain Coleman, handed the managerial reigns until the end of the season after Mohamed Al-Fayed sacked Jean Tigana, handed Clark a first start in three and a half months against the side he grew up supporting. It looked like being a long day for the Premiership strugglers after Alan Shearer had headed the visitors in front from Hugo Viana’s first half corner, but Fulham never stopped fighting. Sylvain Legwinski brought them level with a 30-yarder that crashed in off the far post and Clark completed the turnaround by firing past Shay Given from 20 yards to seal victory with four minutes to play.

Coleman’s plans for his first taste of management were thrown into disarray after only seventeen minutes when Louis Saha was forced off with a rib injury. Without the Frenchman to lead the line, Fulham looked a little toothless – however energetic and adventurous they had started. Saha’s replacement, young striker Elvis Hammond, had their best chance but saw his header athletically saved by Given in the Newcastle goal.

Shearer punished some poor marking to bullet a header past Maik Taylor six minutes before half time – meaning the former England skipper has now scored against every Premiership side except Birmingham City. The visitors looked confident at this stage, with Kieron Dyer dictating the play from the middle of the park. But Fulham, fired up by Coleman’s passionate half time team talk, continued to ask questions of the Geordie defence after the interval.

Sean Davis sent a half volley just over the bar from the edge of the area and Hammond threatened again with another effort. The Cottagers were given even greater hope when Andy Griffin was shown a second yellow card for fouling Luis Boa Morte and Fulham’s patient, possession football was ultimately rewarded in the final quarter of an absorbing contest at Loftus Road. There looked to be little danger as Legwinski found space, 30 yards out, on the right flank but the Frenchman produced a terrific effort that flew in of the far post to bring Fulham level.

After that, there looked like being only one winner. Clark, back in the side after an injury-hit campaign that saw him often overlooked by Tigana, delivered a brilliant finish of his own with four minutes to play. The midfielder’s crisp right footed strike left Given grasping at thin air and secured a precious three points for Fulham and their charismatic new manager. Coleman insists that he isn’t interested in the job on a permanent basis – but he’s already lifted the gloom around a club that looked like they might be sleepwalking to relegation a week ago.

FULHAM (4-5-1): Taylor; Finnan, Harley, Melville, Djetou; Davis, Legwinski, Clark, Malbranque (Hayles 79), Boa Morte (Collins 90); Saha (Hammond 17). Subs (not used): Herrera, Knight.

BOOKED: Finnan.

GOALS: Legwinski (69), Clark (86).

NEWCASTLE UNITED (4-4-2): Given, Griffin, O’Brien, Woodgate, Bernard, Solano (Caldwell 65), Hughes, Dyer, Viana (Ameobi 84), Shearer, Bellamy. Subs (not used): Harper, Acuna, LuaLua.

BOOKED: Griffin.

SENT OFF: Griffin.

REFEREE: Dermot Gallagher (Oxfordshire).