Darren Ambrose, Patrick Kluivert and Shola Ameobi clinched Newcastle’s first win in eight league matches at Fulham tonight to give beleaguered boss Graeme Souness something to smile about.
Under-fire Newcastle boss Graeme Souness was finally given something to cheer as the Magpies clinched their first Barclays Premiership victory in eight matches.
Dreadful Fulham defending allowed the Magpies to ease to a much-needed success with Fulham badly missing the bite of the banned Papa Bouba Diop in midfield. The hosts actually began reasonably well with former Newcastle striker Andy Cole dwelling a little too long on Liam Rosenior’s perceptive pass to get a shot away. Zat Knight nearly got on the end of a Mark Pembridge free-kick, but Fulham were punished for a succession of near misses when the visitors went in front after 18 minutes.
Charles N’Zogbia sped down the left and crossed for James Milner at the far post. The midfielder’s header bounced off Alain Goma and fell kindly for Ambrose in front of goal, who made no mistake from close range. Newcastle nearly went further in front as Milner raced away from Rosenior to cross but Kluivert couldn’t convert with the teasing ball in. Cole almost provided a riposte against his old club but Shay Given sprinted off his line to close down the angle and another former Newcastle man, Lee Clark, headed over from the rebound.
Shola Ameobi might have made it two just before the break but he couldn’t reach Stephen Carr’s threatening cross. The home side were industrious after the interval but couldn’t break down a resolute Newcastle defence. Instead, they were punished for more sloppy marking at a set play as Kluivert easily evaded Volz and Knight to guide home N’Zogbia’s corner.
Newcastle wrapped up the points with a quarter of an hour to go as Ameobi headed in Milner’s corner in acres of space to render Tomasz Radzinski’s well-worked consolation utterly academic.
FULHAM (4-4-2): van der Sar; Volz, Rosenior, Knight, Goma; Pembridge, Clark, Radzinski, Boa Morte; Cole (Jensen 66), McBride. Subs (not used): Crossley, Bocaengra, Pearce, Rehman.
BOOKED: van der Sar.
GOAL: Radzinski (86).
NEWCASTLE UNITED (4-4-2): Given; Carr, Boumsong, Bramble, Taylor; Milner, N’Zogbia, Faye, Ambrose; Ameobi, Kluivert.
Subs (not used): Harper, A. O’Brien, Ramage, Robert, Brittain.
GOALS: Ambrose (18), Kluivert (62), Ameobi (75).
REFEREE: Graham Poll (Hertfordshire).