A sensational double from teenage starlet Ryan Sessegnon helped Fulham stun Championship leaders Newcastle and keep up their own promotion push as the Whites won 3-1 at St. James’ Park this afternoon.
Sixteen year-old Sessegnon stole the show from the left wing with two superbly-taken second half strikes. He clinically drove home a clever Sone Aluko backheel and then rifled majestically into the bottom corner after being teed up again by Aluko. Sessegnon might even had capped his day with a hat-trick had he been allowed to take a stoppage time penalty after Paul Dummett had felled him in the box, but Tim Ream screwed the spot-kick wide. Fulham captain Tom Cairney – a persistent transfer target for Newcastle – had given the Londoners’ the lead with a majestic curler after being found in space 25 yards out by Scott Malone.
Slavisa Jokanovic’s side seem to be coming into form at just the right time. Fulham have won five of their last seven league fixtures and are two points behind Sheffield Wednesday, with currently occupy the final play-off position, with a game in hand. The visitors were totally dominant here, making Rafa Benitez’s first anniversary in charge of Newcastle one to forget. Cairney set the tone with his splendid long-range strike – following hot on the heels of his dramatic equaliser against Leeds at Craven Cottage earlier this week – but it was Sessegnon who stole the headlines.
The grounded sixteen year=-old has been a revelation since Jokanovic promoted him from Fulham’s youth team set-up in the summer and he showed both pace and predatory instincts to ensure that his side’s complete control of his contest was accurately reflected in the scoreline. He punished a poor clearance from Ciaran Clark by firing home after Aluko’s backheel had created in space in the penalty and effectively finished the contest with an emphatic finish after a flowing Fulham break.
Daryl Murphy did reduce Newcastle’s arrears with fourteen minutes to go after turning smartly on the edge of the box, but this was Fulham’s day. Sessegnon has fired a warning to the rest of the Championship – Jokanovic’s stylish side are coming.
NEWCASTLE UNITED (4-1-4-1): Darlow, Anita, Lascelles, Clark (Gamez 64), Dummett, Atsu, Colback, Shelvey, Ritchie, Diame (Murphy, 61), Gayle (Gouffran, 74). Subs (not used): Hanley, Perez, Elliot, Mitrovic.
BOOKED: Atsu, Clark, Shelvey, Dummett.
GOAL: Murphy (74).
FULHAM (4-2-3-1): Button; Odoi, Malone, Kalas, Ream; McDonald, Johansen (Parker 90); Kebano (Fredericks 84), R. Sessegnon, Cairney; Aluko. Subs (not used): Bettinelli, Sigurdsson, Madl, Martin, Cyriac.
BOOKED: McDonald, Malone.
GOALS: Cairney (15), R. Sessegnon (51, 59).
REFEREE: James Linington (Newport).