London - Fulham striker Hugo Rodallega headed the decisive goal to seal a 2-1
win over Newcastle United in an absorbing Premier League match between
struggling teams at Craven Cottage on Monday.
Fulham's first victory in eight games kept them 13th in the standings
after 16 games, three points and one place ahead of Newcastle.
Steve Sidwell put Fulham ahead with a deflected shot after 19 minutes,
their first goal in over five hours of Premier League action.
"That was vital for us," Fulham manager Martin Jol told Sky Sports. "I
was so happy that we could score the first goal because that's been our
problem in the last couple of weeks.
"I felt that we showed some character but I felt we should have finished it off early."
Newcastle, who beat Wigan Athletic last time out to end a run of four
league defeats in a row, equalised through a brilliant dipping 20-metre
strike by midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa which flew into the net off the bar
early in the second half.
Rodallega rose to head home Damien Duff's free kick after 63 minutes
although Newcastle almost levelled again when Fabricio Coloccini's
powerful shot struck the crossbar.
"It's a really soft second goal," Newcastle manager Alan Pardew said.
"Soft defensively on the free kick and you can't do that at this level.
"We had the game by the scruff of the neck at that point. We played some
of the best attacking football of the season but we still come away
with nothing," he added. "In the second half we were terrific, other
than two or three moments."
Manchester United beat champions Manchester City 3-2 in a dramatic derby
on Sunday to open up a six-point lead over their local rivals at the
top approaching the halfway point in the season.