Newcastle 2 - 1 Fulham
Leon Best scored twice to earn Newcastle an ultimately edgy win over a tired looking Fulham side.
Following a tame first half, Best scored on his first Premier League start of the season after Mark Schwarzer saved Yohan Cabaye's shot.
The striker then doubled the lead when he fired in from Demba Ba's cross.
Clint Dempsey gave Fulham some hope when he headed in Danny Murphy's free-kick but after being relatively comfortable Newcastle hung on.
The hosts will look back on two fine saves by keeper Tim Krul, who stopped headers from Steve Sidwell and Murphy, but Martin Jol's side only really threatened towards the end of the game.
Ba almost crowned his substitute's appearance with a goal when he hit the bar in injury time, but the victory was deserved for Alan Pardew's side as they continued their unbeaten start to the season.
The two sides had only found the net once between them in the Premier League before this encounter and for much of the first half there was a clear lack of cutting edge.
It took until the 44th minute before the first real opening, but Jonas Gutierrez's header was well saved by Schwarzer, and then Best, Cabaye and Ryan Taylor all went close.
LEON BEST FACTS
- Born: 19 September 1986, Nottingham
- Joined Newcastle from Coventry on 1 February 2010
- Has been capped seven times for Republic of Ireland
- Scored a hat-trick on full Premier League debut against West Ham on 5 January 2011
Best's effort was superbly blocked but the former Coventry striker was quick to react to Cabaye's saved shot just after the break to give the hosts the lead.
The goal was relatively simple as Cabaye collected a throw-in midway inside the Fulham half, and when Schwarzer could only nudge his strike onto the bar, Best was ready to tuck in the rebound for his first goal of the season.
That brought an almost immediate response from Fulham, who were encouraged to push further forward by boss Jol, with Sidwell's header tipped onto the bar from Damien Duff's cross.
Duff then impressed with a run and shot which hit the side netting, but Pardew introduced Ba to replace Peter Lovenkrands and the Senegalese striker soon linked with Best to craft an expertly taken second.
Gabriel Obertan, who was one of four players brought back into the side after the narrow Carling Cup win against Scunthorpe, swept the ball to the right and from Ba's cross Best took one touch and arrowed the ball into the corner of the net.
Following a midweek Europa League trip to Ukraine , it left a long way back for Fulham and although Chris Baird smacked a fine long-range shot, Krul was proving an immovable force.
That was further underlined when the Dutch keeper saved from Murphy's close-range header.
But he could do little when Murphy then provided Fulham a lifeline as his free-kick found Dempsey 12 yards out, to register the Cottagers' first Premier League goal of the season.
Without injured striker Bobby Zamora, it was obvious where Fulham were lacking.
Newcastle face a trip to Queens Park Rangers next week - where they could come up against former midfielder Joey Barton - and on this evidence Pardew is proving adept at galvanising a team growing used to losing key players.
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew: "Leon Best scored two again and, fair play to him, every time we play him he seems to score, so he's a good omen for me. We're delighted, three wins in a week is very hard to get in professional football, whatever level of the game you're at."
Fulham boss Martin Jol: "We need to be more aware of the fact that we are a good team but we need to score goals, and we had a couple of the sitters in the second half.
"We have to work on it and try to get bodies in. Fulham have never had a big squad. Nine left the club but four came in. We are working 100% to get some players."
- 26 Krul
- 02 Coloccini
- 05 Simpson Booked
- 16 R Taylor
- 27 S Taylor
- 04 Cabaye
- 18 Gutierrez
- 24 Tiote
- 11 Lovenkrands (Ba - 62' )
- 20 Best (Vuckic - 78' )
- 25 Obertan
- 33 Soderberg
- 17 Smith
- 22 Marveaux
- 29 Vuckic (Smith - 85' Booked )
- 31 Ferguson
- 19 Ba
- 28 Sa Ameobi
- 01 Schwarzer
- 05 Hangeland
- 06 Baird
- 18 Hughes
- 28 Briggs
- 04 Sidwell Booked
- 10 Kasami (Johnson - 73' )
- 13 Murphy
- 16 Duff
- 23 Dempsey
- 30 Dembele
- 38 Etheridge
- 02 Kelly
- 14 Senderos
- 15 Gecov
- 20 Etuhu
- 21 Frei
- 08 Johnson
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The final whistle is blown by the referee.90:00 +4:39
Steve Sidwell takes the direct free kick.90:00 +4:39 Booking
Booking The referee cautions Alan Smith for unsporting behaviour.90:00 +4:27
Foul by Alan Smith on Steve Sidwell, free kick awarded.90:00 +2:57
Corner taken short by Jonas Gutierrez.90:00 +2:37
Demba Ba takes a shot. Blocked by Aaron Hughes.90:00 +2:17
Andrew Johnson sends in a cross, clearance made by Cheik Tiote.90:00 +0:20
Jonas Gutierrez fouled by Moussa Dembele, the ref awards a free kick. Indirect free kick taken by Tim Krul.87:17
The assist for the goal came from Danny Murphy.87:17 Goal scored
Goal! - Clint Dempsey - Newcastle 2 - 1 Fulham Clint Dempsey grabs a headed goal from inside the penalty area. Newcastle 2-1 Fulham.86:58
Danny Murphy takes the free kick.86:58 Booking
Booking Danny Simpson is shown a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.86:50
Danny Simpson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Andrew Johnson.86:01
Clint Dempsey fouled by Ryan Taylor, the ref awards a free kick. Chris Baird restarts play with the free kick.84:56 Substitution
Substitution Alan Smith replaces Haris Vuckic.84:05
Fabricio Coloccini concedes a free kick for a foul on Moussa Dembele. Strike comes in from Clint Dempsey from the free kick.83:52
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Clint Dempsey by Cheik Tiote. Direct free kick taken by Clint Dempsey.83:00
Matthew Briggs takes a shot.81:42
Clint Dempsey fouled by Haris Vuckic, the ref awards a free kick. Direct effort from the free kick comes in from Danny Murphy, Fabricio Coloccini gets a block in.80:35
Gabriel Obertan is ruled offside. Brede Hangeland takes the free kick.
Matthew Briggs fouled by Haris Vuckic, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Matthew Briggs.77:26 Substitution
Substitution Leon Best goes off and Haris Vuckic comes on.76:52
Corner taken left-footed by Damien Duff from the left by-line, Clint Dempsey takes a shot. Yohan Cabaye makes a clearance.76:32
A cross is delivered by Steve Sidwell, Danny Murphy takes a shot. Tim Krul makes a save.75:23
Jonas Gutierrez produces a drilled right-footed shot from 18 yards. Mark Schwarzer makes a save.75:14
Danny Simpson crosses the ball, clearance by Chris Baird.74:26
Clint Dempsey has an effort at goal from the edge of the box that misses to the right of the target.74:09
The ball is delivered by Andrew Johnson, Steven Taylor manages to make a clearance.72:29 Substitution
Substitution Andrew Johnson replaces Pajtim Kasami.71:55
Chris Baird takes a shot from 25 yards. Save by Tim Krul.71:00
Leon Best gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Pajtim Kasami. Danny Murphy restarts play with the free kick.70:46
Unfair challenge on Moussa Dembele by Demba Ba results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Moussa Dembele.69:59
Unfair challenge on Matthew Briggs by Gabriel Obertan results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Mark Schwarzer.68:05
Cheik Tiote gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Clint Dempsey. Free kick crossed right-footed by Danny Murphy from left wing, save made by Tim Krul.67:18
Corner taken by Pajtim Kasami from the left by-line to the near post.65:37
Assist on the goal came from Demba Ba.65:37 Goal scored
Goal! - Leon Best - Newcastle 2 - 0 Fulham A goal is scored by Leon Best from inside the box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Newcastle 2-0 Fulham.64:18
Effort from the edge of the penalty box by Damien Duff goes wide of the right-hand upright.63:25 Booking
Booking The referee books Steve Sidwell for unsporting behaviour.61:45 Substitution
Substitution Demba Ba on for Peter Lovenkrands.61:01
The ball is sent over by Damien Duff, Headed effort on goal by Clint Dempsey from just inside the box goes harmlessly over the goal.59:37
Danny Simpson concedes a free kick for a foul on Matthew Briggs. Brede Hangeland takes the free kick.58:51
Pajtim Kasami sends in a cross.57:34
Corner taken right-footed by Yohan Cabaye from the left by-line to the near post, Aaron Hughes manages to make a clearance.57:15
Danny Simpson produces a cross, Headed effort from deep inside the area by Peter Lovenkrands misses to the left of the goal.56:11
Damien Duff produces a cross, Shot on goal by Clint Dempsey from inside the box goes harmlessly over the target.55:51
Inswinging corner taken by Damien Duff from the right by-line played to the near post, Ryan Taylor manages to make a clearance.55:32
The ball is delivered by Damien Duff, Steve Sidwell takes a shot. Save by Tim Krul.54:51
Damien Duff crosses the ball, Danny Simpson manages to make a clearance.52:35
The referee blows for offside. Tim Krul takes the indirect free kick.52:01
Matthew Briggs sends in a cross, save made by Tim Krul.51:31
Centre by Damien Duff, clearance by Danny Simpson.50:42
Yohan Cabaye has an effort at goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the left-hand upright.50:01
Brede Hangeland gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Leon Best. Indirect free kick taken by Ryan Taylor.47:40
The assist for the goal came from Yohan Cabaye.47:40 Goal scored
Goal! - Leon Best - Newcastle 1 - 0 Fulham Goal scored by Leon Best from close range low into the middle of the goal. Newcastle 1-0 Fulham.47:39
Effort on goal by Yohan Cabaye from 25 yards. Save by Mark Schwarzer.45:01
The game restarts for the second half.45:00 +3:52 Half time
Half Time The half-time whistle blows.45:00 +2:59
Brede Hangeland concedes a free kick for a foul on Leon Best. Direct free kick taken by Ryan Taylor.45:00 +0:32
Gabriel Obertan sends in a cross, Leon Best takes a shot. Blocked by Aaron Hughes. Corner taken right-footed by Yohan Cabaye from the left by-line to the near post, clearance by Moussa Dembele. Yohan Cabaye takes a shot. Save by Mark Schwarzer. Yohan Cabaye takes the outswinging corner, Steve Sidwell manages to make a clearance. Shot from just outside the area by Ryan Taylor misses to the right of the target.43:28
The ball is swung over by Cheik Tiote, Jonas Gutierrez takes a shot. Mark Schwarzer makes a save.42:31
Corner taken right-footed by Yohan Cabaye, Ryan Taylor crosses the ball, Moussa Dembele manages to make a clearance.42:24
The ball is crossed by Ryan Taylor, Aaron Hughes manages to make a clearance.41:53
Unfair challenge on Steven Taylor by Danny Murphy results in a free kick. Fabricio Coloccini takes the indirect free kick.40:56
Free kick awarded for a foul by Danny Murphy on Cheik Tiote. Tim Krul takes the free kick.40:38
Corner taken by Pajtim Kasami, clearance by Leon Best.40:29
The ball is sent over by Chris Baird, clearance by Danny Simpson.40:04
Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Damien Duff, clearance made by Leon Best.39:56
Damien Duff sends in a cross, Jonas Gutierrez gets a block in.39:29
The assistant referee flags for offside against Leon Best. Chris Baird takes the indirect free kick.38:43
Cheik Tiote challenges Steve Sidwell unfairly and gives away a free kick. Chris Baird takes the direct free kick.37:30
Peter Lovenkrands is caught offside. Danny Murphy restarts play with the free kick.37:23
Cheik Tiote delivers the ball.36:44
Corner taken right-footed by Yohan Cabaye from the right by-line to the near post, Steve Sidwell makes a clearance.35:04
Cheik Tiote concedes a free kick for a foul on Damien Duff. Chris Baird takes the indirect free kick.32:39
Unfair challenge on Peter Lovenkrands by Pajtim Kasami results in a free kick. Shot comes in from Ryan Taylor from the free kick.27:38
Ryan Taylor sends in a cross.22:45
The assistant referee signals for offside against Clint Dempsey. Free kick taken by Ryan Taylor.20:57
The ball is crossed by Ryan Taylor, Steve Sidwell manages to make a clearance.19:03
Peter Lovenkrands concedes a free kick for a foul on Pajtim Kasami. Matthew Briggs restarts play with the free kick.18:03
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jonas Gutierrez by Chris Baird. Ryan Taylor restarts play with the free kick.17:43
Pajtim Kasami fouled by Cheik Tiote, the ref awards a free kick. Danny Murphy takes the free kick.15:22
Pajtim Kasami is caught offside. Tim Krul restarts play with the free kick.13:02
Damien Duff delivers the ball, clearance by Steven Taylor.11:36
Pajtim Kasami has a drilled shot. Tim Krul makes a comfortable save.10:00
Leon Best gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Pajtim Kasami. Danny Murphy crosses the ball in from the free kick, clearance by Cheik Tiote.9:40
Damien Duff takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line played to the near post, Ryan Taylor makes a clearance.9:21
Shot by Pajtim Kasami from 25 yards. Blocked by Steven Taylor.8:51
The ball is sent over by Jonas Gutierrez, Brede Hangeland manages to make a clearance.8:41
The ball is swung over by Cheik Tiote, clearance made by Steve Sidwell.8:01
Centre by Yohan Cabaye, Header by Peter Lovenkrands from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the goal.6:59
Steve Sidwell produces a left-footed shot from just outside the area that goes harmlessly over the target.6:44
Moussa Dembele takes a shot. Blocked by Pajtim Kasami.6:08
Ryan Taylor challenges Clint Dempsey unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Danny Murphy.5:42
The ball is crossed by Matthew Briggs, Ryan Taylor makes a clearance.4:14
Pajtim Kasami concedes a free kick for a foul on Cheik Tiote. Tim Krul takes the free kick.2:03
The referee blows for offside against Leon Best. Free kick taken by Aaron Hughes.1:07
Foul by Cheik Tiote on Pajtim Kasami, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Danny Murphy.0:00
The game begins.
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