Two second half goals from Leon Best and a string of world class saves from their Dutch international goalkeeper Tim Krul gave Newcastle United a 2-1 home victory over Fulham in the Premier League this afternoon.
After a boring first half with tame attacking efforts from both sides, it would be the Irishman’s skilful second goal on the 66th minute mark that looked like it would kill the tie and the home side were relatively comfortable for large spells as a comeback from the London site seemed unlikely. Though it would be a Clint Dempsey header from a Danny Murphy free-kick with two minutes left on the clock, plus five minutes of injury time awarded that left the home fans with their hearts in their mouths as Fulham threw everything at them in the final moments to try and snatch a point.
Newcastle might reflect that if it wasn’t for their goalkeeper Krul things may have been a little different. Two stunning reaction saves in particular from Steve Sidwell and Danny Murphy efforts, along with his improving aerial and distribution ability, add to his impressive week for Newcastle after his man of the match display against Scunthorpe on Thursday. Though it wasn’t quite the perfect performance as indecision over whether to come for Murphy’s late free-kick left him in no man’s land for Fulham’s late goal… but he made up for his error with the last attack of the match when he confidently stopped a free-kick cross from the same position. Krul is growing in stature and it’s hard to see Steve Harper getting another Premier League game for the club at this point.
Best’s first breakthrough goal came on 48 minutes when an excellent Yohan Cabaye effort bounced dangerously in front of Mark Schwarzer who could only push the ball onto the crossbar leaving an easy tap in for the striker.
Newcastle fans will be encouraged to see Demba Ba enthusiastic as a second half substitute and at the death he nearly grabbed himself a goal from a strike that was deflected onto the bar. Gabriel Obertan also impressed with his pace and willingness to move the ball forward.
In the end Newcastle managed to hang on in the tight encounter and fans will be hoping manager Alan Pardew manages to add two or three faces to his squad before the end of the transfer window on Wednesday night (a move from left back Erik Pieters seems like it will happen… but a new striker is desperately required) as they prepare for their Monday Night Football encounter at QPR on September 12th… where one Joey Barton is likely to make his Hoops debut.
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