Howard Webb ignored a clear handball in the final moment of stoppage time and Ashkan Dejagah’s 68th minute bullet gave Fulham three much-needed points at Craven Cottage in a 1-0 match.
Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul raced forward to join a last second corner kick, and the ball fell to the Dutchman. His shot was blocked by the outstretched arm of Jonny Heitinga.
It was a clear PK, but Webb didn’t give it. Krul would’ve come close to making amends for poor keeping on the Dejagah goal (which was a strong strike in any event).
Newcastle was passed by Southampton on the table, and drops to 9th place with 43 points. Meanwhile, Fulham’s 24 points are still four points back of safety.
The teams traded chances in the opening minutes, but decent crosses were headed away from danger by both teams back lines.
Not one to shy away from hard play, Cheick Tiote’s stray elbow on Kasami gave Fulham a 7th minute free kick from about 30 yards. Tim Krul collected the ball after an initial mishandling.
Free-flowing at both ends, the first 10 minutes of match seemed to feature very little play in the middle of the park, rather focused on the 18s.
Fulham found a surprising chance just outside of 19 minutes when a flicked-on ball toward the end line stayed in play off Mike Williamson, but Krul jumped onto the ball before 19-year-old Cauley Woodrow could collect it.
Swedish midfielder Alexander Kačaniklić took a swerving shot from 25 yards that Krul watched over the bar in the 27th minute, and Newcastle’s next swing up the field saw an earned corner to no result.
Then a foul on Luuk de Jong gave the Magpies another free kick for Paul Dummett’s left foot, and though he has been quite adequate filling in for Yohan Cabaye on set pieces, this did not go as planned.
Look for Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa to show up on NBC’s Showboats of the Week, as he left an errant pass near the sideline go over his head and blindly reached back with his back foot to lift it over a few defenders and up the field.
All-in-all, both teams wasted chances in the first half but Newcastle seemed more comfortable and more in control.
Fulham came out of halftime with spirit, and won a corner kick after some slick possession in Newcastle’s half.
The Cottagers scored in the 54th minute… but it was offsides. Woodrow picked up a rebound off the crossbar, chested it down and tapped home but the flag was up. Turns out the initial shot that ricocheted off the bar and hit down was 95 percent behind the line but touching the white.
Fulham found its goal in the 68th minute when Dejagah ripped a low shot past an off-balance Krul, who continued a bit relatively-poor form. It was the sort of individual wizardry Fulham needed in the contest, and will need more of to avoid the drop.
Cisse attempted to answer a minute later, but was foiled by Stockdale. The Senegalese striker then came off for Shola Ameobi.
The Cottagers holed up their own end to try and hold on to the crucial points, and did just that.
Fulham: Stockdale; Heitinga, Hangeland, Amorebieta, Richardson; Kasami (Dejagah, 61 (Burn, 87)), Kvist, Sidwell, Kačaniklić; Holtby; Woodrow
Goals: Dejagah (68)
Newcastle United: Krul; Yanga-Mbiwa, Coloccini (c), Williamson, Dummett; Sissoko, Anita (Marveaux, 81), Tiote, Gouffran; de Jong (Armstrong, 86); Cisse (Shola Ameobi, 70).