Fulham 2-1 Newcastle: Rodallega header snaps seven-match winless stretch

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Fulham 2-1 Newcastle: Rodallega header snaps seven-match winless stretch
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Fulham 2-1 Newcastle: Rodallega header snaps seven-match winless stretch

Fulham managed to overcome a spirited display from Newcastle to clinch a 2-1 win in what was an enthralling, end-to-end encounter at Craven Cottage on Monday evening, snapping a seven-game winless stretch in the process.

The hosts took the lead in the first half courtesy through Steve Sidwell after some good work by Damien Duff saw him cut the ball back to the onrushing midfielder and his deflected strike from inside the box flew into the right-hand corner.

The Magpies equalized shortly after the break through a vicious drive from outside the box from Hatem Ben Arfa, with Mark Schwarzer wrong-footed in the home goal. Hugo Rodallega restored the hosts' one-goal advantage after nodding in from an excellent Duff free kick.

With the game played at a lively tempo and both sides showing a willingness to pour forward, it was the hosts who took the lead through Sidwell in the 18th minute, after he saw his effort deflected in off Williamson and with Krul sent the wrong way.

They should have added a second moments later when Dimitar Berbatov latched on to a sloppy pass from Vurnon Anita before racing through one-on-one, but Krul did well to stand up as long as he could and palm his effort away.

The Bulgarian went close again on the half hour mark after a superb run and cross by Sascha Riether down the right, which saw Berbatov's acrobatic effort cleared off the line by Davide Santon.

Riether then rose highest to nod Fabricio Coloccini's powerful header from a corner away off the goal-line and blocked a sweetly-struck crack on goal from Ba just before the halftime whistle, with Fulham going in at the break with a slender lead.

This prompted a response from Newcastle and they grabbed the equalizer in the 54th minute courtesy of a sensational strike from Ben Arfa from outside the area on the right which caught the bar on its way in, with Schwarzer caught embarrassingly off guard trying to anticipate the cross. Fulham regained the lead in the 63rd minute, though, after Rodallega buried a header at the near post, beating Coloccini in the air after Duff flung in a fabulous free kick from the right flank.

With the game opening up more and more and each side's defence looking ropey under any sort of pressure, Coloccini struck the bar with a magnificent curling effort from inside the box after a rampaging run forwards.

Nevertheless, despite both sides pushing for another goal and testing the opposition's goalkeeper with a number of efforts from range, Fulham was able to hold on to the lead and secure all three points in its first league win since late October.

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