A very disappointing afternoon saw us completely outplayed by Fulham and undo some of the great work of the past few days, with Brighton and Huddersfield both narrowing the gap again.  Rafa made four changes from the Reading game, with Anita, Atsu, Diame and Gayle all on the team sheet but we looked a shadow of the side we’d seen in the last week and a half.  Fulham were the better side almost from the off and took the lead on quarter of an hour with a fine goal.

The excellent Cairney, who was head and shoulders the best player on the pitch was allowed room when he picked up the ball outside the area but his finish was classy, curling an effort over a slightly flat footed Darlow into the top corner.  We failed to respond, with a string of misplaced passes and an insistence on hoofing aimless long balls in the vague direction of Gayle, who ran around chasing terrible deliveries – Clark and Shelvey the main culprits.  Fulham looked the more likely to score again and Darlow was forced into a good save from Aluko , getting a strong hand to a shot from eight yards out.

They threatened again when Aluko saw his deflected effort sneak just past the post with Darlow beaten.  Cairney was
running the show, given acres of space and the lively Aluko, who’s had a couple of good games against us here was a constant threat.  We fashioned a chance ourselves at the other end when Clark got up to meet a looped cross from Anita, seeing his header tipped over.

Any hopes for an improved second half went out of the window within five minutes of the restart when Fulham doubled their lead thanks to some calamitous defending on our behalf.  A grass cutter of a cross foxed Dummett in the box and his dreadful clearance found Aluko, who had the wherewithal to backheel into the path of 16 year old Ryan Sessegnon who finished coolly past the dive of Darlow.  The game was well and truly over on the hour when Fulham added a third and such was their dominance at this point, then we were staring a proper hiding in the face.  The goal was simplicity itself, Fulham breaking quickly and a through ball behind Anita was met on the run by the excellent Sessegnon who calmly slotted his second away inside ten minutes.

Rafa thankfully took off the abysmal Diame, to be replaced by Murphy and the Senegalese has been one of very few disappointments this season – he offers next to nowt either in the middle or as support to the front line and patently isn’t anywhere near the required standard were we to go up.  Clark limped off shortly after with a hamstring injury that is likely to see him sidelined for a few weeks.  Murphy did give us something up top at least and the long balls started to be headed on and we gave ourselves a glimmer of hope when the Irishman pulled one back with 15 minutes to go.

It was a lovely goal as well, with Murphy taking a ball on the edge of the box and shielding his defender for long enough to create space to curl a fine effort across the keeper and into the bottom corner.  Any hopes of a Barcelona-esque comeback were wildly optimistic and we failed to seriously threaten again.  Fulham could have added a fourth in the final minute too.  Again Anita was exposed by his winger and the ball squared across the box was about to be met by Sessegnon when he was bundled over in front of goal by Dummett, who was extremely lucky not to see a second yellow card having being booked earlier.  Sessegnon was denied the chance of a hat trick from the spot and Ream blasted his effort well wide.

We’ve no time to feel sorry for ourselves but given the pattern of this season, evidence says that we will bounce back and Birmingham next Saturday gives us an excellent chance to do that – I’ve seen nothing in three games against them this season that would worry me and they’ve gone rapidly backwards under Zola but if we turn in a performance like today’s we’ll get beat.  What is absolutely vital is that the fans get right behind the team – we’ve still got a fight on our hands to get promoted and as poor as today’s performance was, we were well beaten by the better team.  It happens sometimes.

Keep the Faith

Newcastle United  – Darlow 5, Anita 2, Clark 4 (Gamez 5), Lascelles 3, Dummett 2, Ritchie 3, Colback 3, Shelvey 2, Atsu 3, Diame 1 (MURPHY 7), Gayle 5 (Gouffran 4)

Ref – Linington – 7 – No real complaints

Our Fans – 3 – A mix of people whinging and jeering every missed pass and a minority trying to raise the team

Their Fans – 7 – By far the best following they’ve brought up here

GARETH HARRISON – Follow Gareth on @truefaith1892


 

The new issue of true faith (TF129) is out now. true faith is Newcastle United’s longest running and most widely read fanzine. No Newcastle United fanzine has ever had a bigger readership and true faith is one of the country’s leading fanzine titles and most respected. Since 1999 true faith has been providing the alternative view on what goes down at Newcastle United as well as providing fan-led nostalgia and the history of the club. We are the curators of our own history. true faith is one of the pioneering fanzines of the modern era. Staying true to the campaigning aims of the original fanzine movement, true faith has nonetheless grasped the possibilities of the digital age to provide the country’s leading digital fanzine to Newcastle United supporters and all at FREE cost.

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The new issue of true faith (TF129) is out now. true faith is Newcastle United’s longest running and most widely read fanzine. No Newcastle United fanzine has ever had a bigger readership and true faith is one of the country’s leading fanzine titles and most respected. Since 1999 true faith has been providing the alternative view on what goes down at Newcastle United as well as providing fan-led nostalgia and the history of the club. We are the curators of our own history. true faith is one of the pioneering fanzines of the modern era. Staying true to the campaigning aims of the original fanzine movement, true faith has nonetheless grasped the possibilities of the digital age to provide the country’s leading digital fanzine to Newcastle United supporters and all at FREE cost.

To get at the new issue simply click on the image below and its all yours. We recommend tablet or i-pad for best results but the fanzine works really well on any device.