Thursday, February 3, 2011

Damien: another bad omen...?

Fulham 1 ~ 0 Newcastle !!!

010/11: Lost 0-1
2008/09: Lost 1-2 Ameobi
2007/08: Won 1-0 Barton (pen)
2006/07: Lost 1-2 Martins
2005/06: Lost 0-1
2004/05: Won 3-1 Ambrose, Kluivert, Ameobi
2003/04: Won 3-2 Robert, Shearer 2*
2002/03: Lost 1-2 Shearer*
2001/02: Lost 1-3 Speed
1983/84: Drew 2-2 Beardsley, Keegan
1982/83: Drew 2-2 McDermott, Varadi
1981/82: Lost 0-2 (LC)
1979/80: Lost 0-1
1978/79: Won 3-1 Connolly, Withe, Shoulder
1967/68: Lost 0-2
1966/67: Lost 1-5 B.Robson
1965/66: Lost 0-2
1960/61: Lost 3-4 Allchurch, Hughes, Woods
1959/60: Lost 3-4 Eastham, Hale 2
1955/56: Won 5-4 (FA) Casey, Keeble 2, Milburn, Stokoe
1951/52: Drew 1-1 G.Robledo
1950/51: Drew 1-1 Walker
1949/50: Lost 1-2 Milburn
1947/48: Lost 0-3
1946/47: Won 3-0 Bentley, Wayman

The last time Damien Duff scored against Newcastle in a 1-0 defeat it sent them down to the Championship, when he deflected a shot past his team mate Steve Harper at Villa Park.

Once again, he was wearing black and white but this time it was in Fulham's colours and when Duff tucked the ball past Harper in the 67th minute he was turning the screw on a team seemingly in mourning.

This was the most gutless, clueless and ultimately pointless performance since that fateful day in Birmingham in May 2009 when the threat of relegation became reality.

Andy Carroll may have been an irrelevance, given that he wouldn't have been fit to play in this fixture, but the team spirit that has papered over some gaping cracks had clearly disappeared.

And, of course, not only did we have the predictable ex-Mag scoring the crucial goal but we also inevitably lost another striker through injury as Shola Ameobi left the field with a fractured cheekbone.

That left Leon Best and Nile Ranger as our main attacking twosome with Peter Lovenkrands coming off the bench. But beyond those three - with just eight Premier League goals between them - our next fit striker is probably Shola's brother, Sammy.

Three half-chances were all that United could create in this desperate display, with a weak Danny Simpson shot and a half-hit effort on the turn from Ranger almost sneaking past Mark Schwarzer.

But the best chance fell appropriately to our number 20 but Leon's header sailed over the bar, followed by thousands of mutterings that you-know-who would have buried it....

Cheick Tiote was another conspicuous absentee and perhaps his return to the side against Arsenal on Saturday might help keep the score down but suddenly it's difficult to see where our next Premier League point will come from.

United are still in the top half of the table after this defeat but West Ham's win at Blackpool now means we are just six points clear of relegation.

If our owner is gambling that 30 points is already enough, he may need to check his hand again, although sadly it's now too late to twist.

Full match report to follow.

Team: Harper, Simpson, Williamson, Coloccini, Jose Enrique, Barton, Nolan, Guthrie, Gutierrez, Best (Lovenkrands 72), Ameobi (Ranger 13).
Subs n/u: Krul, Campbell, Perch, Ferguson, Richardson.

Booked: Simpson, Guthrie, Nolan.

Fulham: Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Baird, Dempsey, Sidwell, Murphy (Gera 87), Duff (Davies 88), Andrew Johnson (Kakuta 71), Dembele.
Subs n/u: Stockdale, Salcido, Kamara, Greening.

Goal: Duff 67.

Referee: Mike Jones - third Newcastle game of the season for the Chester-based official who took charge of the home defeats by Stoke City and Blackburn Rovers. September 2009 saw Jones preside over our 4-0 success at Ipswich Town, while his first-ever senior Magpies game was a 1-2 reverse at Manchester City in January 2009.

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