What Eddie Howe did in front of Newcastle United's away end after convincing Fulham win
The journey to Craven Cottage wasn’t easy for many Newcastle United fans – but the players made it look easy on the pitch.
There were no trains running to London from Newcastle due to a rail strike, yet the away end was still full. And the club’s 2,300 noisy fans were rewarded with a convincing win over a team which had been sixth in the Premier League before a ball was kicked.
The victory ended a six-game run without a win for United, who moved up to seventh place. And Newcastle’s players showed their appreciation to their fans after the final whistle, with a beaming Howe fist bumping in front of the away end.
Howe had recalled Botman and Longstaff to his starting XI, and handed a surprise start to Jacob Murphy.
Allan Saint-Maximin, said to be “close” to a comeback from a hamstring problem, wasn’t involved, and neither was Alexander Isak, who suffered a thigh injury on international duty with Sweden.
Saint-Maximin, sidelined since late August, could be back for next weekend’s home game against Brentford, the fixture which marks the first anniversary of the club’s £305million takeover.
Fulham had Nathaniel Chalobah sent off inside the first 10 minutes for a late challenge on Longstaff after a pitchside VAR check from referee Darren England.
Newcastle quickly capitalised. Kieran Trippier delivered a deep cross from the right which was headed back across goal by Joe Willock, and Wilson tapped it home at the far post.
Fulham offered little going forward after the dismissal, and United took full control.
There was an inevitability about a second goal for Newcastle, and it came in the 33rd minute. Guimaraes delivered a lofted ball into the box, and Almiron – whose place on the right has been questioned by some – beat Bernd Leno with a stunning left-footed volley.
Things got worse for Fulham when former Newcastle striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, their biggest attacking threat, was forced off late in the half with an injury.
Longstaff made it 3-0 before the break with a follow-up effort after Botman hit the post with a header. United took their three-goal advantage into the break.
A reorganised Fulham tried to make life harder for their visitors in the second half, but Newcastle’s fourth goal wasn’t long in coming. Murphy played the ball up the right flank to Willock, who played it across the face of goal. Almiron, unchallenged, tapped the ball home at the far post.
Howe replaced Guimaraes with Elliot Anderson for the last 30 minutes, and Wilson was soon withdrawn too. Ryan Fraser came on for the striker, who had been sidelined since August 21 with a hamstring problem.
United fans sung the “Geordie Maradona” song coined by Bristol Rovers supporters last season at the industrious Anderson.
Bobby De Cordova-Reid scored a late consolation for Fulham. Newcastle’s players went to the away end at the final whistle, and Almiron gave his shirt to a young fan.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Pope, Trippier (Lewis, 83), Schar (Lascelles, 83), Botman, Burn (Targett, 83), Longstaff, Willock, Guimaraes (Anderson, 59), Almiron, Murphy, Wilson (Fraser, 66). Subs not used: Karius, Dummett, Joelinton, Wood.