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Monday, 19 November, 2001, 07:27 GMT
Fulham extend Magpies jinx
Louis Saha curls home Fulham's first goal from 25 yards
Louis Saha set Fulham on their way with a 25-yard curler
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Fulham 3-1 Newcastle

Fulham extended Newcastle's winless run in London to 27 matches with a typically fluid performance at Craven Cottage.

Newcastle last won in the capital two weeks shy of four years ago, and goals from Louis Saha, Sylvain Legwinski and Barry Hayles ensured their dire run continued.

Gary Speed pulled one back for Newcastle and Alan Shearer missed a penalty with 12 minutes remaining, but Fulham were worthy winners.

It's mysterious how we never seem to be able to get a result in London. I don't have a phobia about it - and we thought today would be the day we would put a stop to it
Newcastle manager
Bobby Robson
Both sides were looking for their third Premiership win in a row and Newcastle looked as likely as Fulham to take the points in the opening exchanges.

However, once Saha set Fulham on their way after 20 minutes the Londoners took total control.

Saha spent six months on loan at Newcastle in 1999 and was too kind to his former team-mates after nine minutes when he failed to hit the target from 14 yards out.

A comedy of errors in the home defence almost handed the visitors the lead, but Edwin van der Sar managed to recover after losing his footing to smother Craig Bellamy's shot.

Fulham's French striker Louis Saha celebrates putting the Londoners 1-0 up.
Saha celebrates his spectacular opener
Play immediately switched to the other end and Saha combined with Legwinski before curling a 25-yarder into the corner. Eight minutes later Legwinski scored himself when he got on the end of a fine move from the hosts.

John Collins and Saha combined to feed Steed Malbranque, and his delightful through pass was emphatically finished by Legwinski.

Fulham took total control of the game, with Given saving from Malbranque and Hayles, before Legwinski was denied by Aaron Hughes' goal-line clearance.

I'm happy today because we played a very strong team, and when we lead 2-0 I was very relaxed on the bench.
Fulham manager
Jean Tigana
They continued in the same vein in the second half, and Saha should have done better after 50 minutes when he pounced on a poor defensive pass.

Given deflected the ball to safety and the Republic of Ireland keeper showed that he had fully recovered from his exertions in Iran on Thursday when he denied Hayles.

Newcastle pulled a goal back against the run of play when Speed headed home Hughes' cross after 65 minutes.

But Hayles soon calmed the home fans' nerves when he headed home a corner five minutes later.

Newcastle's Rob Lee attempts to tackle Fulham's Steed Malbranque
Rob Lee tangles with Steed Malbranque
Newcastle could have made it 3-2 but the normally reliable Shearer saw his penalty saved by Van der Sar with 12 minutes left.

Former Newcastle midfielder Lee Clark received a hero's welcome from both sets of supporters when he entered the fray as a substitute for Collins.

He may have had mixed feelings about seeing the Magpies fail to win in London once more, but Fulham were full value for their win.

Fulham: Van der Sar, Finnan, Melville, Goma, Brevett, Davis, Malbranque, Legwinski, Collins, Hayles, Saha. Subs: Taylor, Clark, Goldbaek, Ouaddou, Stolcers.

Newcastle: Given, Hughes, Dabizas, O'Brien, Elliott, Solano, Lee, Speed, Robert, Shearer, Bellamy. Subs: Acuna, Harper, Lua-Lua, Ameobi, Distin.

Referee: E Wolstenholme (Blackburn)

BBC Sport's Simon Mann
"Newcastle couldn't cope with Saha"
Fulham's Steve Finnan
"It was one of our best performances of the season"
Links to more Eng Prem stories are at the foot of the page.


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