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Monday, 8 April, 2002, 20:53 GMT 21:53 UK
Fulham hold Newcastle
Kieron Dyer slipped the ball past Edwin van der Sar to score for Newcastle
Dyer slips the ball past Van der Sar for Newcastle's goal
Newcastle 1-1 Fulham
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Louis Saha's second-half goal cancelled out Kieron Dyer's opener and ensured a deserved share of the spoils for Fulham.

  Key moments
21 mins: Dyer scores for Newcastle
25 mins: Given saves from Saha
53 mins: Given again foils Saha
75 mins: Saha scores for Fulham
Jean Tigana's team enjoyed a healthy share of possession, passed the ball with trademark ease and created several meaningful opportunities.

But for all their grace through the middle of the park, Fulham lacked self-belief in front of goal and seemed to heading towards another defeat before Saha's fortuitous strike earned his team a point.

Bobby Robson's Newcastle were far from their fluent best - and Alan Shearer had precious few opportunities to score his 200th Premiership goal - but a draw means the Toon move up to fourth in the Premiership table.

The match began at a frenetic pace and that led to a scrappy opening phase, with Newcastle particularly guilty of squandering possession.

But Newcastle - roared on by their passionate home crowd - struck with the game's first attempt on goal.


It would be a crying shame if we don't make Europe now
Newcastle striker Alan Shearer
Shearer and Laurent Robert combined to put Dyer clear of the Fulham defence 30 yards from goal.

The talented midfielder ran down the left channel - using his pace to avoid several Fulham defenders - before placing the ball across Edwin van der Sar with his right foot from an acute angle.

Minutes later Saha's pace took him clear of the Newcastle defence, but Shay Given brilliantly saved at the striker's feet.

Fulham created another good opportunity 10 minutes before half-time.

Fulham's Steed Malbranque and Newcastle's Aaron Hughes battle for the ball
Malbranque and Hughes battle for the ball
Steed Malbranque hit an angled ball between Newcastle's central defensive pairing of Sylvain Distin and Andy O'Brien.

Steve Marlet - recalled to the side for Barry Hayles - made an intelligent diagonal run behind the home defence but could not quite deflect Malbranque's cross past Given.

Shearer appeared set to head home Nolberto Solano's curling free-kick after 40 minutes but Van der Sar came off his line to punch clear with the Newcastle captain poised to score his 200th Premiership goal.

Carl Cort headed over from a Solano corner five minutes into the second half.

At the other end of the pitch Saha's pace took him through on goal but he was again brilliantly foiled by Given, who bravely smothered the ball with his body.

Saha eventually levelled after 75 minutes, although the striker knew little about his role in the goal until the ball was in the net.


My team played very well and deserved to win
Fulham manager Jean Tigana
Newcastle failed to clear their lines from a Fulham corner and Steve Davis smashed the ball goalwards.

The ball hit Saha on the knee two yards from goal and flew past Given.

Fulham maintained their excellent work rate after scoring and frustrated Newcastle's efforts to score a winner.


Newcastle: Given, Hughes, O'Brien (Dabizas 90), Distin, Elliott, Solano, Dyer, Speed, Robert, Shearer, Cort (Jenas 68). Subs Not Used: Harper, Lua-Lua, Bernard.

Booked: Robert.

Fulham: Van der Sar, Finnan, Melville, Goma, Brevett, Davis, Collins, Malbranque, Legwinski, Saha, Marlet. Subs Not Used: Harley, Taylor, Hayles, Boa Morte, Ouaddou.

Attendance: 50,017

Referee: A Wiley (Burntwood).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Dave Woods
"Fulham finished the stronger"
Newcastle boss Bobby Robson
"It's disappointing but we need to stick together"
Fulham's Sean Davis
"We deserved all of the points"
Links to more Eng Prem stories are at the foot of the page.

 

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