Duff hits the target as Fulham secure victory

Fulham 1
Newcastle 0

Ben Rumsby

Published 03/02/2011 | 05:00

Damien Duff was on target as a spirited Fulham side took all three points against Newcastle United at Craven Cottage last night.

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The Dubliner missed a glorious chance to give Fulham the lead just five minutes after the break when he blazed wide from close range.

But the Republic of Ireland winger took his chance in the 67th minute against his former club after Danny Murphy played a fine ball over the top and Duff -- who got on the other side of José Enrique -- slotted the ball past Steve Harper from close range.

Fulham had further chances in the game when Moussa Dembele played in Clint Dempsey, whose shot from a tight angle was pushed over the bar by Harper, as the home side held on.

Newcastle, beginning life without Andy Carroll after his high-profile move to Liverpool, were concerned in the 10th minute when Shola Ameobi took an elbow to the head in a Steve Sidwell challenge.

After three minutes' treatment, Ameobi was led down the tunnel and replaced by Nile Ranger.

The visitors had shown total commitment to that point, with Mike Williamson closely shadowing the in-form Dembele.

Duff's deflected shot and a weak Danny Simpson strike at the other end were the only efforts of note in the opening half although Sidwell possibly saved a goal, flicking Joey Barton's free-kick behind.

Newcastle had a great chance to take the lead after 59 minutes when Ranger found space on the left and cut the ball back for Danny Guthrie, whose cross dropped over Chris Baird but Ireland striker Leon Best headed over.

Duff then missed his glorious chance to put Fulham ahead in the 50th minute.

But the Dubliner made no mistake when given another chance, and he finished clinically past Harper after a good through-ball from Murphy.

Newcastle probed for an equaliser with Jonas Gutiererz proving a threat but Fulham held on to claim the full points.

Irish Independent

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