sport

Hugo bosses it over Newcastle

Fulham picked up their first win in eight games with a 2-1 victory over Newcastle after an entertaining clash at Craven Cottage.

Hugo Rodallega's goal proved to be enough for Fulham after Hatem Ben Arfa's stunning strike had cancelled out Steve Sidwell's first-half opener for Fulham.

Fulham started the brighter of the two sides and it came as no surprise when they broke the deadlock after 19 minutes through Sidwell.

Damien Duff picked out Sidwell inside the box and his shot took a wicked deflection off Mike Williamson to loop over Tim Krul and high into the net to end Fulham's drought in front of goal.

The home side should have doubled their lead a minute later when Dimitar Berbatov beat Fabricio Coloccini to go through on goal, but Krul stood up well to keep out the Bulgarian's effort.

Berbatov had another chance to score just before the half hour mark when Krul could only palm Sascha Riether's cross from the right into the path of Berbatov, but the striker's close-range effort was kept out by a combination of Krul and Danny Simpson.

Newcastle almost equalised on 32 minutes when the unmarked Coloccini met Hatem Ben Arfa's corner from the right and his powerful header was brilliantly cleared off the line by Riether.

Riether came to Fulham's rescue again right on the stroke of half-time when Mark Schwarzer flapped at a corner and the ball dropped to Demba Ba who fired in a shot goalwards which was blocked by the alert Riether.

Newcastle drew level on 54 minutes with a stunning strike right out of the blue from Ben Arfa. There looked very little on when Ben Arfa picked the ball up wide on the right on the edge of the box, but the Frenchman caught Schwarzer out with a dipping shot which flew in off the underside of the crossbar past the hapless Fulham keeper.

Fulham were denied a second goal on 62 minutes when Berbatov slipped Sidwell through on goal, but Krul was quickly off his line to block the midfielder's shot.

The home side did not have to wait long for a second goal as a minute later Rodallega got on the end of Duff's inviting free-kick to head home past Krul from close-range.

Newcastle were inches away from a second equaliser on 71 minutes when the ball dropped to Fabricio Coloccini inside the box and the defender curled a superb effort off the crossbar with Schwarzer beaten all ends up.

Fulham substitute Mladen Petric came close to netting a third for the home side a mnute from time when his strike from the edge of the box clipped the top of the crossbar.