Tuesday 21 October 2003, 7:45pm at Loftus Road, London
Barclays Premier League
Fulham FC
Clark 6'; Saha 8'
Newcastle United
Newcastle United
Shearer 5', (pen) 51'; Robert 16'

6' Goal

Lee Clark

8' Goal

Louis Saha

54' Yellow Card

Mark Pembridge Card was given for a foul

65' Yellow Card

Sylvain Legwinski Card was given for a foul

46' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Barry Hayles
Off:Malik Buari

79' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Junichi Inamoto
Off:Mark Pembridge

5' Goal

Alan Shearer

16' Goal

Laurent Robert

51' Penalty

Alan Shearer

87' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Darren Ambrose
Off:Laurent Robert

Despite goals from Lee Clark and Louis Saha inside the first ten minutes, Fulham capitulate and lose 3-2 to Newcastle at Loftus Road.
Sven-Goran Eriksson came to Loftus Road tonight to assess future England stars but was instead given a flashback to the past as Alan Shearer inspired Newcastle to a storming comeback victory. Fulham were 2-0 up inside seven minutes, with goals from St James' Park old boys Lee Clark and Louis Saha, but Shearer was the hero as the Geordies powered back to clinch this thrilling 3-2 success. 

Shearer, 33, who considered coming out of his self-imposed international retirement earlier this year, set up the first and scored the second and third himself as Sir Bobby Robson's men made it four wins on the spin. The striker, who some pundits suggested should have been recalled by Eriksson for England's Euro 2004 qualifying trip to Turkey, led the forward line with his trademark power and strength. 

Kick-off had been delayed until 8. 15pm due to a suspect car at a tube station near Loftus Road - but when the action got under way it was pulsating, end-to-end stuff. First Clark, an ex-United trainee who spent seven seasons at St James' Park, turned on a sixpence and cracked home a superb angled drive for his first goal of the season. That was in the fifth minute - and just two minutes later Chris Coleman's men went 2-0 up through Saha's drilled shot into the far corner after the Frenchman foxed Titus Bramble. It was a sweet moment for Saha, who endured a difficult season at Newcastle five years ago when first introduced to English football. 

It was all action in west London and Robson's side pulled one back on the quarter hour. Laurent Robert produced a neat exchange of passes with Alan Shearer and almost ripped Fulham's net with an explosive half-volley from 10 yards. The tempo picked up again just before the break and Shearer scored a penalty in the 50th minute when Alain Goma felled Shola Ameobi. And Shearer completed Newcastle's comeback with the 56th-minute winner - a typical poacher's strike for his eighth goal of the season to take him joint top of the Barclaycard Premiership scoring charts. Clark had fired the Cottagers into a fifth-minute lead.  Aaron Hughes mis-controlled a lofted pass forward down Fulham's left-wing, chesting it into Steed Malbranque's path. The Frenchman cut inside and fed Clark who turned smartly and thundered into the far corner from an acute angle. 

And Fulham sensationally doubled their lead just two minutes later when Saha produced an equally smart goal. Sylvain Legwinski hoisted the ball up to the edge of the area where Saha brought it down, burst past Bramble and smacked a shot across Shay Given and inside the post. But Robson's men reduced the arrears to a single goal on the quarter hour. Ameobi crossed from the right, Robert and Shearer played a one-two and the Frenchman almost ripped the Fulham net with a screeching half-volley from 10 yards. The pace inevitably slackened after a thrilling opening but Bramble went close to making amends for his error for Fulham's second goal. 

The centre-back's header from Robert's corner flashed across the face of goal and United almost claimed an equaliser before half-time. Ameobi flicked over the top from Robert's cross and, right on the whistle, Shearer was put in on goal from Jermaine Jenas' pass but completely mis-controlled the ball. The pressure paid off for Newcastle five minutes into the second half as Lee Bowyer slipped the ball down the inside right channel to Ameobi. He raced beyond Goma, only to be sent tumbling by a slide tackle from Fulham's ex-Newcastle defender. Referee Barry Knight pointed to the penalty spot and Shearer sent Edwin van der Sar the wrong way to level at 2-2. Shearer struck again after 56 minutes to put Newcastle 3-2 up, completing the visitors' comeback. Jenas waltzed into the penalty area, shimmied as Zat Knight went to tackle and poked the ball towards Shearer. The former England man smacked the ball into the roof of the net from eight  yards. Fulham had chances to return to level terms, with Mark Pembridge snatching at a bouncing ball in the box and Saha drawing a solid save from Given. Bramble finally redeemed himself for his earlier blunder by clearing off his own goal line eight minutes from time. Fulham substitute Junichi Inamoto blasted an acute drive past Given - but Bramble hooked clear from under the United crossbar. And Given stuck out a leg to boot away Legwinski's late shot from Inamoto's cross as United held on to win.

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Tuesday 21 October 2003
Kick-off: 7:45pm

Venue: Loftus Road, London
Attendance: 16,506

Referee: Barry Knight


Line-up: Van der Sar; Leacock, Knight, Goma, Bonnissel; Malbranque, Legwinski, Clark, Pembridge (Inamoto 79'), Buari (Hayles 46'); Saha

Unused substitutes: Crossley, Melville, Djetou

Newcastle United

Line-up: Given; O'Brien, Hughes, Bramble, Bernard; Bowyer, Speed, Jenas, Robert (Ambrose 87'); Shola Ameobi, Shearer

Unused substitutes: Harper, Caldwell, Hugo Viana, Lua Lua

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Arsenal 9 23
2 Manchester United 9 22
3 Chelsea 9 20
4 Birmingham City 9 16
5 Manchester City 9 15
6 Fulham 9 15
7 Charlton Athletic 9 14
8 Southampton 9 13
9 Portsmouth 9 12
10 Newcastle United 9 12
11 Liverpool 9 11
12 Tottenham Hotspur 9 11
13 Everton 9 9
14 Aston Villa 9 9
15 Blackburn Rovers 9 8
16 Bolton Wanderers 9 8
17 Leeds United 9 8
18 Middlesbrough 9 7
19 Wolverhampton Wanderers 9 6
20 Leicester City 9 5
Fulham (4-5-1)
  • 1Edwin Van der Sar
  • 22Dean Leacock
  • 16Zat Knight
  • 24Alain Goma
  • 18Jerome Bonnissel
  • 4Steed Malbranque
  • 5Sylvain Legwinski
  • 10Lee Clark
  • 7Mark Pembridge
  • Malik Buari
  • 8Louis Saha
  • 12Mark Crossley
  • 4Andy Melville
  • 17Martin Djetou
  • 6Junichi Inamoto
  • 15Barry Hayles
Newcastle United (4-4-2)
  • 1Shay Given
  • Andy O'Brien
  • 18Aaron Hughes
  • 19Titus Bramble
  • 34Olivier Bernard
  • 11Lee Bowyer
  • 6Gary Speed
  • 21Jermaine Jenas
  • Laurent Robert
  • 23Shola Ameobi
  • 9Alan Shearer
  • 37Steve Harper
  • 4Steven Caldwell
  • 7Darren Ambrose
  • 45Hugo Viana
  • 38Tresor Lomana Lua Lua