Martin Jol made one change to his starting eleven from the side that went down to Blackburn Rovers a week ago. Steve Sidwell came into the Fulham midfield to replace Mousa Dembele (hip injury) which meant that Bobby Zamora would once again be ably supported by the attacking trio of Ruiz, Duff and Dempsey.
Both sides were well organised outfits and so neither team was able to control the match as they would have liked in the opening exchanges. A pot shot by Yohan Cabaye which was comfortably saved by Stockdale proved to be the only effort on goal in the first ten minutes.
The Whites’ England ‘keeper had to be on hand again on 18 minutes after Hatem Ben Arfa rode the challenge of Senderos to arrow a shot towards the bottom right hand corner of the net. Luckily for Fulham Stockdale was well positioned to palm the ball away.
Duff and Ruiz were switching wings throughout and on 25 minutes Duff nearly scored against a former club for the second time in two games. Cutting in from the left after beating his marker, the Irishman unleashed a curling effort on his right foot which forced Tim Krul into a decent save.
The best chance of the game fell to Coloccini on 34 minutes but once again Stockdale was in the right place to keep out the defender’s half-volley.
The addition of Steve Sidwell to the starting line up added bite to the team and Fulham’s number 4 was doing a stellar job of keeping a creative Newcastle midfield in check. Unfortunately his game was cut short due to injury on 37 minutes. Jol showed his attacking intent by replacing him with striker Andrew Johnson.
Newcastle were finishing the half the stronger and took the lead two minutes before the break through a stunning Danny Guthrie goal. The Newcastle man gave Stockdale no chance with a vicious strike from 25 yards out.
Determined not to go in at half-time behind, Fulham rallied and Johnson found himself through on goal before being brought down cynically by Davide Santon. The capacity Cottage crowd wanted blood but the late arrival of a covering defender meant the punishment was only a yellow card.
Fulham started the second half brightly and within two minutes of the restart Duff, now back on the right wing, fired over following good hold up play by Johnson.
The Whites’ pressure was rewarded in the 51st minute when Duff was hauled down just inside the penalty area. Captain Danny Murphy stepped up to calmly slot home his 50th Premier League goal.
Moments later Fulham nearly took the lead. First Zamora smashed a shot straight at Krul before Chris Baird, a half-time replacement for Ruiz, forced a superb acrobatic save from the Dutchman.
Martin Jol’s men were now in control with Zamora, Johnson and Duff causing the Newcastle defence all sorts of problems.
The momentum told just before the hour mark as Fulham went 2-1 up through Clint Dempsey. Great link up play between Johnson and Zamora saw the latter skip inside Coloccini before his shot skidded off Krul and into Dempsey for the American to bundle home.
The lead was no less than Fulham deserved for a reinvigorated performance at the start of the second period.
The home side’s grip on the game was tightened on 65 minutes with another splendid team goal. Johnson headed down for Zamora to slip through an excellent ball for Dempsey who finished past Krul with aplomb.
Fulham were rampant and killed the game as a contest on 68 minutes when Johnson was brought down in the area by Krul. This time Zamora took the kick, rifling home the penalty in front of the watching Fabio Capello.
Newcastle pulled one back five minutes from time when Ben Arfa lashed home at the near post but Fulham restored their three goal advantage shortly after.
Zamora was again the provider as he sent a looping ball over the top of a high Newcastle line for Dempsey to chase. Fulham’s top scorer beat Coloccini to the ball and showed great composure once again to dispatch the ball past Krul.
Jol promptly replaced Dempsey with Kerim Frei; a substitution which gave the delighted Whites’ fans the chance to thank the match winner with a standing ovation.