Saturday 21 December 2002, 3:00pm at St James' Park, Newcastle
Barclays Premier League
Newcastle United
Newcastle United
2
Solano 8'; Bellamy 70'
Fulham FC
Fulham
0
Fulham leave St. James' Park empty handed after losing 2-0 to Champions League hopefuls Newcastle United.

8' Goal

Nolberto Solano

70' Goal

Craig Bellamy

81' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Jermaine Jenas
Off:Kieron Dyer

83' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Shola Ameobi
Off:Nolberto Solano

87' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Clarence Acuna
Off:Gary Speed

48' Yellow Card

Rufus Brevett Card was given for a foul

50' Yellow Card

Edwin Van der Sar Card was given for a foul

66' Yellow Card

Pierre Wome Card was given for a foul

62' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Maik Taylor
Off:Edwin Van der Sar

76' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Callum Willock
Off:Steed Malbranque

0
15
30
45
60
75
90

Sir Bobby Robson's men scored through Nolberto Solano and Craig Bellamy andcould even afford a 48th-minute penalty miss from skipper Alan Shearer, still yet to score a top-flight goal against the Londoners, on an afternoon when they might have won by a cricket score.  

It was a personal triumph for Solano, who was this week challenged by his manager to fight for his place.   

He turned in a fine individual display in a team performance which improved the longer it went on.  

And Bellamy also brought his influence to bear increasingly as Fulham's tired legs grew heavier by the minute following Pierre Wome's sending-off.  

But while the home side, for whom Kieron Dyer was outstanding, finished with a flurry, Robson will have been equally delighted with the way they scrapped when they had to, especially before the break, to keep Fulham at bay.  

Newcastle went into the game justifiably proud of their run of seven consecutive Premiership victories in their own back yard and determined not to allow a side which had not won in six outings to end it.  

And in an entertaining first half they ensured that their record had every chance of remaining intact.  

Fulham, as ever, played some fine flowing football but again as so often in the past, lacked the firepower to make the most of the space they created with Sean Davis and Sylvain Legwinski enjoying a titanic battle with Dyer and Gary Speed in the middle of the park.  

The Magpies always looked the more likely to make the most of their possession, but they were no less grateful for a helping hand from keeper Edwin van der Sar.  

Keeper Edwin van der Sar suffered a 45 minutes he will want to forget quickly as he served up a series of mis-hit clearances to black and white shirts, one of which provided Solano with his opportunity to mark his return to action in style.  

Bellamy, under orders to put the keeper under pressure from back-passes, did just that with eight minutes gone and he promptly spooned his clearance to the Peruvian, who chested the ball down before lifting a delicious lob over the hopelessly stranded Dutchman and into the net.  

Shearer powered an 11th-minute header into the side-netting after Dyer had surged into space down the right, and both the United skipper and Bellamy tested van der Sar's confidence with well-struck efforts which required solid saves.  

But as the visitors regained their composure, they started to put the home defence under greater pressure, although neither Steve Marlet nor make shift strike partner Steed Malbranque enjoyed any real service, and it was left to Davis and full-back Rufus Brevett to try their luck from distance.  

However, Robson's side continued to pose the greater threat and van der Sar's afternoon almost got a lot worse with 21 minutes gone when he again mis-directed a clearance to Solano and had to rely on former Sunderland defender Andy Melville to get him out of trouble with a goal-line clearance.  

The first-half drew to a close with the teams still separated by Solano's lone strike, but with a crowd of 51,576 knowing there was a lot more football to come.  

And they were not to be disappointed.  

Shearer rarely misses penalties, but he did so in spectacular style just three minutes after the restart after Davis was harshly penalised for a tug on Dyer's shirt.  

But undaunted, the United skipper dusted himself down and then lured van der Sar into an ill-advised challenge which cost him a booking and ultimately ended his afternoon through injury a few minutes later.  The Dutchman kept out a low Shearer drive from the resulting free-kick before making way for Maik Taylor on 62 minutes, but he can hardly have settled himself into the bath before he was joined by Wome, who was dismissed for a dreadful challenge on Andy Griffin three minutes later.  

United were dominating, but it was not until the 70th-minute that they madethe pressure tell, Dyer robbing Davis before feeding Bellamy, who showed Melville a clean pair of heels before firing home left-footed. 

The Welshman could have doubled his tally within three minutes, but was this time denied by Taylor, but the pressure was mounting all the time.  

Taylor threw up an arm to keep out Robert's 81st-minute pile driver, but it was one-way traffic as time ran down.  

And the Frenchman should have wrapped it up in style in injury-time afterbeing played in by substitute Shola Ameobi, but the home supporters left morethan happy with another three points regardless

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Saturday 21 December 2002
Kick-off: 3:00pm

Venue: St James' Park, Newcastle
Attendance: 51,576

Referee: Alan Wiley

Newcastle United

Line-up: Given; Griffin, Hughes, Caldwell, O'Brien; Solano (Shola Ameobi 83'), Dyer (Jenas 81'), Speed (Acuna 87'), Robert; Bellamy, Shearer

Unused substitutes: Harper, Dabizas

Fulham

Line-up: Van der Sar (Taylor 62'); Melville, Goma, Djetou, Brevett; Goldbaek, Davis, Malbranque (Willock 76'), Legwinski, Wome; Marlet

Unused substitutes: Knight, Collins, Stolcers

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Arsenal 19 39
2 Chelsea 19 37
3 Manchester United 18 35
4 Newcastle United 18 32
5 Everton 18 32
6 Liverpool 18 31
7 Southampton 19 28
8 Tottenham Hotspur 18 28
9 Middlesbrough 19 26
10 Charlton Athletic 19 25
11 Blackburn Rovers 18 24
12 Manchester City 18 24
13 Birmingham City 19 24
14 Fulham 19 22
15 Aston Villa 19 22
16 Leeds United 19 21
17 Sunderland 19 18
18 West Bromwich Albion 19 16
19 Bolton Wanderers 18 15
20 West Ham United 19 14
Newcastle United (4-4-2)
  • 1Shay Given
  • 2Andy Griffin
  • 18Aaron Hughes
  • 4Steven Caldwell
  • Andy O'Brien
  • 4Nolberto Solano
  • 8Kieron Dyer
  • 6Gary Speed
  • Laurent Robert
  • 39Craig Bellamy
  • 9Alan Shearer
Substitutes
  • 37Steve Harper
  • 44Nikolaos Dabizas
  • Clarence Acuna
  • 21Jermaine Jenas
  • 23Shola Ameobi
Fulham (4-5-1)
  • 1Edwin Van der Sar
  • 4Andy Melville
  • 24Alain Goma
  • 17Martin Djetou
  • 3Rufus Brevett
  • 19Bjarne Goldbaek
  • 23Sean Davis
  • 14Steed Malbranque
  • 18Sylvain Legwinski
  • 27Pierre Wome
  • 7Steve Marlet
Substitutes
  • 12Maik Taylor
  • 16Zat Knight
  • 10John Collins
  • 40Andrejs Stolcers
  • 33Callum Willock