Monday 19 January 2004, 8:00pm at St James' Park, Newcastle
Barclays Premier League
Newcastle United
Newcastle United
3
O'Brien 4'; Speed 41'; Robert 54'
Fulham FC
Fulham
1
Davis 74'
Sean Davis' goal in the second-half counted for little as Fulham were overpowered by a strong Newcastle United side at St. James' Park.

4' Goal

Andy O'Brien

41' Goal

Gary Speed

54' Goal

Laurent Robert

84' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Darren Ambrose
Off:Nolberto Solano

84' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Hugo Viana
Off:Laurent Robert

84' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Shola Ameobi
Off:Alan Shearer

74' Goal

Sean Davis

77' Yellow Card

Martin Djetou Card was given for a foul

18' Substitution

Player was substituted due to an injury
On:Moritz Volz
Off:Sylvain Legwinski

66' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Facundo Sava
Off:Barry Hayles

0
15
30
45
60
75
90

Fulham, it is fair to say, crumbled at St James' Park. Defender Andy O'Brien and midfielder Gary Speed put Sir Bobby Robson's side 2-0 up before the break as they capitalised on some less than effective defending to leave the small band of travelling supporters huddled under the rafters in the gods at St James' Park among a crowd of 50,104. 

But it was an audacious 54th-minute overhead kick from Laurent Robert which put the icing on the cake and sealed a double over the Londoners as United climbed above Fulham and into the top five. 

The home side were rarely stretched in the 4,000th league game in the club's history, and Sean Davis' 74th-minute strike proved scant consolation for the visitors. Newcastle went into the match knowing that three points was a must if they were to climb above one of their fellow contenders for that final Champion League spot and not concede any further ground to Charlton. 

They did so on the back of a good run with just two defeats in their previous 15 Barclaycard Premiership games and having returned unscathed from last weekend's trip to Old Trafford with confidence soaring. What they wanted was a comprehensive victory to confirm their returning potency, and although may not have been at their fluent best on a sticky pitch before the break, they more than laid the foundations with a pacy display which at times left the visitors gasping for breath. 

O'Brien started the ball rolling with just four minutes gone, slamming home a close-range shot after Jonathan Woodgate had recycled a Robert corner and Alan Shearer had seen his effort blocked. Speed ensured that his side left the pitch at the break with a just reward for their efforts, heading a Nolberto Solano corner past the stranded Edwin van der Sar at the near post four minutes before half-time. It was no more than they deserved as the lively Kieron Dyer and Solano made life intensely difficult for debutant right-back Carlos Bocanegro and central defender Zat Knight. In Saha's absence, Barry Hayles had been asked to lead the line with Luis Boa Morte joining him whenever possible from wide on the left. The Portuguese flier threatened at regular intervals during the early stages as he gave Aaron Hughes a stern examination, but apart from a 19th-minute effort which he hammered into the side-netting from a narrow angle, 'keeper Shay Given had few real scares before the break. United old boy Lee Clark and Davis ensured that Speed and Jermaine Jenas never had it all their own way, but the feeling that it was not going to be Fulham's night had started to grow after Sylvain Legwinski was forced to limp off with a cut shin just 18 minutes into the game following a rugged challenge by Jenas. 

Fulham knew they had to hit back almost immediately after the break if they were to salvage anything from the game, but after a scrappy start to the second half, a sizeable helping of Gallic flair put paid to their hopes. Robert picked up possession on the left and fed the ball inside to Speed. The Welshman in turn picked out Jenas, and he slid the ball into the path of Solano, who floated in a cross which Robert, having sauntered into the middle, dispatched acrobatically into the net with an outrageous overhead kick. 

Newcastle started to relax with the points safely banked with Woodgate imperious at the back, mopping up potential attacks on halfway before they could even take form and Robert, Solano and Dyer starting to punch holes in the Fulham rearguard with increasing regularity. However, Robson's men were handed a wake-up call 16 minutes from time when the ball fell to Davis 25 yards out, and he drove in a low shot which skidded off the pitch and, via Given's right post, ended up in the back of the net. The goal proved little more than a minor irritant to the home side, who had kept clean sheets in each of their three previous games, although substitute Moritz Volz did get his head to a Clark cross but could not cause Given enough difficulty to make an impact. Robson was even able to withdraw Shearer, Robert and Solano with six minutes remaining to give the fit-again Shola Ameobi, Hugo Viana and Darren Ambrose a run-out, and it was their side which closed out the game comfortably, with the exception of an injury-time shot from Volz which ran just wide, to secure three valuable points.

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Monday 19 January 2004
Kick-off: 8:00pm

Venue: St James' Park, Newcastle
Attendance: 50,104

Referee: Neale Barry

Newcastle United

Line-up: Given; Hughes, O'Brien, Woodgate, Bernard; Solano (Ambrose 84'), Speed, Jenas, Dyer, Robert (Hugo Viana 84'); Shearer (Shola Ameobi 84')

Unused substitutes: Harper, Bramble

Fulham

Line-up: Van der Sar; Djetou, Goma, Knight, Bocanegra; Malbranque, Clark, Davis, Legwinski (Volz 18'), Boa Morte; Hayles (Sava 66')

Unused substitutes: Crossley, Green, Petta

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Arsenal 22 52
2 Manchester United 22 50
3 Chelsea 22 46
4 Charlton Athletic 22 37
5 Newcastle United 22 33
6 Liverpool 21 32
7 Fulham 22 31
8 Southampton 22 30
9 Birmingham City 21 30
10 Bolton Wanderers 22 29
11 Tottenham Hotspur 22 27
12 Aston Villa 22 27
13 Middlesbrough 21 25
14 Everton 22 24
15 Manchester City 22 23
16 Blackburn Rovers 22 23
17 Portsmouth 22 22
18 Leicester City 22 20
19 Wolverhampton Wanderers 21 18
20 Leeds United 22 17
Newcastle United (4-5-1)
  • 1Shay Given
  • 18Aaron Hughes
  • Andy O'Brien
  • 39Jonathan Woodgate
  • 34Olivier Bernard
  • 4Nolberto Solano
  • 6Gary Speed
  • 21Jermaine Jenas
  • 8Kieron Dyer
  • Laurent Robert
  • 9Alan Shearer
Substitutes
  • 37Steve Harper
  • 19Titus Bramble
  • 7Darren Ambrose
  • 45Hugo Viana
  • 23Shola Ameobi
Fulham (4-5-1)
  • 1Edwin Van der Sar
  • 17Martin Djetou
  • 24Alain Goma
  • 16Zat Knight
  • 34Carlos Bocanegra
  • 4Steed Malbranque
  • 10Lee Clark
  • 23Sean Davis
  • 5Sylvain Legwinski
  • 11Luis Boa Morte
  • 15Barry Hayles
Substitutes
  • 12Mark Crossley
  • 2Moritz Volz
  • 26Adam Green
  • 26Bobby Petta
  • 9Facundo Sava