Fulham secured a valuable away point on what was a frustrating afternoon at St James’ Park for Mark Hughes’ side.
Both sides were looking for positive responses to midweek defeats, with the Magpies losing at home to Blackburn, while the Whites suffered a 1-0 defeat at Chelsea.
Fulham welcomed back Andrew Johnson, making a long-awaited First Team start, while Zoltan Gera and Damien Duff also came in – with the latter behind the Hungarian at left-back. Having named a somewhat attacking starting 11, Mark Hughes also shifted Simon Davies into the middle of his midfield with Dickson Etuhu named on the bench.
As expected, it was the hosts, backed by a typically vociferous following, that made the livelier start to the game with both Jonas Gutierrez and Danny Guthrie squeezing in two low crosses from either flank.
However, it was the Whites that made the first telling contribution after Johnson was scythed down by Mike Williamson. Murphy floated in the resultant free-kick and Brede Hangeland almost beat Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul to the ball.
Hangeland and Aaron Hughes both made important headers to clear two more deep Newcastle crosses, as the home side looked to exploit the aerial threat of the in-form Andy Carroll.
A Davies corner from the left found Clint Dempsey for another Whites chance, but his back post attempt was bravely turned to safety by Krul, with the Dutch ‘keeper saving well moments later, when Gera struck a fierce shot at goal.
With little more than half an hour gone, Mark Schwarzer was called into his first real moments of action, making an outstanding double point-blank stop to deny Carroll and then Newcastle captain Kevin Nolan as Newcastle threatened to break the deadlock.
Hughes again had to be alert to another diagonal knock up field to Carroll, with Nolan going close with another header from a Gutierrez cross shortly after.
As the half drew to a close, Johnson had the Fulham fans in attendance on their feet when his slalom run from deep carved open the Magpies’ defence. Unfortunately, the striker was denied by a last-ditch intervention by Fabricio Coloccini.
The second-half opened in similar fashion to the first, with the home side showing their intentions with Peter Lovenkrands moving Schwarzer into a smart stop inside three minutes.
A brilliant 20-yard half-volley from Carroll then forced Schwarzer to make an even better save five minutes later with Duff doing well to beat Guthrie to the rebound.
Against the run of play, a clever move involving Hangeland and Mousa Dembele freed Dempsey on the edge of the Newcastle area. The American touched the ball past Williamson before drawing a fine low save from Krul.
However, Newcastle responded positively, and the Whites needed Hangeland on hand once more, with the Norwegian making a vital header under pressure with Carroll and Nolan waiting in the six yard box.
With an hour gone it was the hosts that looked the most likely to make the breakthrough, with Mark Hughes moving to the edge of his technical area and issuing calming gestures.
His side certainly suggested a goal was in them, but it was the Magpies who again threatened, with Lovenkrands denied by another expert stop from Schwarzer.
A probing pass from Murphy did release Johnson at the other end on 70 minutes, but just as the striker was about to pull the trigger, Williamson slid in with the tackle of the afternoon.
From another positive spell, substitute Dickson Etuhu glanced a header off target moments after Dembele had rattled the Newcastle bar with a thundering close range volley.
With chances falling for both teams, the final 10 minutes grew somewhat tentative.
A goalmouth scramble saw the decibels inside St James’ Park rise late on, as Hangeland shoed the ball to safety, while Hughes blocked one goal-bound effort from Nolan.
Newcastle finished the game on top, but Fulham did enough to leave with a share of the points.