It was one of the best away performances ever put in by the Club - a defensive performance unlike any other in Fulham’s history and a four-goal hammering of Newcastle United up north.
Things had not begun that well in the 2004/05 season and when we travelled to St James’ Park in November we were winless on the road. With veteran goalkeeper Mark Crossley in between the posts and a new manager, Graeme Souness, breathing life into the Magpies it was a tough time to travel and hopes were not high of what would be considered an upset.
Immediately, Newcastle were on top and Crossley was left in no doubt that it would be a busy day. He parried a powerful right-foot drive from Lee Bowyer as early as the third minute, and then made a similarly fine save seconds later as the loose ball fell to Craig Bellamy. Bowyer was denied once more as Crossley’s boot deflected his shot wide on 13 minutes and he then dived at full stretch to stop Robbie Elliott’s header from Olivier Bernard's cross.
Then, incredibly, we were ahead. A quick break up the pitch on 28 minutes and Collins John's fine low strike from the edge of the box put us 1-0 up. The home fans were furious as Alan Shearer appeared to have been pushed by Zat Knight, but they would even angrier a few moments later as the Newcastle man was denied a penalty and Souness was ordered from the touchline for his protests.
Crossley was in action again on 38 minutes as he made a remarkable point-blank stop from Patrick Kluivert as the Dutchman followed up Bellamy's shot – hitting the keeper in the face. After the break it was more of the same: Laurent Robert was denied from a free-kick; Kluivert again from a low drive.
“I remember a clip on television when Patrick Kluivert looked at me and he’s saying ‘you’re meant to save the ball with your hands, not your head,’” Crossley recalled to the official website in June. “So I turned around to him and said ‘you’re meant to put the ball in the corners!’”
And we made Newcastle pay. A breakaway goal on 65 minutes came as Andy Cole moved clear on the left and passed inside to Steed Malbranque who finished brilliantly from the edge of the box. It was 2-0, but more was to come.
Four goals in 12 minutes arrived as Elliott clumsily fouled Tomasz Radzinski in the box and watched Malbranque slot home the penalty, then Luis Boa Morte chipped over Steve Harper to make it 4-0. By the time Newcastle eventually beat Crossley through a Bellamy header, it was far too late and after our goalkeeper had the last word with more saves from Kluivert and Bellamy, the points were, somewhat incredibly, ours.
"If we had won 7-4 today, would that be unfair?" Souness asked quizzically after the game. "Some of our football going forward was fantastic. We had 26 shots, 20 on target, but lady luck was not with us. We have come up against an inspired goalkeeper - Mark Crossley played the finest game of football of his career today."
From the archives
The Guardian - Monday 8th November 2004
'Souness sent off to end Newcastle honeymoon' by Michael Walker
"The first chants of "Souness out" were heard yesterday. They were ironic and came from Fulham fans, but if this sort of thing continues, it will be the home support calling for Graeme Souness next. Honeymoons do not last forever. There will be all sorts of statistics used to defend Souness and Newcastle after this - a corner count of 19-0 to Newcastle being pretty persuasive evidence of their dominance, while Billy The Fish has had worse games than Mark Crossley in the Fulham goal. But the result was still a thumping, no matter how strange."