Fulham succumbed to a 0-4 defeat against Newcastle United on the last game of the 2018/19 season.
A quick-fire first half double from Jonjo Shelvey & Ayoze Perez saw the visitors take a commanding lead into the break before Fabian Schär nodded home to add the third in the 61st minute. In the 90th minute Salomón Rondón added a fourth to close out a comprehensive victory.
Scott Parker made two changes from the side that was edged out by Wolverhampton Wanderers a week ago at Molineux. Alfie Mawson made his first start for the Whites since December, replacing Tim Ream & Floyd Ayité started in place of Ryan Babel.
It was a beautiful sunny afternoon at the Cottage as the referee got the game under way. A sell-out for the last game of the 2018/19 season.
Fulham made a confident start and in the opening five minutes a whipped cross from the left flank by Joe Bryan was a fraction high for Mitro at the back post.
Despite the strong start it was the visitors who took the early lead through a superb set-piece. Shelvey had drifted into space on the edge of the Fulham box. A pinpoint cross picked out the midfielder and after taking a touch to stop the ball dead he lashed home an unstoppable half-volley into the roof of the net.
The visitors doubled their lead minutes later. Free flowing build-up culminated in the ball falling to Ayoze Pérez at the back post. His strong shot was parried by Sergio Rico in the Fulham net. With the ball waiting unattended six yards from goal Perez reacted well to slide home.
In the 17th minute Fulham came close to pulling one back. A half clearance was intercepted by Calum Chambers just outside the Magpies box. After fending off a challenge he sent a right-footed shot just wide of the post.
The Whites came close again the 22nd minute. A whipped cross from the right corner was met by the head of the unmarked Aleksandar Mitrović. The Serbian striker connected cleanly with his head but his effort clipped the outside of the post and went wide.
The frantic nature of the game slowly dissipated after the 30-minute mark and neither side were able to create any openings. We did not let our heads drop and continued to press and push up until the half-time whistle.
Fulham had a mountain to climb with 45 minutes to play.
As the referee got the second half up and running the sun remained out on a fine late afternoon by the banks of the Thames. Newcastle sat back and seemed contented to suck up and pressure and look to catch us on the counter as we committed more bodies forward.
In the 57th minute a scrappy sequence of play saw the ball fall kindly to André-Frank Zambo Anguissa at the back post. After steadying himself his effort from a tight angle the Cameroonian midfielder saw his shot well blocked by Jamaal Lascelles.
In the 62nd minute the result was put beyond doubt when Matt Ritchie swung in a dangerous corner from the left. His out-swinging cross was met by the head of Schär and his powerful downward effort flew into the back of the net.
With twenty minutes left on the clock and Newcastle looking composed and strong at the back Scott Parker introduced Harvey Elliott to look to add a spark from the wing. The Magpies rigid formation and structure proving hard to break down.
As the clock ticked down Newcastle remained dangerous on the counter and in the 86th minute Elliott came close to grabbing his first goal. After selling a defender on the edge of the Magpies box he fired low with his left foot but the shot was comfortably saved.
In the 90th minute grabbed a fourth for the visitors. After being played clean through he shot straight at Rico in the Fulham net. The Spaniard parried the effort but the striker was on hand to bend one in the far corner from a tight angle.
Not the result Scott Parker or the packed Craven Cottage would have hoped for in the Head Coach’s first game in charge.