Newcastle Earns its First Win
By Blake Fogg
Hatem Ben Arfa’s late goal gave Newcastle United a 1-0 win over Fulham at St. James Park on Saturday.
The wing player sent a curling effort from the edge of the box to beat a helpless David Stockdale for Newcastle’s first victory of the season.
Alan Pardew rotated much of his side after the League Cup win over Morecambe during the week. Goal scorer Shola Ameobi kept his place in the squad and captain Fabricio Coloccini returned in defense.
Yohan Cabye was included in squad for the first time this season having been linked with a move away from St. James Park, while QPR loanee Loic Remy joined him on the bench.
Darren Bent made his first Premier League start for Fulham after his loan switch from Aston Villa, with Adel Taarabt being summoned to the bench.
Newcastle were the better side of the two teams testing Fulham’s goal early. Coloccini had a header from close range cleared off the line by John Arne Riise after four minutes.
But the game started level out as the game went on. Bent and Mathieu Debuchy sent efforts toward goal for home and away sides respectively.
Alex Kacaniklic was unlucky not to put the visitors ahead at the half-hour mark, when he latched on a long ball from the back. He scuffled his shot and was dispossessed by the covering Debuchy.
Papiss Cisse had a header go wide after a cross from Ben Arfa before the latter sizzled one over in the final moments of the half as Fulham survived the first half unscathed.
It took the two teams awhile to get a footing in the second half with the first effort coming in after the 61st minute, with Ben Arfa testing Stockdale with a dipping effort that he saved well. Ameobi also sent a flick header wide a moment later.
Riise tried to open the deadlock forcing Tim Krul to make a save with a free-kick but Newcastle remained in control of the match.
Newcastle upped the pressure as time went on with substitute Yoan Gouffran failing to convert Ben Arfa’s cross with 79 minutes gone.
Newcastle finally were able to take the lead five minutes from normal time left. The France international created a half-yard of space from the right side of the box to give his team their first win of the season.