Newcastle Utd 3 Fulham 1

Last updated : 20 January 2004 By Footymad Previewer

Two up at the break through Andy O'Brien and Gary Speed - playing his 396th top-flight game - Laurent Robert then took his tally into double figures for the season with a stunning overhead kick in his 100th United start.

Gallant Fulham - who played some pretty football without the cutting thrust - pulled back a late goal through the hard-working Sean Davis to see United concede their first goal of the year.

Just as they had in their last home game against Leeds, Newcastle once again scored in the fourth minute through the most unlikely of sources.

Robert's corner ran loose beyond the far post and was drilled back in on the turn by Jonathan Woodgate where his central defensive partner O'Brien turned to lash the ball high into the net.

Olivier Bernard then went close with a flying header from a move that he started and Robert saw a ferocious free-kick punched away by Edwin van der Sar.

Another Robert drive was tipped over before Fulham came more into the game without ever looking threatening.

A Robert free-kick then saw Woodgate slide in at the far post only to be denied by the legs of van der Sar as United searched for that important second goal.

It eventually arrived four minutes from the break from their sixth corner with Speed losing Alain Goma to nod in Nobby Solano's goal for his second strike of the season.

The match was as good as over on 54 minutes when Robert scored his tenth goal of the campaign to equal his haul in his first season at St James' Park.

Jermaine Jenas picked out Solano on the right who dinked in a great cross that saw Robert score with a stunning overhead kick as he flicked the ball across van der Sar.

Lee Clark - who received a standing ovation on his first return to Tyneside - fought hard to get Fulham back into the game in what was quickly becoming a damage limitation exercise.

And the former Geordie hero was involved in the move that ended with Davis beating Shay Given on 74 minutes with a shot that struck the upright before nestling in the net.

The goal shocked Newcastle and they failed to maintain their momentum, a point not missed by Robson.

"We went a bit flat at 3-0, probably thinking that the game was over and we became flat," he said after the match.

Newcastle: Given, Hughes, Woodgate, O'Brien, Bernard, Solano (Ambrose 84), Jenas, Speed, Robert (Viana 84), Dyer, Shearer (Ameobi 84). Subs Not Used: Harper, Bramble.

Fulham: Van der Sar, Djetou, Goma, Knight, Legwinski (Volz 18), Sean Davis, Clark, Malbranque, Bocanegra, Boa Morte, Hayles (Sava 66). Subs Not Used: Crossley, Petta, Green.

Attendance: 50,104.

Referee: N Barry (N Lincolnshire).