Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Five-star Fulham down Magpies

Clint Dempsey (left)

Clint Dempsey's hat-trick helped Fulham to an impressive 5-2 defeat of Newcastle in the Barclays Premier League.

Having gone behind to a first-half Danny Guthrie screamer, the Cottagers came out firing in the second period. Danny Murphy and Bobby Zamora netted penalties either side of a Dempsey brace in a 16-minute period.

Hatem Ben Arfa pulled one back with the clock winding down, although Dempsey scored again at the last.

Newcastle dominated the first half and skipper Fabricio Coloccini directed a right-wing cross goalwards, only to be denied by David Stockdale. After Stockdale tipped wide a rasping Shola Ameobi effort, the England squad member could do nothing to stop a superb 25-yard strike by Guthrie as half-time approached.

Fulham earned a penalty six minutes into the second period when Damien Duff was brought down inside the box. Perpetrator Davide Santon avoided a second booking of the afternoon, but saw Murphy send Tim Krul the wrong way and slot home the resulting penalty.

The home side continued to press and, after neat interplay between Andrew Johnson and Zamora, Krul parried the latter's shot across goal and Dempsey bundled home at the far post.

Chris Baird fired a 35-yard effort over as the Cottagers pressed for a third, which came in the 65th minute. Again neat interplay between Fulham's strikers started the goal as Johnson laid off to Zamora and he played through Dempsey, who showed composure to fire across Krul.

Fulham netted a fourth three minutes later when Johnson shrugged off a rough challenge by Mike Williamson before being hauled down by Krul, who received a booking and was then beaten from the spot by Zamora.

Fulham sat back as the game wore on, allowing Jonas Gutierrez to fire a long-range effort straight at Stockdale. Newcastle did, though, pull a goal back five minutes from time as Ben Arfa jinked past John Arne Riise to fire home.

However, Dempsey soon ended any hopes of a comeback with his hat-trick goal. The Texan burst through the middle to latch onto a Zamora chipped pass and fire past Krul.

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