LONDON: Fulham remain on the bottom of the table but the fightback has finally begun after a deserved 1-0 victory over Newcastle provided the first victory of Felix Magath’s English managerial tenure.
Substitute Ashkan Dejagah scored the goal, punishing a misjudgment by Newcastle keeper Tim Krul. Fulham also enjoyed some good luck after World Cup referee Howard Webb ‘missed’ a penalty in stoppage time when John Heitinga’s arm and blocked a shot.
Magath made five changes after the previous defeat by Cardiff, including dropping Sascha Riether and goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg to the subs’ bench.
His reward was Fulham’s first league win since collecting beating Norwich in mid-January. They moved to within one point of Cardiff but still four points from safety.
Magath said: “I do not care much about the other results. We have to do our work and we have to do our results. We were the better team. It will give us the confidence that we can avoid relegation. I’m convinced we can manage it. After this game and this victory I’m more than convinced.”
Fulham thought their goal had come earlier as twice in the opening 10 minutes of the second half they had the ball in Newcastle’s net only for Pajtim Kasami and Cauley Woodrow’s efforts to be ruled out for offside.
Woodrow put the ball in after Johnny Heitinga’s shot had bounced down off the crossbar and, replays showed, ‘only’ on to the line. Magath, an advocate of goal-line technology, had no complaints.
He said: “I’m glad that we have it here in the Premier League because that makes it more fair.”
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew had to watch the match from the team hotel after his seven-game ban for headbutting Hull midfielder David Meyler.