Damien Duff Image 1
Fulham 1-0 Newcastle United
DAMIEN Duff saved his first goal of the season to heap more misery on his old club tonight.
The ex-Toon winger, whose own goal at Aston Villa in 2009 relegated Newcastle, was booed by the Geordie faithful throughout
But Duff had the last laugh when he latched onto a Danny Murphy long ball and produced a fine low finish past Newcastle goalkeeper Steve Harper in the 67th minute.
It was a game that was crying out for a goal after a dour first-half that was a far cry from the thrills of Sunday's pulsating FA Cup thrashing of Spurs.
The closest the hosts came before the break was when Duff had a fine effort deflected just wide.
There was minimal threat from a Newcastle attack that was further blunted by Shola Ameobi leaving the fray early on after a clash with Andrew Johnson.
And at the other end Fulham boss Mark Hughes was off his bench claiming for a penalty after a challenge by Mike Williamson on Brede Hangeland.
But a turgid first-half exploded into life after the break when Duff missed a golden chance to open his account against his former club.
A fine run and shot from Clint Dempsey ended with Harper only palming the ball into the path of Duff, but he fired wide from close range.
Alan Pardew's men at last offered some attacking thrust when they worked an opening for Leon Best to head over and then Fulham defender Chris Baird had to be alert to clear a teasing Jonas Gutierrez cross.
But the Cottagers broke the deadlock in the 67th minute with a goal of alarming simplicity from Newcastle's perspective as their static defence failed to deal with a Murphy long ball from his own half and Duff pounced to slot home.
Fulham substitute Gael Kakuta missed a great chance to score his first goal since joining from Chelsea on loan, but he shot straight at Harper and then Dempsey was foiled by Harper after going clean through.
One was enough though to keep Fulham marching on away from the relegation zone.
Fulham: Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hangeland, Baird, Sidwell, Johnson (Kakuta), Murphy (Gera), Duff (Davies), Hughes, Dempsey, Dembele.