Best proves there's life after Barton for Newcastle

Newcastle 2 Fulham 1

Leon Best emerged from the Tyneside shadows to prove there is life after Joey Barton as Newcastle maintained their unbeaten start to the Barclays Premier League season.

The Republic of Ireland international was asked to stand in for the injured Shola Ameobi and responded with a second-half double to reward manager Alan Pardew for his faith with the club's quest to land a another frontman ongoing.

However, the Magpies were indebted to keeper Tim Krul for three superb second-half saves from Steve Sidwell, Chris Baird and Danny Murphy before he was finally beaten for the first time in the new Barclays Premier League campaign by Clint Dempsey's 88th-minute header.

It was far from a vintage performance by the home side, but just as they did at Sunderland last weekend, they got the job done to bank another precious three points.

After yet another eventful week at St James' Park during which Barton's stand-off with the board came to a head and striker Nile Ranger was arrested, the club's fans voted with their feet, or at least a significant proportion of them did.

There were around 10,000 empty seats inside the stadium as the game kicked off, and while an attendance of 42,684 might be regarded as more than satisfactory at many clubs, the gaps on the terraces reflected the general level of dissatisfaction with the current state of play in the club's summer recruitment drive.

Matters were not helped by the injury to Ameobi which saw Pardew turn once again to Best and Peter Lovenkrands, and as Fulham dominated the early stages with the Magpies unable to compete in the middle of the field, the mounting frustration was almost tangible.

However, for all that the current squad may lack strength in depth, there is little shortage of courage and commitment and the fact that they were able to limit the visitors to a single shot on target, a 12th-minute Pajtim Kasami effort which was easily claimed by Krul, brought some comfort.

Newcastle were disjointed in the middle of the field and it was not until Cheick Tiote, who is gradually shaking off the after-effects of an interrupted pre-season, managed to make his presence felt that the Magpies began to push the Londoners back.

Pardew's side still struggled to create anything of note until the game exploded into life with the half-time whistle fast-approaching.

Winger Jonas Gutierrez forced Mark Schwarzer into his first save of the half with a 44th-minute header, and that was the cue for the home side to make a late push.

Former Magpie Aaron Hughes got in a vital block to deny Best after he had turned smartly inside the box, and Schwarzer had to tip a curling Yohan Cabaye effort over his crossbar.

From the resulting corner, the ball dropped to last weekend's derby hero Ryan Taylor, and his shot from 20 yards flew inches past the far post with the Fulham keeper stranded.

Newcastle returned with their momentum intact and forced their way in front within three minutes of the restart.

Schwarzer could only palm Cabaye's shot onto the crossbar after it had bounced nastily in front of him and Best when in the right place at the right time to tap home.

The lead might have been short-lived had Krul not been at his best with 56 minutes gone.

Damien Duff and Baird exchanged passes on the right before the winger sent in a cross which Steve Sidwell headed powerfully towards goal, only for the Dutchman to turn his effort onto the bar and enjoy better fortune than his opposite number as the ball went out for a corner.

Dempsey fired just wide from a tight angle and Duff blasted into the side netting with Fulham searching desperately for a way back into the game.

However, their hopes were dashed with 66 minutes gone when substitute Demba Ba controlled Gabriel Obertan's inviting pass and cross for Best to turn smartly inside the area and fire past Schwarzer.

Krul pulled off fine saves to deny first Baird and then Murphy as the Magpies fought stubbornly to protect their clean sheet.

But they found themselves under pressure once again as they conceded a series of late free-kicks, and their defences were finally pierced from one of them with two minutes remaining when Dempsey headed him from Murphy's cross.

Schwarzer tipped an injury-time piledriver from Ba onto the woodwork, but there was no way back for his side.

PA

Arts and Entertainment
books
Voices
Caustic she may be, but Joan Rivers is a feminist hero, whether she likes it or not
voicesShe's an inspiration, whether she likes it or not, says Ellen E Jones
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
Arts and Entertainment
The 'three chords and the truth gal' performing at the Cornbury Music Festival, Oxford, earlier this summer
music... so how did she become country music's hottest new star?
Life and Style
The spy mistress-general: A lecturer in nutritional therapy in her modern life, Heather Rosa favours a Byzantine look topped off with a squid and a schooner
fashionEurope's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln
News
Dr Alice Roberts in front of a
peopleAlice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Arts and Entertainment
Unsettling perspective: Iraq gave Turner a subject and a voice (stock photo)
booksBrian Turner's new book goes back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
News
The Digicub app, for young fans
advertisingNSPCC 'extremely concerned'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Some of the key words and phrases to remember
booksA user's guide to weasel words
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution