Dempsey in charge after Jol's reshuffle

Fulham 5 Newcastle United 2: Striker claims second-half hat-trick as revamped Fulham run riot in response to Newcastle opener

Craven Cottage

Fulham beat a 10-man Arsenal but contrived to lose to a similarly depleted Blackburn. So we shall never know how they would have fared if Lee Mason had numerically challenged Newcastle, as unquestionably the referee should have done, when Davide Santon committed the foul that led to an equaliser from the penalty spot.

Not that Fulham needed any help. Martin Jol's team proceeded to score four goals in less than a quarter of an hour, with the substitute Andy Johnson as influential as any striker could be without finding the net. Clint Dempsey assumed the bulk of responsibility for that, the American's late completion of a hat-trick taking his total for the season to 15. All hope for Newcastle had gone by the time Hatem Ben Arfa drove in their second.

It had been quite a transformation – bizarrely described by Jol, who said "the first half was a sort of Brixton, the second half like a holiday in Jamaica" – as initially, Alan Pardew's team ruled. They led at half-time through a fine goal from Danny Guthrie that, strange as it may sound, may have contributed to the home triumph.

It did in the sense that Bryan Ruiz, who gave the ball away before Guthrie struck, was replaced at the interval by Chris Baird in the shuffle that liberated Fulham's attack. Johnson was already on, for the injured midfielder Steve Sidwell, but Jol did his best work at the break and soon his side were rampant, Johnson slicing through with Dempsey and Bobby Zamora in repetitively lethal manoeuvres.

"I had already decided to play in a more direct style," Jol said. "With Andy Johnson on, we tried to get the ball in behind Newcastle and luckily it paid off. Up to then we hadn't exploited the space Newcastle leave behind them. But I compliment my players because not many teams will score five against Newcastle."

There had been further calls for a red card when Johnson tumbled over the harassed Tim Krul in earning Fulham's second penalty, but on this occasion Mason applied the criterion that the denied player must have remained in control of the ball at the point of impact. Zamora scored from the spot, as Danny Murphy had before.

Earlier, Newcastle were dominating as Champions' League aspirants might have been expected to. The absent Demba Ba would surely have taken advantage of porous defending – not that Fabrizio Coloccini looked short of composure in half-volleying a cross from Mike Williamson. David Stockdale saved. But for Newcastle's central defenders to be so active in attack told its own story. Sidwell, having taken a couple of knocks, gave away to Johnson and Fulham rearranged themselves. Yet the home fans were still restless and yelled in frustration when Ruiz, now in central midfield, dwelt on the ball.

Their dismay grew as Ben Arfa found Guthrie, who sent a left-footer dipping and raging past the helpless Stockdale from 22 yards. It was a marvellous first league goal of the season for the Guthrie, who does not get many. He needs one more to reach double figures before his 25th birthday in April.

The former Liverpool academy scholar has been blossoming under Pardew this season to the extent, he said recently, that he has started looking at England squads and wondering why he is not in them. But the way his afternoon deteriorated was symbolic of Newcastle woes. He was first shown a yellow card, for a foul on Dempsey, and then substituted in favour of James Perch 15 minutes from the end with the score 4-1.

For the second half, Jol installed the defensive qualities of Baird alongside Murphy, who began and finished the sequence that brought Fulham level. His drifting ball was edged by Damien Duff ahead of Santon, who brought him down. The referee had a choice of red or second yellow – Santon had pulled down Johnson seconds from half-time – and chose neither. Amazing.

Murphy put the penalty away. Then Johnson broke with Zamora, who beautifully tricked Coloccini and shot. Krul parried but only to Dempsey, from whose thigh the ball bounced into the net. Dempsey was soon surging through to beat Krul again, the outcome of a lovely combination between Johnson and Zamora, and once more Johnson played a part when he stayed on his feet despite a nudge from Coloccini, but had no option but to fall over Krul. Now Zamora converted the penalty.

After Ben Arfa's low drive past Stockdale, Dempsey sliced through again to score a goal almost identical to his first and departed a minute early to a standing ovation. No wonder Pardew cut a less jubilant figure, pointing out: "The Premier League is a place where you can't switch off." Newcastle did when the equaliser went in. "The reaction set us back. The unit at the back did not perform well enough and I can't think of any game when we've been as inefficient as we were today." No one had the heart to mention that they had also been lucky to keep 11 on the field.

Fulham (4-2-3-1): Stockdale; Kelly, Senderos, Hangeland, J A Riise; Sidwell (Johnson, 37), Murphy; Ruiz (Baird, h-t), Dempsey (Frei, 90), Duff; Zamora.

Newcastle United (4-2-3-1): Krul; Simpson, Williamson, Coloccini, Santon; Guthrie (Perch, 75), Cabaye (Gosling, 83); Ben Arfa, Gutierrez, Best (R Taylor, 85); Shola Ameobi.

Referee: Lee Mason

Man of the match: Dempsey (Fulham)

Match rating: 8/10

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk