Newcastle United 1 Fulham 0 match report: Hatem Ben Arfa strike gives Alan Pardew a lift

A late winner brings relief for Newcastle, as Yohan Cabaye gets a mixed reception on his comeback

st james' park

It is getting on for five months since Papiss Cissé struck a winning goal against Fulham, deep into injury-time. Back then, the relief for Alan Pardew was so great that he ran into the welcoming arms of delirious supporters. He was eventually rescued by a club steward, bedraggled but triumphant. The win was significant because it was an attempt to stem the growing spectre of relegation.

Yesterday, the 93rd minute was swapped for the 86th minute. The 32nd game of the season was swapped for the third. The concerns of Newcastle supporters have already begun to swamp the club. Their recruitment policy has become a joke. The manager, the chief scout and the director of football all compete for air time with the owner as to who should arrive.

In the 86th minute, Hatem Ben Arfa cut inside the Fulham pairing of John Arne Riise and Alex Kacaniklic and smashed a left foot shot into the empty side of David Stockdale's goal. Those memorable scenes from April were not repeated, but goals against Fulham to guarantee a one-nil victory do not usually meet such a reaction.

This time, Pardew turned and raised a fist towards the main stand at St James' Park. It was in the direction of the Newcastle directors' box, that these days holds no Newcastle directors. Being defiant is what Pardew will cling to. It could prove to be a massive goal or it may just bring a stay of execution.

What happens next at Newcastle is generally a mystery. Yohan Cabaye (right), the former Newcastle vice captain who refused to play against Manchester City on the first day of the season because the longed-for bid from another club had finally arrived.

He has been unhappy at the club for a long time, annoyed that they did not invest in the summer of 2012, after they had finished fifth. He feels the club has gone backwards and only a loan signing has arrived so far during the transfer window.

They are the same concerns of the supporters, but he was jeered when he came onto the field in the 66th minute, at which point nothing of significance in the game had taken place. There were cheers as well, and the song which urges Mike Ashley not to sell Cabaye was sung by two different parts of the ground.

There is a lack of direction throughout the club. In the 74th minute, Loic Remy, the signing spotted by the Newcastle chief scout Graham Carr, and who Joe Kinnear now claims he pushed through the loan deal for this summer, came on. Remy turned Newcastle down in January because Queens Park Rangers offered more money. His reception was rapturous.

At that point, in what was yet another hour of need, Pardew had a front six of Carr's signings – Cissé and Remy upfront, Yoan Gouffran on the left, Moussa Sissoko and Cabaye in the middle and Ben Arfa on the right.

Newcastle suddenly had direction and drive. Ben Arfa crossed from the left for Cissé to head against the crossbar in the 78th minute. Two minutes later he teed up Gouffran, who missed a glaring chance from close range, for the second week running. In the 86th minute he grabbed the winner himself.

"I was pulling my hair out with Hatem today," admitted Pardew. "He was making bad selections with his passes. He was not doing what we wanted him to do in the wide area.

Then the goal was fantastic. That is Hatem. He makes us slightly disfunctional at times but he can win us the game at any level. It was an important goal, I thought we were terrific in the second half. We put a bit pressure on them."

Pardew also agreed with the criticism of Cabaye from Newcastle's supporters. "The fans called it right today," he added. "Half were saying we're not sure about what you've done, the other half were pleased to see him.

"I think that was good and fair. To be fair to Yohan, because he is so focused on his game he put it all to one side and played a normal game. That takes some doing. Hats off to him.

"I won't know until 11 o'clock if he is going. We've told his agent, play the game. We have to replace him if he goes, we can't afford to replace him before he goes. That bid needs to come in early, if not it won't happen. I think it won't happen but you can never tell with this football club."

Fulham were a largely forgotten sub-plot, though there was a rare bite from Martin Jol. "They scored one goal and they were over the moon and they thought they'd played great," he said. "We should have got at least a point."

Newcastle (4-4-2): Krul; Debuchy, Coloccini, Yanga-Mbiwa, Santon; Ben Arfa, Sissoko, Anita (Cabaye, 66), Marveaux (Remy, 74); Ameobi (Gouffran, 66), Cissé.

Fulham (4-2-3-1): Stockdale; Riether (Briggs, 73), Hughes, Hangeland, Riise; Sidwell (Rodallega, 89), Parker; Ruiz, Berbatov, Kacaniklic; Bent (Taarabt, 82).

Referee: Chris Foy.

Man of the match: Ben Arfa (Newcastle)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Reimagined: Gwyneth Paltrow and Toni Collette in the film adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma
books
Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan
Cannes 2015Dheepan, film review
Sport
sport
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
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

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine