Robson piles new troubles on Tigana

Newcastle United 2 Fulham 0: Newcastle's rise to fourth spells imminent danger for the Fulham manager

Nobody has suffered more than Bobby Robson as a manager at Fulham. It was at Craven Cottage that the Peter Pan of football management launched his long career (after a spell nominally in charge of Vancouver Royals, whom he left without overseeing a game because the club's money ran out). Eleven months into the Fulham job, he was on his way home from the ground one night when he saw an Evening Standard billboard bearing the news: "Robson Sacked". It was the first he knew about it.

At least Jean Tigana can see the end coming – whenever that might be. Robson may well have hastened the process, his Newcastle side having inflicted a defeat that added to Tigana's troubles, with the Steve Marlet transfer affair gathering momentum and, by all accounts, Mohamed Al Fayed fast losing patience with his French manager.

Much of the damage at St James' Park yesterday was self-inflicted, though, Edwin van der Sar gifting the opening goal to Nolberto Solano and Pierre Wome getting himself sent off for a dreadful challenge on Andy Griffin. Tigana's men couldn't even take advantage of a rare penalty miss by Alan Shearer. They couldn't even force a save from Shay Given.

Not that their one-time manager had reason to care. Robson's Newcastle are up to fourth place in the Premiership now. "We're not quite up there with the other three," Robson said. "But you never know, if we keep giving performances like that. And those three clubs have got to come here yet. It won't be easy for them."

It certainly won't. Newcastle have won eight of their nine matches in the Premiership at St James' this season. Tigana's hopes of raiding the Toon fortress were not exactly enhanced by an abundance of attacking weaponry. With Louis Saha, Luis Boa Morte, Facundo Sava and Barry Hayles all on the injured list, Steed Malbranque was pressed into emergency front-line service alongside the much-maligned Marlet. Fulham's last line of defence, however, was equally woeful yesterday.

As a graduate of the Ajax academy, Van der Sar could at least be expected to kick a ball with accuracy, but the veteran goalkeeper was well off the mark with the clearance he attempted from the left edge of his area in the eighth minute. He was under some pressure from Craig Bellamy, but still had a clear swing at the ball only to hoof it directly to Solano, who controlled it with his chest before lofting a scoring shot over the stranded Dutchman. Tigana looked in danger of swallowing his toothpick, and his mood on the visitors' bench was hardly improved as Newcastle proceeded to shift into all-out attacking mode.

For the next 20 minutes the black-and-white tide seemed unrelenting. Sean Davis did steer a 20-yard shot a foot or two wide, but at the other end the chances were coming thick and fast. Shearer directed a header into the side- netting, and Van der Sar saved from Bellamy and Shearer, twice, before flirting with disaster for a second time. Rushing to gather a ball on the left edge of his area, the Dutchman was almost beaten by Rufus Brevett's misguided attempt to head the ball back to him, parrying it to Solano, whose goal-bound chip was only hooked clear by the back-tracking Andy Melville.

Fulham rode out the storm to dictate the play for the quarter of an hour before the interval. They created just the one opening, though, Sylvain Legwinski ("Monica" to his team-mates) stabbing a shot over the bar from 15 yards. Their fate looked to be sealed when Alan Wiley pointed to the spot two minutes into the second half, Kieron Dyer having been held back by Davis as he raced into the Fulham area – only for Shearer to send his penalty high, wide and not very handsome. "We're getting some builders in to repair the stand," was Robson's wry comment afterwards.

Shearer had a penalty saved by Van der Saar at Craven Cottage last season and he has never scored against Fulham. He was denied another chance shortly after his miss yesterday when Van der Sar raced out of his area to challenge the Newcastle captain. The Fulham 'keeper was booked for his successful effort and suffered a foot injury that led him to make way for Maik Taylor in the 61st minute.

He was not the only Fulham player to depart, Wome having been shown a red card for an attempt to cut off Griffin at the knees. It could have finished four- or five-nil after that, but Newcastle scored just the once more, Bellamy burying a left-foot drive in the 70th minute.

"We just have to keep working and keep our spirits up," Tigana said. The next stop for him and his stuttering team is West Ham on Boxing Day. "It's a very, very important game for the club," he said. "We've got to make sure we stay in this league. That's our priority."

A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home