Two of the Best eases pain produced by Barton's departure

Newcastle United 2 Fulham 1

A pre-match airing of Morrissey's "Every Day Is Like Sunday" was the closest they came to marking the not inconsiderable void left by Joey Barton as Newcastle started life without The Smiths-loving midfielder. If subsequent sabbaths turn out like this one, then they are set to be happy in the haze of a drunken hour or two.

Perhaps the only downside for the hosts was the concession of a late consolation courtesy of a looping backward header from Clint Dempsey, Fulham's first in the Premier League this season and the only time so far Newcastle's defence has been found wanting in the league this term.

In fairness to the visitors, Tim Krul was called on to make three stunning second-half saves to keep his side, despite their turbulent build-up to the season, among the early-season pace-setters. "He's a young lad from my hometown," Fulham manager Martin Jol revealed. "He's a keeper I like a lot, but maybe not so much after that outstanding display."

One point from Fulham's first three games makes uncomfortable reading for Jol, who said: "If you create the number of chances we did then you should take something from the match."

It was his side's 11th game of a season already approaching its third month and he added: "It's been a tough week with three matches, but the players need to realise that the ball never gets tired."

Leon Best must never tire of facing teams from London. He made the most of a rare start to ensure that six of his eight appearances on the scoresheet for the club have come against opposition from the capital.

The second, shortly after the hour, was the pick, the Republic of Ireland international taking a sublime touch to kill a low cross from substitute Demba Ba, before turning to fire low past Mark Schwarzer. The Fulham goalkeeper was powerless on that occasion, but should have done better with Newcastle's first, three minutes after the restart. He could only push Yohan Cabaye's shot on to the bar, Best reacting first to bundle home.

"He still has to prove himself," Alan Pardew insisted, in an attempt to keep the forward's feet on the ground. The manager added: "For me he's never had a run where he's been able to say 'I'm the man'. He's got an opportunity now."

Newcastle's express start may make it more difficult for Pardew to persuade owner Mike Ashley to invest in the squad in before Wednesday's transfer deadline. Erik Pieters, the Dutch international Pardew thought would be coming to Tyneside before the weekend,instead featured for PSV Eindhoven yesterday.

"There's nothing that I want to disclose now," Pardew added. "We've lost Joey and we need to get some bodies in through the door."

Substitutes: Newcastle Ba 5 (Lovenkrands, 62,), Vuckic 6 (Best, 78), Smith (Vuckic, 85).

Fulham Johnson 6 (Kasami, 73)

Booked: Newcastle Simpson, Smith.

Fulham Sidwell.

Man of the match Best.

Match rating 7/10.

Possession: Newcastle 50% Fulham 50%.

Attempts on target: Newcastle 9 Fulham 9.

Referee K Friend (Leicestershire).

Attendance 42,684.

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
and  

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

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss