Newcastle Utd 1 Fulham 0: Ben Arfa comes up trumps for Magpies

Newcastle United's Mathieu Debuchy (right) takes on Fulham's Alex Kacaniklic.
Newcastle United's Mathieu Debuchy (right) takes on Fulham's Alex Kacaniklic.

HATEM Ben Arfa scored a stunning goal to lift some of the gloom hanging over St James’s Park this afternoon.

The forward’s late effort gave Newcastle United a 1-0 win over Fulham.

Ben Arfa’s 86th-minute strike, which came after a second-half onslaught from United, ended the club’s 411-minute Premier League goal drought.

Summer signing Loic Remy - who came off the bench for his Newcastle debut - created the goal with crossfield pass 13 minutes into his United career.

The game also saw unsettled midfielder Yohan Cabaye make his first competitive appearance of the season.

Cabaye - who refused to play in the club’s opening three fixtures amid interest from Arsenal - was booed by some fans and applauded by others as he ran on to the field.

Newcastle were industrious enough in the half half. They created a series of chances, the first of which saw Papiss Demba Cisse stop a goal-bound effort from Fabricio Coloccini, who had met an early Sylvain Marveaux corner with his head.

An energetic Moussa Sissoko strolled past Brede Hangeland in the 11th minute, but his shot was blocked.

Mathieu Debuchy tried his luck from distance at the halfway point in the half, but his fierce drive was struck directly at Fulham goalkeeper David Stockdale.

An out-of-sorts Cisse put a free header from a delightful Debuchy cross wide late in the half.

Pardew didn’t make a change at the break, and his team had Fulham on the back foot in the second half, with Hatem Ben Arfa, in particular, a threat from midfield, though he couldn’t find the target.

Shola Ameobi put a header narrowly wide from a Davide Santon cross in the 63rd minute.

Pardew sent on Cabaye and Yoan Gouffran in the 66th minute - they replaced Vurnon Anita and Shola Ameobi - and the former was booed by many fans as he ran on to the field.

Cabaye’s first act was to commit a foul, and Bryan Ruiz, a United target two years ago, soon tested Krul with the resulting free-kick.

Remy was thrown on for the last 16 minutes, and Newcastle cranked up the pressure on Martin Jol’s side. Cisse struck the crossbar with a header, and Ben Arfa and Gouffran also missed the target.

But the team’s pressure finally told four minute from time.

Ben Arfa, stood to the right of the visiting box, took a ball from Remy on his chest, cut inside and lashed a fierce shot past Stockdale with his left foot to claim all three points for United.

Twitter: @milesstarforth

NEWCASTLE UNITED: Krul; Debuchy, Coloccini, Yanga-Mbiwa, Santon; Ben Arfa, Anita (Cabaye, 66), Sissoko, Marveaux (Remy, 74); Shola Ameobi (Gouffran, 66), Cisse. Subs not used: Elliot, Dummett, Gosling, Sammy Ameobi.

FULHAM: Stockdale; Riether (Briggs, 73), Hangeland, Hughes, Riise; Kacaniklic, Sidwell (Rodallega, 89), Parker, Ruiz; Berbatov, Bent (Taarabt, 83). Subs not used: Etheridge, Karagounis, Duff, Boateng.

Goals: Ben Arfa 87

Bookings: Parker 45, Riise 76, Cabaye 82, Ben Arfa 87

Referee: Chris Foy (St Helens)

Attendance: 46,402 (460 Fulham)