Fulham 1-0 Newcastle United

6 Aug

Matt Smith


Matt Smith scored only two goals in 21 appearances for Fulham last season

Championship title favourites Newcastle United were beaten 1-0 by Fulham in the opening match of the 2016-17 season.

Matt Smith headed in Tom Cairney’s corner just before half-time to condemn the Magpies, relegated from the Premier League last season, to defeat.

The visitors had strong claims for a penalty before Smith’s goal but Ryan Tunnicliffe’s handball went unpunished.

Fulham goalkeeper David Button saved twice from Matt Ritchie, one of five Newcastle debutants at Craven Cottage.

Manager Rafael Benitez has spent close to £45m on eight summer signings but winger Ritchie and £10m striker Dwight Gayle were largely stifled by a Fulham side which finished 20th in the Championship last term.

England international Jonjo Shelvey was among the substitutes thrown on by Benitez in an attempt to get something from the game, but the hosts held firm.

Fulham offered a threat going forward, despite the departures of prolific strike partners Ross McCormack and Moussa Dembele during the summer, with new arrivals Sone Aluko and Floyd Ayite linking up well with Smith in attack.

Aluko’s appeals for a penalty after a possible push by Grant Hanley were ignored by referee Simon Hooper, while left-back Scott Malone fired just off target as Fulham chased a second goal.

Fulham head coach Slavisa Jokanovic told BBC Radio London: “My players were very organised, we stuck to the plan, we suffered together during the game and we deserve the good result.

“My job is here, and there are many big names like Newcastle, we’re a big name too. It’s an important competition with many clubs of big histories and both fans were really good tonight.

“This is only the start but we have to be ready for what comes next.”

Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez told BBC Newcastle: “At the beginning we were nervous, in the second half we made the wrong decisions.

“It’s a wake-up call. We will have games more difficult than this one.

“If we play for something more important than the first game of the season maybe the anxiety will be even higher, we need to make sure we can manage that and play better.”

Ex-Newcastle and England midfielder Jermaine Jenas told BBC Radio 5 live: “Fulham thoroughly deserved it.

“They marshalled the game as they wanted it to go, they picked their opportunities to attack and Matt Smith was the match-winner.

“For Newcastle, it’s back to the drawing board. It just didn’t go their way.”

Live Text

Match ends, Fulham 1, Newcastle United 0.

Second Half ends, Fulham 1, Newcastle United 0.

Daryl Janmaat (Newcastle United) is shown the yellow card.

Jamaal Lascelles (Newcastle United) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Lasse Vigen Christensen (Fulham).

Foul by Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle United).

Tom Cairney (Fulham) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle United).

Tom Cairney (Fulham) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt blocked. Matt Ritchie (Newcastle United) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Dwight Gayle.

Attempt missed. Lasse Vigen Christensen (Fulham) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Denis Odoi.

Offside, Newcastle United. Jamaal Lascelles tries a through ball, but Rolando Aarons is caught offside.

Substitution, Fulham. Tim Ream replaces Scott Malone.

Rolando Aarons (Newcastle United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Denis Odoi (Fulham).

Attempt missed. Adam Armstrong (Newcastle United) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

Substitution, Newcastle United. Jonjo Shelvey replaces Isaac Hayden.

Foul by Adam Armstrong (Newcastle United).

Scott Malone (Fulham) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt saved. Floyd Ayité (Fulham) left footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Tom Cairney.

Paul Dummett (Newcastle United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Paul Dummett (Newcastle United).

Denis Odoi (Fulham) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Substitution, Newcastle United. Adam Armstrong replaces Ayoze Pérez.

Attempt missed. Scott Malone (Fulham) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Floyd Ayité.

Substitution, Fulham. Scott Parker replaces Ryan Tunnicliffe.

Substitution, Fulham. Lasse Vigen Christensen replaces Matt Smith.

Grant Hanley (Newcastle United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Dangerous play by Grant Hanley (Newcastle United).

David Button (Fulham) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Dwight Gayle (Newcastle United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Denis Odoi (Fulham).

Attempt missed. Rolando Aarons (Newcastle United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.

Ayoze Pérez (Newcastle United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Tomas Kalas (Fulham).

Attempt saved. Matt Ritchie (Newcastle United) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Vurnon Anita.

Substitution, Newcastle United. Rolando Aarons replaces Jack Colback.

Attempt missed. Ayoze Pérez (Newcastle United) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Matt Ritchie with a cross.

Foul by Matt Ritchie (Newcastle United).

Denis Odoi (Fulham) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

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