Rodallega earns win but Berbatov display delights Fulham boss

FULHAM 2
NEWCASTLE UNITED 1

FULHAM manager Martin Jol hailed forward Dimitar Berbatov last night after his side ended a winless run of seven Premier League matches in an enthralling victory over Newcastle.

Midfielder Steve Sidwell put Fulham ahead with their first league goal in more than five hours, before Hatem Ben Arfa’s superb looping strike drew Newcastle level, but striker Hugo Rodallega headed the winner for the Cottagers on the hour.

Both sides subsequently hit the woodwork but the home team held on, leaving Newcastle still waiting for a first away win this season.

“He is unbelievable,” Jol said of Berbatov. “He worked everyone hard, he was on the left, the right, he was all over the pitch. Bryan Ruiz is the creative player, but he is injured so he [Berbatov] had to do another job.”

“I was so happy we could score the first goal, that was our problem the last couple of weeks. We should have scored at least two or three more. Berbatov should have scored.”

The win keeps Fulham 13th in the table but in touching distance of the top half whereas Newcastle remain 14th and struggling for form.

Former Newcastle winger Damien Duff set up both Fulham goals; first picking out Sidwell, who struck with a deflected effort from the edge of the area, but Berbatov should have shown more composure and increased their lead before the break.

Newcastle rarely threatened until Ben Arfa curled a spectacular 20-yard strike under the bar to level.

Duff’s free-kick then found Rodallega, who leapt highest to head past Tim Krul and clinch Fulham’s first three points since October.