Newcastle Utd 1 Fulham 2
NEWCASTLE UTD 1 FULHAM 2
NEWCASTLE UTD: Given, Carr, Bramble, Moore, Ramage, Duff,Parker (Butt 80), Emre, N'Zogbia, Ameobi, Martins (Rossi 72).
Subs Not Used: Harper, Solano, Sibierski.
FULHAM: Niemi, Rosenior, Knight (Bocanegra 78), Pearce,Queudrue, Diop (Radzinski 83), Brown, Bullard (Routledge 34),Boa Morte, John, McBride.
Subs Not Used: Lastuvka, Helguson.
... the failure to bring in this defender and striker we had been promised.
'Stop moaning' Toon fans were told by The Fat One, 'let's see and end to the doom and gloom' said the manager.
And as 50,000 Toon fans seem to know something Roeder and Fat Fred don't ... Newcastle went onto the park against a below-average Fulham and snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
Leading 1-0 with just eight minutes remaining, Scott Parker (a rare spark in a dull team) limped off and the Magpies capitulated as first Brian McBride and Carlos Bocanegra beat Shay Given to claim an unlikely victory.
I'm sure Roeder could barely believe his eyes, but the Mags have seen it all too often over the years. Individuals given a black and white shirt and told to get on with it. Totally left to their own devices in a team that is put out ... and left out to dry.
Where is the guidance? Please tell me. We have two strikers with pace that can run like 'shit off a stick'. You would expect the manager to pack the midfield, win the ball, and send Ameobi and Martins on their merry way. Is that too difficult? Well it seems to be at Newcastle.
Instead Roeder decides on the long-ball game. 'Hoof it in the middle' for new £10million signing Obafemi Martins and Shola and use them as battering rams. It was like watching Sheffield United, Watford or Wimbledon in the 1980s. Football gone back twenty years!
The was stadium filled with anticipation, and so it should be, and for the time being Roeder was given the benefit of doubt. United enjoyed the better of the game, but simply could not make the pressure tell because the tactics came from a 'Roy Of The Rovers' annual, and the final ball was not good enough.
There were chances, however, as Parker and Emre dominated a central midfield battle which lost the unfortunate Jimmy Bullard to what looked like a serious knee injury after a 32nd-minute clash with Parker. But the Fulham defence was rarely breached, and at the other end, Given had little to do.
Newcastle took the lead after 54 minutes. Emre curled an inviting ball into the box for Parker to meet it with a downward header which flew past Niemi and into the bottom corner.
Martins made way to warm applause for fellow newcomer Giuseppe Rossi with 18 minutes remaining, but the Magpies were made to pay for their earlier wastefulness when eight minutes from time McBride turned up at the far post to stab Routledge's cross past Given to level.
Newcastle were undone again with three minutes remaining when McBride headed Routledge's corner against the bar and Bocanegra bundled home the rebound.