Newcastle 0 Fulham 1: Furious Shearer left on the brink by controversial goal
17 May 2009 10:06
Alan Shearer had never known such discomfort sitting in his pundit's chair on Match of the Day. Yesterday Newcastle's manager raged as his team slipped back into the relegation zone after a controversial goal by Diomansy Kamara.
But Shearer's dissatisfaction with referee Howard Webb and his assistants was over an equaliser by Mark Viduka that was ruled out for an infringement by Kevin Nolan.
Angry: Alan Shearer confronts referee Howard Webb at the final whistle.
Webb was the fourth official last week when Shearer made much of the television analysis of Newcastle's equalising goal against Middlesbrough.
Then, Nolan was shown to have impeded Matthew Bates when Steven Taylor headed into the net.
Yesterday Nolan was penalised by Webb, for a similar offence in the 49th minute and Viduka's effort was ruled out.
'We were very disappointed that goal was disallowed,' said Shearer. 'I've looked at the television replay of the incident and Nolan was standing in front of the keeper, which he is allowed to do.'
Webb's decision rubbed salt into Newcastle's wounds, especially after Kamara seemed to be offside as Erik Nevland's pass enabled him to shoot into the roof of the net for Fulham's goal.
Central defender Taylor was between Kamara and the goalline but goalkeeper Steve Harper was not.
Oddly, there was no argument from Shearer. 'He probably got that one right,' he said.
A closer examination of the goal might well change his mind.
A delighted Roy Hodgson said: 'It was a great win but Newcastle did well and we probably rode our luck at times.
'The way they played against us and Middlesbrough last week, they are well capable of going to Aston Villa and winning on the final day.'
For Shearer, the task is simple. 'What we have to do next Sunday is get a better result than Hull,' he said.
Fulham just edged it in the first half, although it was Newcastle who went closer to opening the scoring in the 15th minute when Obafemi Martins' close-range shot came back off a post.
Newcastle demonstrated effort in abundance but there was a dire shortage of genuine skill.
Any that was on offer came from Fulham, who also went close when Harper went full-length to clutch a shot from Zoltan Gera.
The second half was a different story with United at last pressing forward, at last demonstrating that they knew they needed something extra to get back into the game.
But their eagerness to push forward proved their undoing in the 59th minute when they were caught out.
The ball broke quickly in Fulham's favour and Bassong found himself losing a race for the ball with Kamara.
The defender was 35 yards out when he pulled his opponent back, but he was the last man and Webb had no option but to send him off.
Mark Viduka (No36) can't believe it as a goal is disallowed for a foul on Mark Schwarzer by Kevin Nolan
Fulham used their extra-man advantage to dictate the game, stroking the ball around to such effect that their fans celebrated with a few chants of 'Ol? It could have been a lot worse in the 70th minute but Harper made a spectacular save to push Nevland's shot over the bar.
In the 73rd minute when the ball was lost cheaply just outside the penalty area, Fulham were almost queueing up to score before Danny Murphy fired over the bar.
Martins raised Newcastle hopes in the 77th minute when Mark Schwarzer fumbled his acutely angled shot and Brede Hangeland booted clear from under the bar.
Schwarzer then made a terrific one-handed save from Nicky Butt in the dying seconds to complete the hard luck story of United's day.
Next Sunday will show whether it is also the story of their season.
NEWCASTLE (4-4-2): Harper; Beye, S Taylor, Bassong, Duff; Guthrie (R Taylor 62min), Butt, Nolan, Gutierrez (Lovenkrands 76); Martins, Viduka (Carroll 80). Subs (not used): Krul, Coloccini, Smith, Ameobi. Sent off: Bassong (60min).
FULHAM (4-4-2): Schwarzer; Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky; Dempsey, Etuhu, Murphy, Gera; Nevland (Johnson 75), Kamara. Subs (not used): Zuberbuhler, Zamora, Dacourt, Gray, Kallio, Baird. Booked: Murphy, Nevland, Dempsey.
Referee: H Webb (S Yorkshire).