Ref justice for Toon
Newcastle 0-1 FulhamSoccer Saturday analysis Phil Thompson leapt to the defence of Howard Webb as his two major decisions helped condemn Newcastle to a disastrous home defeat at the hands of Fulham. The Sheffield official dismissed Sebastien Bassong in the second half and crucially wiped out what appeared to be a headed equaliser from Mark Viduka. Webb had already blown for a shove on Fulham keeper Mark Schwarzer and Newcastle players remonstrated with him while Shearer voiced his opinion at the final whistle. But Thompson believes both decisions were correct. "I would think there was minimal contact," he told Soccer Saturday. "Nolan is standing in front of Schwarzer but there is the slightest of contacts and he is looking for it, put it that way. "Straight away I could hear the whistle before Viduka headed it into the back of the net and Howard Webb can say he didn't know it was going to be a goal. It's hard to complain too much and it's hard to say he got it totally wrong. He's made contact and it's enough. "As for the red card, I think he got it bang on. It was a long ball and I was waiting for Steve Harper to come into the picture and make Bassong's mind up but he didn't. "The ball was going towards the corner of the area but he does grab hold of Kamara and as he's going away, he clips him as well - even though it was accidental. He got the red card for the drag back and Howard Webb got it spot on." Diomansy Kamara's winner also had a hint of off-side about it, but Thompson believes Newcastle should look a little closer to home when it comes to the blame game. The Toon had a host of chances to at least draw level, but now find themselves needing at least a point from the final game at Aston Villa to stand a chance of staging a great escape. "Martins had about three chances all with his right foot - and the first one hits the post and comes out," said Thompson. "Then there was a free-kick into the box and Schwarzer and Viduka went for the ball but it was Bassong that got back to get it off the line. The players were screaming that it was in but it wasn't. "The best one though, came in the last minute of normal time. It was a long free-kick from the goalkeeper from inside his own half and big Andy Carroll got up and the ball has come to Nicky Butt, who's busting a lung to get in the box. "He was sliding in with a defender and turned it towards goal but Schwarzer gets down well to his right-hand side and makes a fantastic save. "They put in fantastic effort Newcastle, being down to 10 men for the last half-hour, but it just wasn't to be."
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