Live: Fulham 2 Newcastle 1

Great game from Craven Cottage - Fulham took a deserved lead through Steve Sidwell's deflected effort, only for Hatem Ben Arfa's long range strike to catch them - and goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer in particular - out. However, the hosts found a winner when Damien Duff's superbly-taken free-kick was headed home by Hugo Rodallega. Thanks for your company.

And there goes Lee Mason's whistle. Fulham hang on for three points, Hugo Rodallega's second-half header proving enough to stretch Newcastle's winless run on the road to 14 games.

Coloccini's cross from the left drifts into Schwarzer's arms - and that should be that.

Duff heads for the corner flag and wins a free kick. Just a moment before that Berbatov had pulled a ball out of the sky like he had chewing gum on his boots. What a mercurial talent he really is.

Marveaux swings in the set piece but it's too short, meaning Fulham can head clear comfortably.

Gutierrez this time opts to go with the outside of his right foot from the left flank, sending in a low cross that is failed to be picked up by any of his team-mates. Schwarzer is grateful to grip it to his chest.

Four minutes of added time to be played...

Gutierrez works enough space to whip in a cross from the left but it's just behind Ba, meaning he can't direct it on target.

Now it's the woodwork at Newcastle's end that is hit! Sidwell fights hard to retain the ball on the edge of the box, teeing up Petric for a left-footed drive that clips the top of the bar with Krul well beaten.

Ba gets space in the box but his heavy touch on his right foot takes him wide of goal, meaning his shot is comfortably blocked by the covering Hughes.

Switch for Fulham, too. Rodallega gets a good hand for the home fans as he's replaced by Petric. Hosts look likely to stay with two up top in the closing stages.

Newcastle make a double change to try and find an equaliser - Bigirimana and Marveaux on for Tiote and Anita.

Santon swings in a sharp cross from the left wing with his right foot, but there's no Newcastle player able to get a touch on it to put the ball past Schwarzer. Pressure mounting, though...

Newcastle have scored four times in the last 10 minutes of matches this season - it was nearly five when Ba gets enough space on the left side of the box to strike at goal, though his effort just doesn't have enough power to get beyond the diving Schwarzer. The 'keeper - who has had a mixed night - does well to hold onto the ball, too.

Ameobi works himself a yard of space on the edge of the box with a neat flick, then wastes the opportunity by scuffing his left-footed shot straight along the deck to Schwarzer.

Fulham having their chances on the counter, but the final ball, or in this case the final touch from Dejagah, is letting them down. Surely this can't finish 2-1?

Ba leaves the set piece to Santon (how did he win that argument?) and then watches the full-back fluff into straight into the wall. Not even sure it had enough power on it to reach the goal.

Free-kick to Newcastle about 35 yards out and central to goal when Sidwell clips Gutierrez's right leg.

Santon's error in letting a deep cross go beyond him nearly lets in Fulham for a third, Dejagah and Berbatov combining on the right to tee up Sidwell. Again, though, his strike is sent sailing way, way into the Newcastle fans behind the goal.

Hangeland wins yet another header at the back - what a pivotal part of this Fulham team he is.

Woodwork rattled again! Fulham are indebted to the section between post and bar after Coloccini (yes, you read that correctly) had cut in onto his right foot and bent a 20-yarder at goal that looked in all the way. Schwarzer was left rooted to the spot.

Slightly surprising to see Ben Arfa coming off, though Newcastle won't want to take many risks with his fitness. Shola Ameobi is on in his place for the last 20 minutes or so.

Take back what I said about Rodallega - he's been superb in this second half for Fulham. In contrast, his strike partner Berbatov is enduring a somewhat frustrating evening.

Skybet update: It's really end-to-end now, can anyone call this? Newcastle are by no means out of things, but they're 16/1 with Sky Bet to come back again and win, or 7/2 to snatch a draw. Papiss Cisse, incidentally, is 8/1 to score next.

Cisse rattles the post in a rare moment when he's involved in proceedings, only while the left upright is still shuddering the referee's whistle sounds to point out the forward was offside.

End-to-end now. A cross from deep looks likely to let Ben Arfa have a go at goal, only he tries - and fails - to take it down, rather than put his left peg into action. Then, within seconds, Fulham break at the other end and Rodallega nearly gets through on goal. Fantastic finish in store...

If your postman is like Duff, you've no need to worry about delivery problems over the festive period. The winger's set piece was sublime, giving Krul no chance to come for it as Rodallega ran in to head it home.

HUGO RODALLEGA! Duff's free-kick from the right leaves the former Wigan forward with the easiest of jobs to nod the ball beyond the stranded Krul. Duff enjoyed that, turning to face the Newcastle fans after seeing the ball hit the back of the net.

First change of the night - Kacaniklic makes way for Dejagah for Fulham.

Krul again to the rescue for Newcastle, particularly Simpson. The full-back loses possession to Berbatov, who roles in Sidwell for a chance at goal. However, the visiting goalkeeper is off his line like a bat out of hell, closing down the midfielder and blocking his low attempt with his legs.

Nice counter from Fulham, Riise breaking down the left in the space left by Simpson before clipping in a cross to Rodallega. The forward chests it down cleverly into the path of Sidwell, who then proceeds to lash it way over the bar. Berbatov not happy - he wanted that cross to come all the way across to him as he burst forwards.

Newcastle fans cheer loudly when Duff falls over in the right corner under pressure from Santon, meaning the ball rolls out harmlessly off the Fulham man. He's not the most popular of ex-Newcastle players, is he?

Ba tries his luck from long range now, only this time Schwarzer watches it safely into his hands low to his right.

Corner to Newcastle - no doubting which team is on top now.

Ben Arfa also found the net at Craven Cottage last season. Belting effort from about 20 yards out on the angle, but Schwarzer helped him out hugely.

HATEM BEN ARFA! What. A. Strike. Nothing on, stuck wide on the right flank, he takes aim and fires in beyond Schwarzer with his left foot. The problem for the goalkeeper was that he'd taken a step or two from his line expecting the cross. Instead he's picking the ball out the back of his net and we're all square.

Newcastle pushing Fulham back for the first time since the break. Crosses coming in from both flanks, but on each occasions they are over-hit.

Good link-up play between Rodallega and Berbatov puts the latter into space in the left channel. There are team-mates waiting for a cutback, but he instead tries to force the ball in above Krul from a tight angle. It hits the side-netting, though the Fulham fans at the other end of the ground thought it had gone the right side of the post. It hadn't, so it remains 1-0.

Kacaniklic's cross hits Simpson, bringing about the first corner of the second half. Good old battle between those two out wide, Newcastle full-back probably currently ahead on points.

Stats reveal it's eight attempts at goal apiece, with three each on target.

Anita fires in a powerful effort but it's always rising, meaning Schwarzer doesn't have to be too worried about it.

Rodallega gets the ball in a tackle on Gutierrez, the only problm being he has to go through the Newcastle midfielder to do so. Free-kick to the visitors, Hugo continues to struggle to get into this game.

And we're back underway at Craven Cottage...

Hope for Newcastle - Fulham have conceded 26 goals in 15 games before tonight. AND, only Wigan have lost more home fixtures.

Chris is enjoying the humour during the commentary (I didn't realise there was any). It could be down to the fact I'm on my second glass of eggnog. Tough to turn it down, seen as we're in nog season. It's egg-stremely tasty (sorry, I'll get my coat).

With these betting updates Jamie Casey is really spoiling us - here's the latest: "Sky Bet have a number of half-time price boosts, including Demba Ba to score next, with Fulham and Newcastle to draw 1-1 available at 20/1."

James Jelly on Twitter: "Every time you write Riether, all I can imagine is you're saying Riise with a lisp! can you not call him by his first name?". Whatever I call him, he's had a Reith-er good first half.

Watching the replays at the break, that save from Krul when Berbatov was through on goal really was excellent. He stood up, forcing the striker to eventually shoot, then knocked it clear with a strong right arm.

Yet more Xmas gifts from Geordie Jane. "Newcastle down by 1-0 at HT Ba-humbug". That's enough now, otherwise the powers-that-be will realise you're better suited to this job than me...

Jamie in New Zealand expects this to finish 2-1 to Fulham. The man in tights to get the home side's second, with Newcastle's goal coming from Ameobi off the bench (not actually off the bench, as that's not allowed).

That Sidwell goal finally broke Fulham's goal drought. It had been five hours and 17 minutes since their last in the Premier League. That's longer than it takes Santa to deliver presents all over the UK...

Fulham 1 Newcastle 0 - Lively half. Fulham deserved to go ahead when they did, Sidwell's right-footed drive being deflected beyond Krul, and they could have had more in a bright opening. However, Newcastle grew into the half and twice see Reither deny them on the line.

Again Fulham are indebted to the man on the post, and again it's Reither who is in the right place to block away Ba's low drive. It all came about after Schwarzer had flapped at the corner, allowing the ball to break to Newcastle's top-scorer beyond the far post.

Another Newcastle corner - Anita tricked Riise a treat on the left wing, dinking the ball over his head to reach the byline.

Gutierrez sees a deflected right-footed effort go wide for the corner. He did, however, have two players supporting to the right, and neither of them look like they'll be sending the Argentine a Christmas card after he ignored them.

A slice from Reither draws ironic cheers from the Newcastle crowd. The visitors are beginning to grow into this match.

Berbatov's clever pass into Sidwell in space sets Fulham on the charge again, and the midfielder ignores the offside Rodallega to instead play in the charing Riise. He takes his time, lines up a left-footed effort, then smashes it way over the bar. And that, people, is why it's been six years since he scored a Premier League goal (that and a stint in Italy with Roma).

Berbatov's lovely touch sets free the lively Kacaniklic, who drifts in a cross from the left that is just a fraction too close to Krul.

Newcastle launch a break but Cisse stops his run, meaning Ben Arfa's slide-rule pass runs safely through to Schwarzer.

Ben Arfa has just volleyed an attempt at goal with his left foot that may well make it all the way to Newcastle...

So close! Fulham caught cold by Coloccini's late run into the box, the defender slamming in a header that would have nestled in the top right corner had Reither not been there on the line to clear.

Newcastle's best hope of a goal seems to be to get Schwarzer to clear the ball from a back pass. Again he makes a mess of his clearance, looping it up in the air to Tiote. The break is dealt with on two occasions by Hangeland, though at the expense of a corner.

Newcastle survive another close shave. Reither overlaps down the right and hammers in a low cross that Krul palms away. However, the loose ball breaks to Berbatov and he twists on the volley to strike, the goalkeeper getting back up to partially block the effort before a defender hacks it clear on the line.

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew seems to be waving his hands from the touchline to suggest a change of shape for the visitors. Either that, or he's trying to get someone to ask Berba where he got those fetching black tights from. Tough first 30 minutes for the Toon.

Two quick corners in succession for Fulham, both from the left and both taken by Duff. Eventually Newcastle get the ball out, though it's all hands to the pump right now. Great noise from the home fans - Craven Cottage is always one of those grounds that suits night matches.

Santon tries his luck from distance - he shouldn't have bothered. Leads me nicely into Geordie Jane's Christmas pun - she'd like to sit on Sant-on's knee and tell the full-back she's been a good girl.

Ba has now drifted out to the right, giving Cisse a go down the middle. Anita tries to find the forward with a cross from deep, but it's again too heavy and easu for Schwarzer to deal with.

Darren says Newcastle look well out of shape tonight. "Easy three points to fulham - mabye its Berba's leggings putting them off"

Coloccini does well down the right channel, showing good strength and speed to see out the danger when Rodallega threatens to get in on the end of Sidwell's low pass.

Fulham are now 1/3 on to hold onto their lead and take three points here. There's still a long way to go, though, and Newcastle are 7/1 to turn this one on its head.

Should've been two! Newcastle are careless in possession, giving Berbatov the ball just inside their own half. A deft touch takes him beyond Coloccini and he's in on goal. With so much time you'd back the striker, but Krul does well, standing up as long as possible before blocking the shot that's straight at him.

SIDWELL SCORES! It had been coming. Again it all develops down the right, Duff getting in on the end of Rodallega's slide-rule pass that Coloccini can't quite cut out. The pull back finds Sidwell, whose first-time effort strikes Williamson and goes up over the diving Krul.

First real chance, and it goes to Fulham. Duff is caught beyond Santon and his left-wing cross falls nicely to Rodallega, who opts to chest the ball down and try an acrobatic volley. It ends up 15 yards over the bar.

Shots at either end of the field - Anita and Baird both suggest their wearing boots shaped like Toblerones with their efforts.

Schwarzer makes amends for a scuffed clearance by diving out bravely at Ba's feet to deal with a low, whipped-in cross from Cisses on the right flank. Poor clearance, great hands.

Baird takes the set-piece and fizzes it in at a rare old pace. Few seem keen to head the ball and eventually hits Hangeland at the far post, rebounding off him as if he's made of stone.

Good defending from Simpson on the right, though it comes at the expense of a corner.

Berbatov penalised for making a tackle. A TACKLE! Don't think he's not manly just because he's in leggings. Gutierrez is caught with the Bulgarian's studs a little high, though perhaps didn't need the third roll on the floor to prove his point.

Lee Mason blows his whistle for a rare free-kick. If he needs suggestions for fancy dress ahead of the referee's Christmas party, Mr Mason should look no further than Grant Mitchell from Eastenders.

The Sidwell strong tackle count is already at three - that man doesn't mind putting his foot in.

Newcastle managed to keep possession for more than 15 seconds, Simpson heavily involved down the right. The full-back wins a couple of throw-ins before knocking in a cross that Schwarzer comfortably collects.

Berbatov is floating about in his leggings, always looking to come short for the ball. Fulham work it around well before Reither's early cross from the right is straight into Krul's arms.

Good corner from Duff, drifting in to the near post where Baird flicks it on. Sadly for Fulham, though, it's into the path of a Newcastle defender only. The visitors clear their lines.

Corner to Fulham as Duff's cross is blocked by Gutierrez.

Lively start from both sides - now noticed Berbatov is not only in gloves but also leggings. Perhaps they were an early Xmas gift from someone...

A free-kick floated in from the left tempts Schwarzer to come from about a mile out to try and make a punch. He fails to get close, and is therefore a little lucky when the return ball in is headed way over by Williamson.

Shouts for a penalty when Kacaniklic, breaking into the middle from out wide on the left, goes down in the area as he runs in towards Krul's goal. Referee Lee Mason, however, waves away the appeals, insisting the Fulham man had tripped over the ball.

The hosts don't waste long to get on the attack, the ball breaking wide to the right for Duff to swing in a dangerous-looking cross with his left foot. Simpson does well to clear at the back post.

And we're off (after a change of ends at the toss)! Fulham begin proceedings - Berbatov in gloves.

Players heading out of the tunnel/corridor at Craven Cottage - Newcastle in a burgundy-type number tonight as they go in search of their first away league win of the campaign.

Dan in Spennymoor - "I think it will be a 3-2 win for Newcastle with Ben Arfa back he will bring a bit of spark into the squadd. Ba(2) and Ben Arfa with the goals."

Anita getting a bit of stick from Newcastle fans already. Haven't seen too much of him since he arrived, except for the game against Wigan last week. I actually thought he played pretty well, too, and so did manager Alan Pardew.

And here's Daniel Nolan (any relation to Kevin? Do you have a lot of sisters?) "Hi Rob, hoping for a Newcastle win. 2-1 I think - Ba and Ben Arfa scoring. I think Marveaux is unlucky not to be starting based on the last couple of games. Don't think much of Anita, so hopefully he has a good game as he needs to prove himself."

I know what you're wondering, what are James Murphy's thoughts? Well, here you go..."Great to see Ben Arfa back - we played this formation to great effect last season. 2-1 away win."

STAT ALERT! Newcastle are the only team not to score from a corner in the Premier League in 2012/13. Seems they're worse with crosses than half the cast of 'Twilight' (I've no idea if that's true or not, I'm just trying to be relatively topical).

Contrasting predictions from Newcastle fans - Alan fancies a 3-2 (he also would have kept Marveaux in the team, leaving out Anita) but Michael reckons that although the visitors will take the lead through a Ben Arfa goal, Fulham will run out 2-1 winners.

Stuie Neale via Twitter - "Going for a Geordie win - 2-1." Goals, that's what we want tonight, not a Christmas pudding of a 0-0.

Lewis has fired in an email - "I'm a Newcastle United fan! It's going to be extremely tough! Am at the game tonight...would love a win, however I think a 1-1 draw is more likely! Here's a joke! Newcastle have apparently set up a call centre for the fans who are troubled by their recent run of form.The number is 0800 10 10 10. Once again, the number is 0800, one nothing one nothing one nothing." Brilliant, Lewis. Is there still time to get that in a Christmas cracker?

A word from our friends at SkyBet: "Fulham are the 11/10 favourites with Sky Bet ahead of kick-off, with Newcastle, who had lost four in a row before beating Wigan last time out, available at 9/4. We've boosted a couple of prices in the run up to tonight's match, including Fulham to win 2-1, which has drifted to 8/1 from 15/2 and Demba Ba to open the scoring (now 8/1 from 7/1). Punters may also like the look of our popular Scorecast double chance market, which includes Berbatov to score first and the hosts to win either 2-0 or 2-1 (16/1)."

Feedback: Feel free to send in your thoughts on tonight's fixture. I welcome all emails (to and tweets (@SkySportsLanny) - predictions, terrible Christmas puns involving players' names, thoughts on what I can buy my parents. Honestly, all feedback is gratefully received.

Newcastle team v Fulham: Krul; Simpson, Williamson, Coloccini, Santon; Anita, Tiote; Cisse, Ben Arfa, Gutierrez; Ba.

Fulham team v Newcastle: Schwarzer, Riether, Hughes, Hangeland, Riise, Duff, Sidwell, Baird, Kacaniklic, Berbatov, Rodallega.

Team news: Newcastle, in contrast, make just one alteration from the XI that toppled Wigan. Hatem Ben Arfa is back from injury, meaning it looks like three up top for the Toon.

Team news: Fulham boss Martin Jol - a man who looks like he enjoys a good Christmas buffet - has made five changes to the side that lost to Tottenham. Brade Hangeland is one of them, having completed his three-match ban. Hugo Rodallega gets a start, too, alongside Dimitar Berbatov.

Fulham, too, have had their issues in recent times. They've lost their last two in front of their own fans - six weeks ago they were sixth in the table, now they sit 13th. They are slipping down faster than supplies of turkeys in your local supermarket. T'is the festive season, expect plenty of rubbish Christmas references during the course of the evening.

This is a clash between two teams who have found points difficult to come by in recent weeks. Newcastle had gone five without a win before last Monday, when an early red card helped them put Wigan away comfortably on home turf.

Good evening and welcome to minute-by-minute coverage of Monday night's Christmas cracker between Fulham and Newcastle.

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