Newcastle United were dealt with a blow on their Championship title hopes as they were handed a humiliating 3-1 defeat by Fulham at the St. James’ Park on Saturday.
The Magpies had carved out a five-point lead at the top of the second tier, after some impressive results in the last week, but following a draw against Reading and the loss to the Cottagers, the race for the title was thrown wide open again.
Rafael Benitez’s men started decently with Jonjo Shelvey and Dwight Gayle testing the opposition goalkeeper, but things were going to go bad soon for them as January transfer target Tom Cairney opened the scoring with a curling effort from outside the box. The goal knocked the wind out of Newcastle’s sail and they spent the rest of the half on the back-foot.
And things did not get any better for them after the restart, with 16-year old sensation Ryan Sessegnon catching Newcastle on the counter to score twice and put the result beyond any doubt. The home side did manage to get a consolation strike through substitute Daryl Murphy, but it was a case of too little too late for Rafa and his men.
Let’s see how each Newcastle player fared on the day:
Newcastle United Player Ratings
Karl Darlow – 5/10
Did not have much to apart from picking up the ball out from the net three times.
Vurnon Anita – 5/10
Struggled on the right-side as the 16-year old Ryan Sessegnon ran a riot down his flank all day.
Jamaal Lascelles – 4/10
An error-strewn performance from the captain when he needed to step up for his team. Let his teammates down.
Ciaran Clark – 6/10
Defended well and almost managed to score, before being taken off due to injury in the 64th minute.
Paul Dummett – 3/10
Extremely poor. Made a mistake that led to the second goal, before giving away a penalty for the third goal.
Jonjo Shelvey – 4/10
Failed to get to grips with the game and allowed petulance to get the better of him. Received a booking and never really recovered. Disappointing.
Jack Colback – 5/10
Tried hard to impose himself and gave his everything. But struggled and looked very much tired and in need of a rest.
Matt Ritchie – 6/10
The former Bournemouth winger delivered 12 crosses into the box, but there was nobody to get at the end of those. Did not lack for effort in the final third.
Mohamed Diame – 4/10
Absolutely abysmal. Lacks the touch, the drive or the pace to operate behind the striker. Frustrating and extremely ineffective.
Christian Atsu – 5/10
Ran his socks off throughout the game, but had very little to show for. However, did manage to set up the consolation goal for Murphy.
Dwight Gayle – 5/10
Gayle’s first start post injury, the striker did not get the service he was looking for. Worked hard, chased down long balls, but that was about it.
Daryl Murphy – 7/10
Came on around the hour mark to replace Diame. Added a physical presence at the top and took his goal brilliantly.
Jesus Gamez – 6/10
Replaced the injured Clark in the 64th minute. Slotted in at left-back and showed good energy.
Yoan Gouffran – 5/10
Came on for Gayle in the 74th minute. Made no impact whatsoever.