Stephen Sheldrake takes on the player ratings at St. James’ Park.
A glint of hope had sparkled in the eyes of Fulham fans with the double 5-0 thrashings of Nottingham Forest and West Ham respectfully. Newcastle’s form had taken a big dip with a midweek Champions League exit only adding to their long injury list – but it wasn’t to be for the mighty Whites as our 10-man team fell to a hefty 3-0 defeat – here’s how the players fared.
One of a few shining lights of the day, Bernd pulled off an impressive seven saves and justified his contract extension with yet another brilliant display. But alas, the pressure would eventually crack the whites defence and our goal line was left over-exposed on numerous occasions. Almost kept Dan Burn’s goal out with a superb stop against his towering header but couldn’t stop the 6’6 defender tumbling the rebound in – a great day at the office despite the result. 7/10 – Man of the match
Not one for the history books for Timmy today, he was tasked with a difficult challenge as Newcastle enjoyed pressing down both sides of the wings and I think Tete would have been a stronger starter and possibly more effective at keeping the pressure off Leno today. Was pegged back often and couldn’t show much creativity, no easy task. 4/10
A resilient first half display from our towering centre-back provided the Fulham team with a good deal of energy and showed an ambitious drive to go forward, even producing an overlap on one occasion. Couldn’t keep out the Toon in the end and I would have liked him to react a lot better to Dan Burn’s follow up rather than giving up before Leno’s superb stop. He justified his place in the starting lineup though, and I’m excited for his next opportunity. 6/10
Surprised us with an early return to the first team from injury Calvin Bassey fell ill. Strong first half but as a pairing, Tosin and Diop don’t quite have the on-the-ball creativity that their counterparts can provide from the back, which effectively meant we lacked the ability to take on players and pick out the intricate passes going forward. Strong as always but it was well and truly game over after the first goal. 5.5/10
An interesting one. Possibly the only player in the difficult circumstances who could carry the ball up the pitch due to his explosive pace. While he was a lifesaver for the defence at times, going into the final third still leaves a lot to be desired, and he could have put in a stronger challenge for the second goal against Almiron who provided the assist. But overall without a striker to aim for, this has to be considered as another positive display for our left-back. 6.5/10
A quieter day at the office for our Portuguese powerhouse midfielder, a disappointing and unnecessary yellow card in the second half sneaks him up to nine now with another ban looming, Joao had a decent game and a nice attempt on goal from afar, but wasn’t quite up to his usual standards as Newcastle played around him and used the wings well. 5.5/10
Some moments on the ball were superb and were what Fulham needed particularly in the first half, however in the second half our ball retention was poor, and where Tom doesn’t provide the physical and more defensive presence that some other players provide he eventually proved ineffective on this occasion. 5/10
Had some spark to begin with providing his usual athleticism and energy, but a poor touch when he had acres of space in front of goal from a ball across the 18-yard box summed up his day. We need to see more of that dead ball speciality but there weren’t many opportunities today to enjoy. 4.5/10
Again mixed feelings. When on the ball he drives down the wing brilliantly, causing defenders nightmares with his deft touches and moments of magic. He set up own his chance through on goal brilliantly with the execution leaving a little more to be desired. That, coupled with him losing out to a few headers against Newcastle players from goal kicks a bit too softly, and upon reflection I’m left scratching my head a little. Still an exciting player who stood out on a tough day at the office, but that isn’t saying much today sadly. 6/10
Earned himself a place in the starting line-up after his scintillating goal against West Ham and his more recent very impressive displays. Unfortunately today he was unable to unlock the creative moment needed to break the Newcastle defence, but worked tirelessly and brought good energy to the team, despite being a bit soft in the challenge for Newcastle’s first. 6/10
An overly ambitious bicycle kick from outside of the area had us all excited. The technique was excellent and the shot comfortably on target – this was a moment that reflected a number ninefull of much-needed confidence in scintillating form. This was of course undone by a moment of madness as he flung himself through the air to clatter Sean Longstaff in an audacious attempt to get the ball. While I admire his passion to win possession and his attempt to pull out of the challenge, it was entirely reckless and displayed poor decision-making for a player of his experience, and in my opinion cost us the game. 4/10
Subbed on after 61 minutes for Andreas Pereira
Did exactly what Rodrigo does best; ran around like a lost puppy chasing scraps. There wasn’t much more he could do other than pressure the Newcastle defence, but also never got a grip of the ball at any point and was a wasted resource. 5/10
Subbed on for Timothy Castagne after 61 minutes
Still not quite sure if his time on the bench is easing him back from injury or a reflection of Castange’s fine form, but Tete did his job without setting the world alight, despite a couple of iffy moments. 5.5/10
Bobby De Cordova-Reid, Sasa Lukic and Harrison Reed (subbed on for Alex Iwobi, Tom Cairney and Joao Palhinha after 77 minutes) came on too late to give proper ratings, but ultimately eased the pressure from the other boys who had a tough shift, and kept their legs fresher ahead of our important quarter final challenge against Everton, good rotation players who saw the game out when it was effectively over.