Aleksandar Mitrovic penalty nightmare punished by late Toon winner
Alexander Isak led Newcastle back into the Premier League top 3 after old boy Aleksandar Mitrovic kicked up his lines for Fulham.
The £60m striker’s third goal for the club secured a hard-fought 1-0 win at St James’ Park but only after one-time Tyneside favorite Mitrovic ruled out a successful penalty for a double contact.
Eddie Howe’s men, who controversially included Joelinton in their starting line-up despite his midweek drunk driving arrest, pushed Manchester United back to third place in the table after extending their unbeaten run in the league to 14 games.
However, Fulham can feel badly after frustrating their hosts for long periods and repeatedly threatening them on the counter.
Joe Willock rolled a try wide in the third minute after cutting inside from Joelinton’s flick-on, and Issa Diop got in a key block to thwart Sean Longstaff after running to Bruno Guimaraes’ clever back pass two minutes later was.
Mitrovic was similarly obliterated at the other end when the visitors reacted, but full-back Kenny Tete might have done better with his connection from the edge of the box, which he drove high over the edge.
Fulham worked their way into the game with Andreas Pereira and Willian starting to impress behind Mitrovic, although Callum Wilson saw a shot deflected over the goal in the 21st minute after Miguel Almiron played Sean Longstaff from behind full-back Layvin Kurzawa.
Wilson put a header into the arms of keeper Bernd Leno from a Kieran Trippier cross as Newcastle shifted up a gear and the striker was unable to meaningfully touch Willock’s cross after the midfielder’s good first contact threw it at Tete 12 minutes from half-time brought by.
The connection between Longstaff, Almiron and Trippier down the Magpies’ right proved fruitful, but they went straight up the middle with six minutes remaining, with Leno parrying a good response after Wilson shot straight at the keeper who had gotten himself in the Added time turned to Fabian Schar’s pass.
Guimaraes, who had been treated twice for an ankle injury in the first half before leaving the field in tears at the break, was replaced by Allan Saint-Maximin but it was Wilson who missed another opportunity when he had the goal a tight header missed from Trippier’s corner in the 51st minute.
Schar was unhappily watching a free-kick come back off the post in the 61st minute before Almiron’s shot was smuggled clear on the rebound.
However, Marco Silva’s men thought they had taken the lead after being awarded a penalty following a VAR review of Trippier’s challenge on Bobby Decordova-Reid.
After a long delay, Mitrovic sent the penalty past Nick Pope but only with the help of a double contact and referee Robert Jones quickly ruled out the goal to give the home side a lucky escape.
Saint-Maximin went just wide from 20 yards with 13 minutes to go as the home side tried to capitalize on their reprieve and they did just that with seconds of regular time remaining when substitute Isak headed home from point-blank range , after Wilson sent the ball back over the goal.
Additional reporting by PA.