Newcastle lined up with a 4-5-1 formation which converted into a 4-3-3 when going forward, the midfield looking particularly fluid with Jonas Gutierrez playing behind Ameobi and flanked by Hatem Ben Arfa on the right and Leon Best on the left. Danny Guthrie and Yohan Cabaye completed the numbers.
The numerical advantage in the middle made all the difference as NUFC dominated the first half as Cabaye, Ben Arfa, Ameobi and Coloccini all went close to opening the scoring before Guthrie struck from distance with a sweet left foot shot.
Fulham responded to their poor start by withdrawing Steve Sidwell and replacing him with Andy Johnson on 36 minutes, Johnson was held back by Davide Santon when he threatened to break clear as the half drew to a close, the full back misread the bounce of the ball which was held up in the windy conditions.
The resulting free kick came to nothing as the referee called half time.
Much back slapping.
Martin Jol made a further change at half time bringing on Chris Baird for the ineffective Bryan Ruiz.
Baird lined up alongside Danny Murphy as the second half kicked off, Fulham were quick to find their stride with Duff shooting over the bar. Duff then got a run on Santon who challenged in the box and conceded a penalty which was converted by Murphy.
Newcastle responded and Ameobi was caught offside and Best tried a shot from distance.
The response was short lived as Santon was again caught too far up the pitch, leaving Coloccini exposed, the Argentine doing well to cut out a Zamora cross when left 2 v 1.
Krul then saved from Zamora at close range and Baird tried from distance as the ball broke to the Fulham man, his shot going over the top as Jol’s changes took effect.
Fulham were looking the better side and took the lead as Zamora twisted in the box and had a shot saved by Krul, who was left helpless as the ball went in off Dempsey.
As play restarted Newcastle were loose in possession and Santon was again caught up field.
Guthrie then received a harsh yellow card, for a challenge on Dempsey, Danny Simpson joined him in the book for dissent as Newcastle lost some discipline, Murphy played the free kick to Baird who shot from distance but over the bar.
The Cottagers increased their advantage when Dempsey who’s running from the wing was increasingly dangerous, broke through the centre of defence and finished well.
Coloccini tried to muster a response from his men, striding forward and shooting over the bar.
Fulham then broke forward as the Newcastle midfield went awol and allowed Andy Johnson to get into the box, fouled by Williamson and then Krul in quick succession, leaving the referee no option but to award the penalty which was again scored by Murphy.
NUFC looked shell shocked as Alan Pardew was slow to work out and counter Martin Jol’s tactical substitutions, which were allowing Johnson and Dempsey to isolate their defender.
Newcastle weren’t done as Jonas Gutierrez tested Stockdale in the Fulham goal and Shola Ameobi found the net but was, yet again, offside.
Pardew then brought on James Perch to sit in front of the defence and offer some protection which was sadly lacking in Guthrie and Cabaye. Guthrie, who was very unlucky to be taken off, showed his disappointment. Dan gosling was then then introduced for Cabaye, who was suffering a quiet second half.
Santon was caught again trying to attack but atoned by cutting out a dangerous cross.
Hatem Ben Arfa, up to this point starved of the ball in the second half, cut in from the right wing, beat two players and shot low past the Fulham keeper. Ben Arfa then went close to going through as Newcastle rallied, almost ghosting through three players but being thwarted at the last minute.
The Frenchman, trying hard, again took on the Fulham defence but was robbed of possession the ball was hit long upfield, Dempsey was too fast for the visitors and went through to complete his hat trick.
Tim Krul 5
Made a good save early in second half, pretty hard to give points when they have scored 5
Danny Simpson 6
Fabricio Coloccini 6
Should have scored in first half, not his greatest performance. Never stopped trying though.
Mike Williamson 5
Looked very stagnant on occasions, was out-muscled too easily on occasions, struggled against the pace of Johnson.
Davide Santon 5
Looked ok when pushing forward but needs to remember that he was actually playing at LB, was undone on several occasions because he didnt get back quick enough.
Yohan Cabaye 6
Great first half, bossed the midfield with Guhtrie, went missing in second half.
Danny Guthrie 7
never wasted a pass until it was all going pear shaped
Hatem Ben Arfa 7
Ben Arfa oozed quality when he had the ball. That lad needs the team playing the ball to him constantly on days like these, he had the beating of them all day long.
Shola Ameobi 4
That’s being generous, could be the highest paid statue in history.
Leon Best 4
Looked a very limited player, worked hard though which cant be said for above.
One of our best today, looked dangerous when going forward, worked his socks off as usual.
James Perch N/A
The game was dead when he came on
Dan Gosling N/A
No time to impact the play