As days at the office go, this was worse than ‘bad’ for Fulham boss Marco Silva.
After being reduced to ten men in the eighth minute when Nathaniel Chalobah was sent off for a reckless tackle on Sean Longstaff, his team capitulated against a better and hungrier Newcastle.
Goals from Callum Wilson, Longstaff and a brace from Miguel Almiron sealed a 4-1 victory, the Magpies’ first on the road this season. A late consolation from Bobby De Cordova-Reid did little to lift Fulham’s spirits.
The scoreline would have been bigger had it not been for Bernd Leno, who was the only Fulham player to leave the pitch with any credit. Silva’s side did not manage a shot on target until the 88th minute and looked beaten from the moment Chalobah left the field.
The midfielder flew into a tackle in the eighth minute, missing all of the ball and catching Longstaff with his studs. Referee Darren England initially gave a yellow card but after a VAR review, the decision was changed to red.
Rightly so. It was a reckless, potentially dangerous tackle that could have seriously hurt Longstaff. The Newcastle midfielder came away unscathed, but Fulham did not. There was just three minutes between Chalobah’s red card and the opening goal.
The focus before kick-off had been on Aleksandr Mitrovic and whether he would continue his fine form against his old club. It was not his day and an aggravation to the ankle injury he sustained on international duty saw him withdrawn in the 36th minute. Instead it was a different frontman who was celebrating.
Wilson, back from a five-week injury absence, should have put Newcastle ahead in the fourth minute when he sent a shot against the post from five yards out. But he was in the right place at the right time to finish at the second time of asking.
Kieran Trippier’s cross to the back-post was headed across goal by Joe Willock and the forward stabbed the ball over the line to score against Fulham for the fourth time in the Premier League.
Wilson could have had a hat-trick by the half hour mark as he sent a curling shot just over the bar from inside the box. But Newcastle didn’t need to wait much longer for a second.
Almiron is often criticised for missing the easy chances but his volley in the 33rd minute was an early goal-of-the-season contender.
A quick free-kick saw Bruno Guimaraes flick the ball over Layvin Kurzawa to Almiron, who hit a sublime first-time volley with his left foot into the top corner.
Fulham could barely string a pass together as Newcastle continued to attack in numbers. Leno did well to keep out a flicked effort from Willock before getting down to save a Jacob Murphy strike. But the Magpies finally scored a third from the resulting corner.
Leno had made a magnificent fingertip save to push Dan Burn’s header on to the bar but an unmarked Longstaff was there to slam home the rebound.
There was still time for it to get worse for Fulham before half-time, as Kurzawa was forced off with injury. The hosts didn’t manage a single shot in the first half but things didn’t get much better after the break.
Murphy should have made it 4-0 when he ghosted in at the back-post but Leno made another excellent save to keep out the winger’s effort.
Almiron thought he had scored his hat-trick when he smashed the ball into the top corner after being played through by Elliot Anderson, but the winger was rightly flagged offside.
It took until the 88th minute but substitute Neeskens Kebano finally produced Fulham’s first bit of quality.
His inch-perfect cross picked out an unmarked De Cordova-Reid at the back-post and he headed past Nick Pope. Ryan Fraser thought he’d scored a fifth for the visitors in stoppage time but the substitute was correctly flagged offside.