Fulham FC eased their relegation fears with a comprehensive 4-1 win away against Newcastle United FC.
Fulham FC eased their relegation fears with a comprehensive 4-1 win against Newcastle United FC at St. James' Park, while Middlesbrough FC salvaged a late draw at Bolton Wanderers FC and Manchester United FC were held at home.
Just two weeks after manager Chris Coleman issued his players a stark warning that if their form did not improve, they would become embroiled in "a relegation dogfight", his charges duly responded with a surprise win at Newcastle. Collins John broke the deadlock on the counterattack after 28 minutes, though by that time Mark Crossley had already pulled off a string of excellent saves in the Fulham goal.
The former Nottingham Forest FC goalkeeper continued to keep the home side at bay after Steed Malbranque completed another rapid break on 65 minutes to double the lead. The Frenchman then converted a penalty and Luis Boa Morte made it four with a clever chip, before Craig Bellamy headed a late consolation for Newcastle.
The defeat leaves Graeme Souness' side ninth, six points behind the coveted fourth place currently held by Bolton. It could have been better for Sam Allardyce's team, who despite having Jussi Jaaskelainen sent off, looked on course for a victory before George Boateng cancelled out Henrik Pedersen's goal in injury time to give Middlesbrough a share of the spoils.
Steve McClaren's side are now fifth, a point clear of United, who lie seventh after they were held to a goalless draw by Manchester City FC at Old Trafford. The derby, dominated by resolute defending, ended in further damage for the home side who had Alan Smith sent off for a second bookable offence just before the final whistle.