Teenager nets two against Mag­pies

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Ross Jack­son

SLAV­ISA Jokanovic re­fused to play up Ful­ham’s play-off chances as they saun­tered to vic­tory at ta­ble-top­ping New­cas­tle United.

Ruth­less and me­thod­i­cal, the vis­i­tors made it five wins from seven in the league as they put their top six hopes in their own hands.

League-lead­ers New­cas­tle sim­ply couldn’t han­dle Ful­ham as they pressed high and coun­tered at break­neck speed, Tom Cair­ney and Ryan Sesseg­non, twice, ben­e­fit­ting. But boss Jokanovic is wary. “We are not in a po­si­tion to think about be­ing a pro­moted team but we are go­ing to push hard for the top six,” said Jokanovic, after his side moved to within two points of sixth with a game in hand.

“If you have enough strength for this then we have a 25 per cent chance to be a Pre­mier League team next sea­son.”

Ful­ham’s per­for­mance was noth­ing short of a tac­ti­cal master­class as they out-worked the Mag­pies with an im­pres­sive vi­brancy, typ­i­fied by Sesseg­non who en­sured a tor­tur­ous af­ter­noon for New­cas­tle full-back Vurnon Anita.

“In the past we used him in a bit more of an of­fen­sive po­si­tion,” con­tin­ued the Cot­tagers boss when dis­cussing the mer­its of his 16-year-old winger.

“We ex­pected he could find the space in be­hind the back four of New­cas­tle.

“At the end he col­lected two times and fin­ished with a great level of qual­ity.”

Although Daryl Mur­phy came off the bench to net a con­so­la­tion late on, it proved a dif­fi­cult day for the league leadthe ers and their man­ager, who was cel­e­brat­ing one year in charge of the North East out­fit.

“If we want to stay at the top of the ta­ble we have to man­age these games bet­ter,” said Rafael Ben­itez who was in no mood to cel­e­brate.

“We do what we have to do. Then if you play against a good team and you can­not cre­ate too much at least be sure you are strong enough de­fen­sively and then not al­low them to cre­ate or play in this way. The coun­ter­at­tack was the key in the sec­ond half.

“They have pace, abil­ity, good move­ment and pass­ing. We gave them the chance to play way they like to play be­cause we made too many mis­takes.”

New­cas­tle failed to con­tain an op­po­nent who were full of in­tent from the off. But as un­pre­dictable as their at­tack­ing was, Ful­ham’s first goal came from a fa­mil­iar source; the boot of Cair­ney.

The prodi­gious tal­ent found space 25 yards out in the 15th minute and ri­fled a thun­der­ous drive into the top cor­ner, his sec­ond in a week and ninth this sea­son, to give Ful­ham a de­served lead.

The home side were spo­radic in their for­ward for­ays and of­ten dis­jointed, a per­for­mance which earned the ire of the ma­jor­ity in St James’ Park.

Those jeers turned to dis­be­lief by the time Ful­ham had en­joyed a scin­til­lat­ing 13minute spell at the be­gin­ning of the sec­ond pe­riod.

First Sesseg­non slot­ted a 51st-minute shot into the bot­tom cor­ner after the ball was only half-cleared by Paul Dum­mett. Then, seven min­utes later, he lashed home after be­ing played in by Sone Aluko.

Mur­phy’s turn and fin­ish in the 76th minute was mere con­so­la­tion, with Ful­ham’s Tim Ream putting a penalty com­i­cally wide, after Dum­mett bun­dled over Sesseg­non.

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

ALL OVER: Ryan Sesseg­non cel­e­brates his sec­ond and Ful­ham’s third


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