Callum Wilson’s eighth goal of the season handed Newcastle a draw they scarcely deserved as 10-man Fulham saw two points slip from their grasp.
Wilson won and converted a 64th-minute penalty to snatch a 1-1 draw at St James’ Park, in the process equalling his Premier League tally for Bournemouth in the whole of last season.
Fulham, who had defender Joachim Andersen sent off for the challenge which led to the spot-kick, were deservedly ahead at the break courtesy of Matt Ritchie’s own goal and enjoyed the better of the first hour with Ademola Lookman a constant threat.
However, they returned to London reflecting on what might have been as the Magpies scrapped their way to an 18th point of the campaign in decidedly unconvincing fashion ahead of Tuesday night’s Carabao Cup quarter-final trip to Brentford.
In an enterprising start by both sides, Scott Parker’s men played the more fluent football, but Newcastle looked the more likely to score, winning two corners before Wilson headed a 10th-minute Ritchie cross straight at goalkeeper Alphonse Areola.
Lookman was no more successful in his attempt to beat Karl Darlow in similar fashion at the other end and as the half wore on, the visitors enjoyed the greater share of possession, although the home side continued to make chances with Joelinton heading over from DeAndre Yedlin’s driven cross.
Federico Fernandez had to stand tall in the defensive wall to repel Lookman’s free-kick five minutes later after stopping Andre-Frank Anguissa’s powerful run illegally, and Bobby Decordova-Reid, a late replacement for Ivan Cavaleiro, failed to make a meaningful connection with Mario Lemina’s defence-splitting delivery at the far post 13 minutes before the break.
Areola got down well to claim Miguel Almiron’s 38th-minute drive as the Magpies responded, but it was Fulham who took the lead four minutes later.
It finishes level at St. James' Park.
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) December 19, 2020
Defending the near post from a left-wing corner, Ritchie could only help the ball into his own net after defender Tosin Adarabioyo had headed down Lookman’s set-piece and Decordova-Reid flicked it towards goal.
Magpies head coach Steve Bruce made a change at half-time with midfielder Isaac Hayden replacing Fernandez in central defence, and his side had an early chance to level from a Jonjo Shelvey free-kick, although his curling effort never had the dip to trouble Areola.
Their efforts to work their way back into the game were tepid as the London side sat deep out without the ball and broke at pace with it, but they were back in the match with 64 minutes gone.
Almiron’s nicely-weighted pass put Wilson in behind last man Andersen and the striker went to ground in the box after feeling a tug at his shirt.
Referee Graham Scott awarded a penalty after consulting the pitchside monitor, dismissed the defender before Wilson took full advantage from the spot by drilling the ball straight down the middle.
Areola and Darlow saved from Sean Longstaff and Lookman respectively in quick succession and the Fulham keeper had to race from his line to deny Joelinton after Shelvey had picked him out with a raking pass, but there was to be no late twist.