By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor
At St. James' Park
Newcastle United 1 (Cisse 90)
Papiss Cisse struck yet another injury-time winner to hand Newcastle United a crucial 1-0 Barclays Premier League victory over Fulham at St. James' Park on Sunday.
Having done the same against Stoke and Anzhi in recent weeks, the front man was at it again, prodding home deep into five minutes of stoppage time to hand the Magpies three deserved points, having dominated on Tyneside for long parts without being able to find the killer touch in the final third.
However, just when it looked as though United would have to settle for a share of the spoils, Cisse's brilliant touch of a Yohan Cabaye strike allowed him to nip in and turn the ball home at the Gallowgate End to send the Geordie faithful wild.
Fulham had the first sight of goal inside four minutes, although Dimitar Berbatov was unable to get his outside-of-the-boot strike on target, after being found in space by Stanislav Manolev.
United's response was swift and Taylor nodded Moussa Sissoko's deep cross over the top, having remained in the final third following a corner, but the hosts were dealt a blow on 17 minutes when Davide Santon was carried off with what looked like a hamstring injury.
The change knocked the wind out of Newcastle's sails and it took some time to get back in their stride but in the 27th minute Cisse almost broke the deadlock in spectacular fashion.
Breaking at pace, Sissoko played the front man in on the left flank and he cut inside before curling an audacious effort narrowly wide of the far post.
Minutes later, the same player went close again - in similar fashion - after a strong run and intelligent pass from Sylvain Marveaux.
The Magpies were almost made to pay for their missed chances with half-time approaching as the ball dropped at Manolev's feet four yards out following a corner, but Krul came to their rescue, diving bravely at the winger's feet to block his strike.
Newcastle came roaring out of the traps after the restart and substitute Anita saw a 20-yard strike thump the crossbar, via a big deflection off Emmanuel Frimpong, with goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer completely beaten.
A Cisse cross-cum-shot was then turned over the top by the veteran Aussie stopper before, from the resulting corner, Taylor headed down but wide of the far post.
The centre-back went even closer to his first goal of the season on the hour mark, receiving a Yohan Cabaye pass in space and forcing Schwarzer into an uncomfortable low save.
United's pressure was building. From a right-wing Marveaux corner, only a block by the body of Sascha Riether - with the hosts screaming for handball - prevented Gouffran's header from breaking the deadlock, and Cisse sidefooted the loose ball against the upright from a couple of yards.
For all the hosts' dominance, however, Fulham almost snatched a 68th-minute lead. Berbatov found some space inside the area to connect powerfully with a chipped free-kick, and his looping header was on its way into the top corner until an outstanding fingertip stop from the full-stretch Krul turned it over the bar.
Shola Ameobi was introduced from the substitutes' bench and immediately forced Schwarzer into a save with an effort from a tight angle, while also nodding Danny Simpson's deep delivery harmlessly wide on 77 minutes.
Eighteen-year-old forward Adam Campbell was next to enter the fray, in place of Simpson, as manager Alan Pardew rolled the dice one final time.
And it almost worked with just two minutes remaining. A neat passing move saw the ball worked out to Anita wide on the right, who promptly crossed towards Cisse at the near post.
The Senegalese striker got in front of Brede Hangeland to nod goalwards but Schwarzer was equal to it with a strong hand, turning the ball around the post for a corner.
It looked as though that was it, and Newcastle would be left to take the positives from a frustrating goalless draw.
However, Cisse had other ideas, and when Cabaye sent a long-range drive into his path, the front man kept his cool to brilliantly flick the ball away from his marker and then hook a finish past Schwarzer to net goal number 12 of the season - one which could be priceless come the end of the campaign.
Newcastle United (4-4-2): Tim Krul; Danny Simpson (Adam Campbell 81), Steven Taylor, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Davide Santon (Vurnon Anita 17); Sylvain Marveaux, Yohan Cabaye (c), Moussa Sissoko, Jonas Gutierrez; Papiss Cisse, Yoan Gouffran (Shola Ameobi 69)
Fulham (4-4-1-1): Mark Schwarzer; Sascha Riether, Philippe Senderos, Brede Hangeland (c), John Arne Riise; Stanislav Manolev (Hugo Rodallega 81), Eyong Enoh (Emmanuel Frimpong 51), Giorgos Karagounis, Damien Duff; Bryan Ruiz; Dimitar Berbatov
Subs not used: Neil Etheridge, Aaron Hughes, Kieran Richardson, Urby Emanuelson, Kerim Frei
Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire)
Bookings: Newcastle - Sissoko (47) Cisse (90); Fulham - Senderos (50), Riise (90)
Attendance: 51,847 (502 Fulham)