By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor
At St. James' Park
Newcastle United 1 (Ben Arfa 86)
A wonder goal from Hatem Ben Arfa earned Newcastle United their first Premier League win of the season, with a 1-0 victory over Fulham at St. James' Park on Saturday.
The French forward netted an outstanding individual effort with time running out, and it was no more than the Magpies deserved for a dominant display.
However, Ben Arfa's moment of brilliance from the edge of the area finally broke the resistance, earning United all three points.
Manager Alan Pardew will be delighted with his side's display and the result going into the international break, and there was also a first sighting of new loanee Loic Remy, who came off the bench for the closing stages.
Newcastle almost broke the deadlock inside five minutes. From Sylvain Marveaux's right-wing corner, Coloccini stole a march on his marker before thumping a downwards header goalwards.
However, his effort struck the legs of teammate Cisse, who was trying to get out of the way, and Fulham scrambled it to safety.
Newcastle were dominating possession but lacking a cutting edge in the final third, and Debuchy took matters into his own hands midway through the half, striding forward from his right-back role before unleashing a 25-yard drive which was straight at visiting goalkeeper David Stockdale.
It took Fulham half an hour to muster their first attempt but Bryan Ruiz was going to have to produce something special to beat Tim Krul from 30 yards, and so it proved as his strike sailed harmlessly into the Gallowgate.
The hosts were soon back on the front foot and Cisse forced Stockdale into a save with his legs from a tight angle, having chested down an angled pass and held off the challenge of Brede Hangeland.
With three minutes of the half remaining, the Senegalese striker went close again, this time nodding Mathieu Debuchy's deep cross back across goal and narrowly wide of the upright.
It was more of the same after the break; plenty of Magpies' possession but just struggling to make a real impact in the final third.
But on the hour mark they briefly sparked into life. First, Ben Arfa saw a strike from the edge of the area deflect straight into Stockdale's grateful grasp, before Hangeland almost headed past his own keeper, and Cisse and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa both saw shots blocked.
However it was Fulham who almost managed that, with only a fine, full-length save from Tim Krul keeping out Ruiz's 20-yard free-kick.
Pardew made his final throw of the dice on 74 minutes, introducing new loan signing Remy, and the French forward almost made an immediate impact, forcing a corner from which Stockdale saved Gouffran's header.
Cisse then nodded powerfully against the crossbar as Newcastle continued to knock on the Fulham door.
Gouffran sent a delivery right through the heart of the six-yard box, somehow without a touch from either side, Ben Arfa was denied by Stockdale's outstretched leg and Gouffran planted a downward header wide when he should have done much better.
Time was ticking away and it looked like United were going to have to settle for a draw. But Ben Arfa had other ideas.
With four minutes remaining, the French international received a crossfield pass from Remy wide on the right and there appeared little on.
However, he proceeded to skip away from three players before bending a rocket of a strike into the top corner, with Stockdale unmoved.
And that was enough for the hosts, who picked up all three points and another clean sheet at St. James' Park.
Newcastle United (4-4-2): Tim Krul; Mathieu Debuchy, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Davide Santon; Hatem Ben Arfa, Moussa Sissoko, Vurnon Anita (Yohan Cabaye 65), Sylvain Marveaux (Loic Remy 74); Shola Ameobi (Yoan Gouffran 65), Papiss Cisse
Fulham (4-4-2): David Stockdale; Sascha Riether (Matthew Briggs 73), Brede Hangeland (c), Aaron Hughes, John Arne Riise; Alex Kacaniklic, Steven Sidwell (Derek Boateng 89), Scott Parker, Bryan Ruiz; Dimitar Berbatov, Darren Bent (Adel Taarabt 82)
Subs not used: Neil Etheridge, Giorgios Karagounis, Damien Duff, Hugo Rodallega
Referee: Chris Foy (Lancashire)
Bookings: Newcastle - Cabaye (82); Fulham - Parker (45), Riise (76)
Attendance: 46,402 (460 Fulham)