The 500 mile round trip to the north-east proved hard on the pocket and tough for the paying patrons of both clubs. Newcastle at home remain inconsistent, Fulham still short of that winning formula.
Having been accused of over-reaction and some negativity after the Chelsea defeat let me say straight off at 2.30 I was delighted to see Zollie start and Hughes prepared to change tactics.
Blackburn had come to Tyneside midweek and taken the points with 4-5-1. Posters to this blog suggested Fulham try something similar. With our ageing underperforming midfield it made sense and the first half was a huge step up from the feeble first hour at the Bridge. We saw plenty of the ball, Dembele had his appetite back and we worked their keeper, while keeping dangerman Carroll at arms length. My only reservation, put players in their proper position - Duff at left-back? No thanks, yet another flat performance from the Irish international.
Set plays were better, defensively we were very sound, but once again no cutting edge to finish off the approach play. A big ask of lone wolf AJ up front in his first start for 21 months. Some reports praised his contribution, I have my reservations but will hold off criticism for now.
The pattern of play changed after half time as Newcastle decided to by-pass midfield. Early balls up to Carroll on the edge of the 'D' hoping to win 2nd phase ball saw momentum pass to the Magpies, although it was Dembele who almost broke the deadlock - and the crossbar -with that ferocious volley on 70 mins.
The draw was about right. Though never a result to satisfy managers Hughes was clearly the more delighted. Our problem is, although we have just one defeat from the last 4, two points out of nine across the week leave us hovering only one point above the relegation places. Now we see a Sunderland side with ambition to have a go at the Champions - unlike us - get their reward against struggling Chelsea. A sensational result, and achieved without their star striker Darren Bent.
So with the table tighter than my 2001 replica shirt Fulham now face two massive games with Man City and Birmingham. I have a bad feeling things are going to get worse before they get better. A month ago I wrote with key players coming back from injury and Hughes getting to grips with the squad we would only get stronger. Hmm, no evidence of that so far - and he clearly has an issue with Paintsil.
The cheque book will be out in January and Bobby should be back in light training by then. I'm sure the 2nd half of the season will see us raise our game. And in defence of Hughes, he was given little chance to draft in players back in the summer once appointed.
I would be really interested to know what was in Roy's dossier back in June before falling under Liverpool's spell. After that night in Hamburg - and 60 odd games - he more than anyone must have known the side of last season had reached its zenith and would need freshening up.
Before anyone jumps all over this piece, yes I know two wins will see us soar up the table. Let's hope they're coming up next. Big shout out to all who made the trek to Tyneside and made some noise. Let's get behind the lads whatever the result.