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Rediff.com  » Sports » Newcastle lose as relegation dogfight goes to the wire

Newcastle lose as relegation dogfight goes to the wire

May 17, 2009 00:35 IST

Newcastle United's euphoria after their win over Middlesbrough on Monday turned to despair on Saturday when a 1-0 loss at home to Fulham left their Premier League status hanging by a thread.

Having hauled themselves out of the bottom three, they slipped below the safety line again as Hull City drew 1-1 at Bolton Wanderers to go one point clear of Newcastle heading into next Sunday's final round of matches.

Incredibly, no club is down yet although Middlesbrough, held 1-1 at home by Aston Villa after going ahead, look doomed.

West Bromwich Albion will drop into the Championship (second division) if they lose at home to Liverpool on Sunday.

Newcastle, who face a tough match at Aston Villa next week, have 34 points from 37 games while below them Middlesbrough have 32 from 37 and West Brom 31 from 36.

Hull have 35 points and finish with a home match against champions Manchester United who are likely to rest their key players for the Champions League final against Barcelona three days later.

It is a complicated scenario, with goal difference likely to be critical, although Newcastle know defeat at Villa would send them into the abyss and even victory might not save them.

Newcastle manager Alan Shearer lamented a disallowed goal for Mark Viduka after Diomansy Kamara had put Fulham in front just before the interval. His side also ended with 10 men after Sebastien Bassong was sent off.

"(The referee) said it was a push or a block," Shearer told the BBC. "I thought it was a poor decision.

"It was a disappointing day, we didn't start well and didn't carry the momentum from Monday. It's going to the last game of the season and we have to better Hull now. We are up against it, it's out of our hands but it's not over yet."

Martyn Herman
Source:
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