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Summary

  1. Fulham win first game of 2016-17 EFL season
  2. Title favourites Newcastle beaten in opening match
  3. Matt Smith headed Fulham winner before half-time

Live Reporting

By Matt Newsum

All times stated are UK

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One down, plenty more to go...

FT: Fulham 1-0 Newcastle

Ah, football. It's nice to have you back. Thank you for your company this evening.

Be sure to join us on the BBC Sport website and app from 12:00 BST tomorrow for a dedicated live text commentary on the EFL - a service we will be providing every Saturday during 2016-17.

I'll leave you with Phil Cartwright's match report as Fulham started the season in style with victory over promotion favourites Newcastle...

Matt Smith

Fulham 1-0 Newcastle United

Matt Smith's header condemns title favourites Newcastle to defeat in their opening Championship game of the season at Fulham.

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The Championship is always unpredictable...

FT: Fulham 1-0 Newcastle

Jermaine Jenas

Former Newcastle midfielder on Radio 5 live

It really is! That game didn't go to plan for a lot of people, in terms of how people thought the Championship might go.

You look at the Newcastle squad and it's full of Premier League players from last year. But Newcastle didn't look like scoring from minute one.

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Robbie Edwards: I know it's early days but this shows you that the Championship isn't a easy league, even if you spend big.

Freddy Harper-Davis: Looks like Newcastle have started as though they were still on holiday, Fulham played far better than them.

Fearless Fulham

FT: Fulham 1-0 Newcastle

Fulham were rewarded for a positive approach by taking the game to Newcastle, rather than sitting back and taking what Newcastle threw at them.

In Matt Smith's header, they took the big chance that was presented, and then took advantage of Newcastle's frenzy to equalise to control the game.

Dennis Odoi was a real plus at the back, and Tom Cairney was a big outlet alongside new signing Floyd Ayite.

Matt Smith's goal beyond Matz Sels.
Getty Images

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Matthew Vins: Looks like the big boys of Newcastle and Aston Villa will discover the true perils of the Championship this season...

Danny Charity: Can Newcastle do it on a balmy August Friday night in Fulham? It seems not.

Rafael Benitez
Rex Features

Analysis

FT: Fulham 1-0 Newcastle

Jermaine Jenas

Former Newcastle midfielder on Radio 5 live

Fulham thoroughly deserved it. They marshalled the game as they wanted it to go, they picked their opportunities to attack and Matt Smith was the match-winner.

For Newcastle, it's back to the drawing board. It just didn't go their way.

Grant Hanley
Rex Features

FULL-TIME

Fulham 1-0 Newcastle

Matt Smith
Rex Features

Matt Smith's first-half header was enough to seal an opening day defeat for Championship promotion favourites Newcastle United and get Fulham's campaign off to a flier at Craven Cottage.

The Magpies battled throughout, and could have had two penalties with winger Matt Ritchie involved in both incidents which were waved away by Simon Hooper.

Fulham were deserving of the win for their efforts, but Newcastle were unable to fully bear their teeth on a frustrating night at the Cottage.

Much for Rafa Benitez to ponder if his side are to live up to their billing and secure an immediate return to the top flight.

Fulham 1-0 Newcastle

Jonjo Shelvey's free-kick is a damp squib, comes off Adam Armstrong's knees and out for a goal kick.

Last throw of the dice topples off the table.

Fulham 1-0 Newcastle

Fulham running the ball into the corners to keep Newcastle away from that precious equaliser.

They're teasing to a chorus of 'Oles!' from the Fulham crowd.

Rolando Aarons gets a cross in, then a free-kick goes Newcastle's way on the edge of the box, although inexplicably after Newcastle had an advantage through Daryl Janmaat.

Another penalty shout for Newcastle...

Fulham 1-0 Newcastle

Jermaine Jenas

Former Newcastle midfielder on Radio 5 live

Matt Ritchie is well within his rights to complain, but I think it hits his legs and then his arm. I think the referee has got that one right.

Fulham 1-0 Newcastle

Jonjo Shelvey's face is a picture. It's been a frustrating night for the Magpies.

Four minutes of added time.

PENALTY APPEAL

Fulham 1-0 Newcastle

Matt Ritchie again, with a scorching shot. Handball shout again, from a Fulham player. No penalty again, from Simon Hooper.

The injustice meter is off the scale now for Newcastle.

One minute to go.

Fulham 1-0 Newcastle

The old Fulham Rugby League Club would have enjoyed that looping wallop over the crossbar by Lasse Vigen Chrstensen.

Cutback found him in space and it could have been lights out for Newcastle.

Two and a half to go.

SUBSTITUTION

Fulham 1-0 Newcastle

Tim Ream is coming on for Scott Malone. I'm not even going to attempt any 'reem/ream' jokes.

I'm better than that.

Fulham 1-0 Newcastle

Denis Odoi calmly nods the ball back to the goalkeeper after another Newcastle cross is swung into the box.

Fulham now have the ball and are just teasing the visitors by nudging the ball around in space.

Newcastle have to go for it. Scott Malone is coming off.

Fulham 1-0 Newcastle

Rafael Benitez
Reuters

Newcastle throwing the kitchen sink at Fulham, to borrow a fine cliche.

However the home side are standing firm. Denis Odoi has been a bit of a rock.

Fulham 1-0 Newcastle

Adam Armstrong scuffs a shot towards goal after Fulham fail to clear their lines.

Half-chance. He has his hands on his head. Disappointing.

SUBSTITUTION

Fulham 1-0 Newcastle

Jonjo Shelvey comes on for Isaac Hayden. Can the England international unlock the door?

Fulham 1-0 Newcastle

Matz Sels called upon to save Newcastle from going further behind.

Have Newcastle got the materials to pull this back? Just under 15 minutes to do it.

Fulham have grown in spirit and adventure, and they might with a goal lead.

YELLOW CARD (Dummett)

Fulham 1-0 Newcastle

Paul Dummett enters the book, Newcastle's first to pickup the booking.

Cleaned out Denis Odoi to give Fulham a free-kick.

Fulham 1-0 Newcastle

The difference between these two teams is simple - street smarts.

Newcastle have bags of quality but a bit like having a big engine in a car, you need to be able to put the power down.

Fulham are just that bit more battle hardened at this level. Not to mention without the stresses and pressure of being promotion favourites.

SUBSTITUTION

Fulham 1-0 Newcastle

Adam Armstrong on for Ayoze Perez, a player who made his debut at the Cottage in March 2014.

Can he be the home-town hero for Newcastle?

Malone impresses

Fulham 1-0 Newcastle

Jermaine Jenas

Former Newcastle midfielder on Radio 5 live

Scott Malone will be an important player for Fulham this season. He gets up and down the field with ease and he's a great option down the left side.

Scott Malone
Reuters

CLOSE!

Fulham 1-0 Newcastle

Scott Malone just drags his shot wide of the post and a second could have been the knock-out blow.

Fulham still a goal up. Smart move and another warning shot.

SUBSTITUTION

Fulham 1-0 Newcastle

Scott Parker and Lasse Vigen Christensen come on for Fulham, with Ryan Tunnicliffe and Big Matt Smith - the goalscorer - making way.

Matt Smith
Rex Features

Fulham 1-0 Newcastle

As Ayoze Perez went to grasp the ball for the Newcastle free-kick, Matt Ritchie took it off him.

Better, but still no goal.

Fulham 1-0 Newcastle

Fulham are getting scrappy and giving away some daft free-kicks.

Another chance for Newcastle.

Fulham 1-0 Newcastle

Blatant foul on Ayoze Perez. Who then wastes, with a shoddy effort, his set-piece.

Why? Why? Why?

Then Rolando Aarons follows suit. Airkicking a gilt-edged chance. Calm needed for Newcastle.

Fulham holding on.

Fulham 1-0 Newcastle

Sighter for Matt Ritchie after the ball passed through many pairs of feet but his clean, swerving shot goes through to Fulham custodian David Button for a save.

Love that word, custodian. Favourite goalkeeper phrases please? There aren't many... #bbcefl

SUBSTITUTION

Fulham 1-0 Newcastle

Rafael Benitez
Empics

Rolando Aarons is on to offer some pace and width, with the more conservative Jack Colback making way for Newcastle.

Big statement of intent for Senor Benitez.

Fulham 1-0 Newcastle

Floyd Ayite and Tom Cairney are having a bit of joy down the respective flanks for Fulham.

Dangerous. Newcastle have had lots of possession but Slavisa Jokanovic has set the hosts up well.

When will Rafa Benitez make changes? Er... now.

Fulham 1-0 Newcastle

Matt Smith
Reuters

Great chance Fulham!

Ball in the box was headed down by big Matt Smith (big must be part of his name) and as the onrushing Sone Aluko came into finish he was sent tumbling, with Grant Hanley looking the guilty party.

No penalty again says Simon Hooper. One each on that score!

Fulham 1-0 Newcastle

Denis Odoi
Getty Images

Matt Ritchie has had a couple of bites of the cherry, one well saved and the second Denis Odoi, who he's tussling with here, got to first and took a painful whack in the leg.

Still Fulham ahead.

Ritchie misses good chance for Newcastle

Fulham 1-0 Newcastle

Jermaine Jenas

Former Newcastle midfielder on Radio 5 live

When Matt Ritchie gets into those positions, he doesn't miss many. Fair play to David Button, who stuck his leg out and his top save has kept his side in the lead.

Fulham 1-0 Newcastle

Some sharp football by Fulham is eventually dealt with by Newcastle. They have a bit of pace and have been buoyed by their performance so far.

Newcastle though do have evident quality. Vurnon Anita played in Matt Ritchie via a deflection but his shot went straight at the goalkeeper David Button.

Best chance for the visitors.

Fulham 1-0 Newcastle

Good chance for Newcastle, Daryl Janmaat got beyond his man through perseverance and wins a corner.

However Matt Ritchie's short corner comes to nothing.

Head. Banging. Wall. If you're a Newcastle fan anyway.

Fulham 1-0 Newcastle

Definitely can't judge a player on one game but Grant Hanley, an experienced Championship player, is not having the sharpest debut so far for Newcastle.

A cross came in a moment ago and he was all tied up, rescued by a foul by Sone Aluko.

Newcastle haven't found their groove as a whole though, so can't point the finger at him.

Newcastle
Reuters

Fulham 1-0 Newcastle

Matt Ritchie has moved to Newcastle's right side and gets a cross in but there's no blue and amber player near it.

Fulham look solid, Newcastle enjoying early possession here.

KICK-OFF

Fulham 1-0 Newcastle

Simon Hooper toots sharply on his whistle and we're back under way.

Fulham get the ball forward quickly, Newcastle likewise, and we're back to the 100 mph special.

Fulham 1-0 Newcastle

Newcastle players back out first before Fulham join them.

We're ready to go.