Newcastle United flunked at St James’ Park and were once again outplayed by another side threatened with relegation.
Incredibly, the Magpies opted to park the bus against a Fulham side that had conceded 22 goals this season and won just twice.
And the tactical blunder by Steve Bruce cost Newcastle two important points as the Cottagers held on for a draw.
United attacked in the last half hour against Scott Parker’s side but that was only after the visitors were reduced to 10 men and a Callum Wilson penalty hauled Newcastle level.
Serious questions need to be asked at Newcastle ahead of two tough games with Man City and Liverpool over the festive period.
Despite pushing late on, Newcastle’s performance has to be deemed unacceptable against a team that were here for the taking and had won just once in six matches.
From the opening moments though there was an uneasy feeling at St James’ Park as Fulham came out of the traps first.
Karl Darlow had his hands warmed in the opening seconds when former Toon striker Aleksandar Mitrovic tried an ambitious effort but the Toon stopper held on.
After being pinned back in their own half, Newcastle finally broke forward after Jonjo Shelvey linked up well with DeAndre Yedlin and Matt Ritchie to force a corner but the set-piece was wasted.
Two minutes later, Ritchie’s cross was met by Callum Wilson but his looping header was gathered by Alphonse Areola.
But it was Fulham who dominated the opening exchanges and Ademola Lookman’s header was gathered gratefully by Darlow again on 12 minutes as Fulham threatened again.
Fulham were presented with a free-kick right on the edge of the area after 27 minutes but after Lookman fired at goal it was Federico Fernandez who got an important block in to deflect it from the wall and out for a corner.
The visitors should have edged ahead on 32 minutes when Mario Lemina slipped the ball to Bobby de Cordova-Reid down the right with the Fulham man beating Paul Dummett but he sliced wide.
After inviting Fulham on to them for the majority of the first half, it came as no surprise when the Cottagers took the lead.
And having been so generous with possession, United extended their goodwill with an own goal.
Lookman’s corner on 43 minutes was nodded down by Adarabioyo before Ritchie’s collapse on the line forced the ball past Darlow.
The Magpies went in a goal down at half-time and when the sides emerged for the second half Bruce made his first change with Isaac Hayden replacing Federico Fernandez.
The game turned just before the hour mark after Almiron’s fine pass played in Wilson just before the hour before Andersen barged him over in the box.
After a long VAR check and ref Graham Scott checking the onfield monitor, the Fulham man was sent off and Wilson promptly converted the resulting penalty to level the game.
However, despite being reduced to ten men, it would be Fulham who had the next chance and it took a calm piece of goalkeeping for Darlow to beat away Lookman’s stinging effort.
Newcastle could not find a winner and even survived a late handball scare through Ciaran Clark.
The only thing that was missing by the end were those boos