Leon Best struck twice as Newcastle continued their unbeaten start to the season with a comfortable 2-1 win over Martin Jol’s Fulham.

Best, starting in place of the injured Shola Ameobi and the dropped Demba Ba, struck just after half-time to give Newcastle the lead against the Cottagers and again 18 minutes later to give the Geordies a deserved victory.

Alan Pardew’s side showed no signs of missing the departed Joey Barton as Yohan Cabaye stepped up and took the game by the scruff of the neck in an impressive second half performance to see off the Londoners.

Fulham looked tired from their mid-week trip to Dnipro and it made for a dull first half in which no clear cut chances were created and a bore draw was looking the smartest bet.

The closest anyone came to a goal was when Jonas Gutierrez’s header was kept out by Mark Schwarzer but in truth neither side looked like taking the lead until the second half.

Pardew, sometimes criticised for being a yes man to Mike Ashley, proved he had a hairdryer in his locker at half-time because the team that came out in the second half looked completely different to the one that laboured against clearly tired opposition.

Cabaye was the brightest of the bunch, as he immediately began to pull the strings in midfield and orchestrate some eye-catching moves which eventually led to the home side pulling away from Fulham.

It was Cabaye who was involved in the opening goal, when he hit an audacious shot which Schwarzer could only push onto the bar, allowing Best to convert from close range.

Fulham almost had an instant equaliser but Tim Krul was in top form once again to deny Steve Sidwell, who watched as the Dutch stopper tipped his header onto the bar. Former Toon winger Damien Duff almost had a goal but his shot after a fine run only found the side netting.

With the visitors threatening to draw level, Pardew threw on Demba Ba for Peter Lovenkrands and the Senegalese striker turned in his best performance in a Newcastle shirt so far as he instantly set up Best’s second.

Gabriel Obertan switched possession to Ba on the right and his low cross found Best who controlled beautifully before finding the corner of Schwarzer’s goal with a placed shot.

Fulham summoned all their energy to try and mount a late comeback but Krul was once again in spectacular form as he somehow denied Danny Murphy’s free header.

However, Krul was to concede his first goal of the season and end Newcastle’s reign as the only team in the Football League not to concede a goal when Murphy’s inch-perfect was flicked in by Clint Dempsey but it was nothing more than a consolation strike for Jol’s side.