A game against bottom of the league Fulham seemed like as good a time as any for Newcastle to begin life without Alan Pardew, as their manager served the first of his three-match stadium ban.

The Magpies boss watched on from a nearby hotel but could have been forgiven for throwing his laptop out of the window when Ashkan Dejagah’s shot flew under Tim Krul to give Fulham a much-needed victory.

To be fair to Pardew, there wasn’t much more he could have done to prevent the loss had he been standing in his technical area (or even sitting on the bench as he vowed to do from now on).

Newcastle’s lacklustre display stemmed from the personnel they were missing.

Normally a team would miss their manager most of all but Newcastle were so poor on Saturday because of Loic Remy’s absence.

The on-loan striker is the Magpies’ top scorer this season and is central to everything Newcastle do in an attacking sense. Remy’s importance is summed up by the fact that Newcastle haven’t scored a goal in any game that the former Marseille striker hasn’t been involved in.

But with Remy out with a calf injury picked up on international duty with France; the Geordies were predictable and easy to play against at Craven Cottage.

A front pairing of Papiss Cisse and Luuk de Jong hardly struck fear into Fulham, even though the Cottagers have the leakiest home defence in the Premier League. Cisse hasn’t scored a goal from open play all season, while de Jong hasn’t netted since joining Newcastle on loan from Borussia Moenchengladbach in January.

That lack of fear was justified when a cross came in from the right in the first half and de Jong swung and missed at a volley before Cisse stabbed a shot towards goal, only for David Stockdale to make a save.

Stockdale again denied Cisse in the second half, saving from the Senegal striker when one against one. A goalkeeper has never been such a strong favourite when a striker is running towards him than Stockdale was when Cisse ambled forward.

That particular chance was gifted to Cisse from a poor pass by a Fulham player, underlining the lack of creativity in the Newcastle side.

Without Remy there was no pace to stretch Fulham’s defence. Felix Magath’s chosen centre-back pairing of Brede Hangeland and Fernando Amorebeita would struggle to catch a bus, never mind a quick striker trying to get in behind them.

Once the Cisse chance had gone, there was an air of inevitability amongst the watching Newcastle fans that Fulham would get the winner.

Dejagah’s shot flew under Krul’s dive after the Iran winger had cut inside Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa – something the Frenchman had been briefed against – and Fulham had the solitary goal needed to hang on.

There was a sense of injustice about the strike though, as Howard Webb inexplicably waved away a cynical hack on de Jong by Hangeland in the build up. John Carver was not wrong when he said “you wouldn’t get away with that on a Sunday morning”.

Webb continued to make himself the most unpopular man on the pitch in the eyes of the watching Toon Army when he denied them a penalty in the last seconds. Krul came up for a corner and from Adam Armstrong’s knockdown, played the ball against the outstretched arm of Jonny Heitinga. Stevie Wonder could have spotted the blatant handball but Webb chose to end the contest there.

Newcastle barely deserved a late equaliser but with the sheer direness of the previous 90 minutes, a result with no beneficiary would have sufficed. Only an equally tiring performance from Sunderland at home to Crystal Palace spared Newcastle the last on Match of the Day slot.