Hatem Ben Arfa struck a wonder goal four minutes from time as Newcastle picked up their first win of the season, at the expense of Martin Jol’s Fulham.

It looked to be heading for a second successive goalless draw for the Magpies, as they struggled to break down a visiting side who rarely threatened and seemed more than happy with a point.

But Ben Arfa chose his moment brilliantly and fired a superb winner to ease the pressure on Alan Pardew.

Newcastle have now gone two games without conceding a goal after shipping four against Manchester City, giving fans encouragement that their fortunes are starting to turn as the season starts to settle.

The big test today, however, was scoring. The Geordies’ last league goal came against Fulham last season, when Papiss Cisse downed the Cottagers with a stoppage time strike.

The good news for the home side was that they did look more threatening today, testing visiting goalkeeper David Stockdale on numerous occasions and almost doubling their lead late on through Yoan Gouffran. Perhaps a more worrying sign was that they only looked like taking the lead when they made a telling double substitution, with Loic Remy coming on to make his debut and Yohan Cabaye joining him.

Cabaye received a mixed reception from the home crowd, as he played what could well be his last game for Newcastle with the transfer window shutting on Monday night. He was effective on the pitch though, giving his side more urgency as they toiled against a stubborn Fulham defence.

In pre-season, Toon fans have been pleasantly surprised at their side’s effectiveness from corners and they almost carried on their form as Fabricio Coloccini met an early corner with a good header, only to see it hit Cisse’s legs as it headed towards the corner.

Cisse wasn’t having one of his better games. He then came within inches of latching onto a Moussa Sissoko through ball, before missing the target with a couple of half-chances.

The Senegal international’s opposite number wasn’t faring much better either, as Darren Bent struggled to get into the game on his full debut. That was largely down to Newcastle’s domination of possession, although the home side couldn’t do much with it until their double change late in the second half.

French pair Cabaye and Remy injected more life into the Newcastle attack and from then on there looked to be only one winner. Cisse then came closer than anyone when he clipped the bar with a header, before Bryan Ruiz forced a decent save from Tim Krul.

Time was running out for the Magpies but Ben Arfa was on hand to torment Fulham once again. The Frenchman struck at Craven Cottage last season and repeated the feat with a stunner here, cutting in from the right flank to curl an unstoppable effort past Stockdale.

Yoan Gouffran, just as he did last week, missed a sitter late on for the home side, but they were able to comfortably hold on and claim their first win of the season ahead of the international break.