Pardew delighted with late victory
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew celebrated another late show from Papiss Cisse by almost losing his shirt and his wallet.
For the third successive match at St James' Park, Cisse left it until injury time to ease fraying United nerves by scoring the only goal in a crucial 1-0 victory over Fulham.
Four weeks ago it was Cisse with a last-gasp winner in a 2-1 triumph over Stoke, with the Senegal international remarkably repeating the feat four days later in a 1-0 Europa League success over Anzhi Makhachkala.
Cisse completed a somewhat unusual hat-trick by popping up in the fourth minute of the five added on with a close-range volley past Mark Schwarzer, remarkably after spurning a host of chances beforehand.
In terms of celebration, as the ground reverberated, Cisse jumped in the crowd and earned a booking for his troubles.
As for Pardew, he tore down the touchline and also threw himself in amongst the delirious fans, emerging with his jacket, shirt and tie dishevelled before making his way back to the dugout where he tidied himself up.
"It was sheer relief," Pardew said of his exuberance. "I was carrying all the stress of how important today's game was, so it was nice to jump in the crowd. I didn't do it intentionally, it was a moment that came into my head at the time.
"It's difficult when you do something like that. I've had a couple of occasions in the past where I've jumped in the crowd. It's just a natural thing I wanted to do at that time with the fans. It was for them really as it's not been our greatest season."
Asked if he was worried the fans would not let him go, Pardew replied jokingly: "I did check my pockets after in case one of them wasn't a Newcastle fan, but fortunately my money was still there."
The goal means Newcastle are now five points clear of the relegation zone, one that left Pardew almost unable to sum up its importance.
"It was a big moment, no doubt about that. As someone who has been in the game a while and knows the financial implications, what it means to spirit, the feeling for the fans, the implications of everything involved, it's a precious goal.
"You can't put a price on it, you really can't. I can't underline how important the win is, with the extra two points. They are very, very important."
Before finally grabbing his 11th goal of the season, Cisse had missed numerous opportunities prior to that and it appeared as it was not going to be his or Newcastle's day.
But it was a result that has also come at a cost as full-back Davide Santon could miss the rest of the season with a hamstring problem to add to Pardew's woes as he is already without several key players.
Fulham had their moments, initially as early as the fourth minute when Dimitar Berbatov struck a shot from 20 yards with the outside of his right foot that only just cleared the angle of crossbar and post.
Midway through the second half it was Berbatov again with a header to a John Arne Riise free-kick that had Tim Krul making the save of the game.
The defeat, ending a run of five unbeaten games, leaves Fulham stuck on 39 points and potentially still looking over their shoulder.
Manager Martin Jol believes his side are safe, but is taking nothing for granted as he said: "There are two clubs who have a problem - Reading and QPR - so it's all about the third club. Otherwise, the results today were good for us - good for Newcastle as well.
"I don't think we're in trouble, but then ten years ago you needed 44 points to stay up, a couple of seasons ago a club needed 42, but then five or six seasons it's been 36 points.
"I think you need a lot of points this year to be safe, but I think we are fine, although you never know. At least we've a very good goal difference compared to other teams, so that is important, but of course we would like a few more wins."
Information from the Press Association was used in this report