Hugo Rodallega rises above the Newcastle defence to power home his header
Fulham ended a run of seven matches without victory by claiming a hard-fought win over struggling Newcastle.
Steve Sidwell put the Cottagers ahead with a deflected shot - their first goal in over five hours of football.
Newcastle levelled when Hatem Ben Arfa beat home keeper Mark Schwarzer with a dipping effort from 25 yards, reports the BBC.
But Hugo Rodallega's close-range header ensured the home side claimed a win that moves them three points ahead of United in the Premier League table.
Both these teams have reason to be disappointed with their season so far with Newcastle's injury and suspension-riddled campaign a shadow of their impressive previous one and Fulham's promising start to 2012-13 having tailed off dramatically off late.
It was no surprise then that this game was a closely-contested affair, with mistakes proving as decisive to the outcome as fluency and skill.
Fulham produced the greater amount of the latter and fewer of the former.
Damien Duff clearly had the bit between his teeth and was a regular threat to his ex-club with direct runs and accurate deliveries from either wing, while Dimitar Berbatov was typically intelligent in his movement and touch.
The Cottagers did not have it all their own way - particularly during a 20 minute spell either side of the Newcastle goal - but demonstrated an appetite for the cause that will assist their desire to rise up the table.
Newcastle boosted their flagging season with a much-needed victory over Wigan last Monday, but seven days later it is clear they have much more work to do if the corner is to be turned.