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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
16:53 22nd March 2014


A last-gasp strike by Papiss Cisse in the final minute of injury time saw Palace cruelly see a potentially precious point slip from their grasp against Newcastle United at St James' Park.

It seemed that for the second week in succession Palace had travelled to the north-east and secured a goalless draw but Cisse, who had squandered four golden chances in the 90 minutes, popped up to head home Hatem Ben Arfa's cross to snatch an undeserved victory.

Before that kick in the teeth, Palace had come the closest when Yannick Bolasie rattled the bar in the second half although they had been indebted to Julian Speroni who kept Cisse at bay until the last seconds of the contest.

The first opening fell to the visitors after eight minutes. Jason Puncheon took on left-back Paul Dummett and beat him with ease to fizz a cross into the box which Cameron Jerome headed well wide, and moments later the big striker burst past Fabricio Coloccini and centred towards Mile Jedinak who was pipped to the pass by Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa.

However the Magpies roared into life on 13 minutes when they should have taken the lead. Some brilliant build-up play between Luuk de Jong and Cisse led to the latter firing straight at Speroni, with the Dutchman heading the rebound over the bar under little pressure.

The Argentine keeper then thwarted Cisse again just past the half hour mark when Newcastle countered a Palace attack which led to Moussa Sissoko whipping in a fine cross for the Senegalese hitman, but his side-footed volley on the run was well pushed away by Speroni.

The Eagles responded though and went close on 39 minutes. Damien Delaney broke out of defence and a couple of passes later Kagisho Dikgacoi found Bolasie inside the Toon box. The winger took a touch before attempting to find the top corner, and narrowly missed out on his first Premier League goal as the ball flashed above Tim Krul's bar.

The final action of an entertaining half saw Dummett curl a free-kick just off the target, although Speroni had it covered, but sensing the game was there for winning Palace began brightly after the restart and Puncheon saw a rasping shot drift wide in the opening minutes after a neat interchange involving him, Jedinak and Ledley.

The chances kept coming for Palace and Krul made a great stop to deny Dikgacoi when the midfielder overlapped Puncheon and was played in on goal, but his deft lob was flicked away by the Toon shot-stopper who was grasping thin air a minute later when Bolasie bent a shot past him and rattled the top of the bar.

However Newcastle continued to show they possessed an attacking threat themselves and Speroni completed a hat-trick of saves against Cisse when Cheik Tiote slipped the ball through for the confidence-shy striker who still couldn't beat the Eagles keeper when faced one-on-one, and on 69 minutes he then failed to convert a lofted cross by substitute Hatem Ben Arfa as he ballooned his header over.

But there would be late drama was as Tiote smacked the bat with a rasper of a shot from 25 yards, and after Yanga-Mbiwa pulled the ball across the area Cisse seemed to have summed his day up by missing the ball completely, but a minute later he was celebrating as he beat the offside trap to finally beat Speroni and deny Palace a point.

Newcastle United: Krul, Yanga-Mbiwa, Williamson, Coloccini, Dummett, Sissoko (Marveaux 88), Anita, Tioté, Gouffran (Shola Ameobi 76), de Jong (Ben Arfa 59), Cissé. Sub not used: Elliot, S.Taylor, Haïdara, Gosling.

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Mariappa, Dann, Delaney, Ward, Dikgacoi, Jedinak, Puncheon (Guedioura 80), Ledley, Bolasie (Bannan 67), Jerome (Murray 75). Subs not used: Hennessey, Gabbidon, O'Keefe, Ince.