Palace failed to provide the perfect early Christmas present of three points as they slipped to their first home defeat in four games to an impressive Newcastle United side,
Whilst the scoreline rather than the result was harsh on Tony Pulis' men, the Magpies' midfield oozed with class and caused many problems, with the stormy conditions also contributing to a below-par performance from the home side.
A quiet start only saw Davide Santon blast well wide and Barry Bannan fail to test Tim Krul with a free-kick, but the best opportunity of the opening exchanges fell to Mathieu Debuchy when he connected with a Yohan Cabaye corner at the neat post but saw his effort flash wide.
That saw the game spark into life and after enjoying the better of the opening exchange they took the lead after 25 minutes. Moussa Sissoko got the better of Marouane Chamakh on the right and cut the ball back for Cabaye who'd found space and hit a first-time shot which flicked off Mile Jedinak and crept into the bottom corner past the wrong-footed Julian Speroni.
Aiming to bounce straight back, Palace twice almost found an immediate way to equalise within 30 seconds. Chamakh produced a neat turn to get away from Chieck Tiote in midfield and fed Cameron Jerome whose shot on the turn was blocked by Krul's legs, and Vurnon Anita had to clear off the line after the Dutch goalkeeper flapped at a Bannan corner and it ricocheted towards goal off Mike Williamson.
But after 37 minutes the visitors had doubled their lead. Sissoko and Debuchy linked up on the right and the French full-back whipped in a dangerous low cross across the six yard box that the retreating Danny Gabbidion inadvertently poked past Speroni to give Palace the proverbial mountain to climb.
Making his 300th league start for the the club, the Argentinian keeper was forced into another save before half-time when Cabaye broke into the area and attempted to again find the near post but his cheeky effort was easily saved by Speroni, and after the interval the same result occurred when the classy midfielder drove a free-kick at the Eagles' goal which was pushed away.
Having scored in each of his three games Chamakh hadn't had a chance to continue his hot streak until just past the hour mark but when presented with a chance he headed an Adrian Mariappa cross wide, but the Eagles should have equalised when a Jason Puncheon free-kick was nodded into the unmarked Jerome's path by Jedinak but the striker couldn't find the target with a volley from eight yards.
Newcastle should have wrapped the game up with 13 minutes to play. After getting a little bit of luck after a Damien Delaney clearance hit the referee and fell for Sissoko, he chipped into Cabaye's path, but could only hit the ball at the approaching Speroni when faced one-on-one.
They came even closer to a third when the livewire Hatem Ben Arfa weaved his way into the Palace box and teed up Yoan Gouffran who aimed for the top corner but found the far post, and Speroni again was tested when Ben Arfa tried his luck from just inside the area.
The bad news kept coming for Palace late on when Chamakh was booked for a foul on Fabricio Coloccini, ruling him out of the now-highly important Boxing Day clash with Aston Villa, and Ben Arfa's late powerful penalty after Jonathan Parr fouled Shola Ameobi only added further salt into the wound.
Palace: Speroni, Mariappa, Gabbidon, Delaney, Moxey (Parr 46), Ward, Jedinak, Puncheon, Bannan (Bolasie 46), Chamakh, Jerome (Gayle 76). Subs not used: Price, Campana, Williams, Phillips.
Newcastle: Krul, Debuchy, Coloccini, Williamson, Santon, Cabaye (Ben Arfa 78), Tiote, Sissoko, Anita, Gouffran, Remy (Shola Ameobi 75). Subs not used: Elliot, Yanga-Mbiwa, Haidara, Obertan, Cisse.