Newcastle 1-0 Crystal Palace
A fine free-kick from Andros Townsend proved to be the difference as Newcastle United edged past the Eagles, who also saw a Yohan Cabaye penalty saved.
In a proverbial game of two halves, the Eagles were far the better side in the first 45 before the Magpies rallied in the second half, and Townsend put them ahead on 58 minutes with a great set-piece.
However on his return to the north-east, Cabaye missed from 12 yards as Toon keeper Karl Darlow made a terrific save to hand his side a massive three points in their quest to stay in the Premier League.
Palace bossed the first half and had an early opportunity to take the lead when a typical biting challenge from James McArthur on Townsend allowed Yannick Bolasie to find an overlapping Pape Souare, and his cross found Jason Puncheon who nearly scored in similar fashion to the same fixture last year but this time his bouncing volley went wide.
Only a superb sliding challenge by Jamaal Lascelles then prevented Connor Wickham from getting a free sight of goal after Damien Delaney of all players played a through-ball into his path, and Newcastle’s only response during this period as a tame Georginio Wijnaldum volley which was easily gathered by Wayne Hennessey.
As well as Alan Pardew, Cabaye was making his first appearance back on Tyneside since leaving in 2014 and he tested Darlow with a stinging drive after being slipped in but the Toon keeper beat it away, and then Bolasie was the next to have a go when he picked the ball up on the halfway line and ran 20 yards before unleashing a thunderous shot that whistled just past the post.
But the Magpies came back and Hennessey had to do well to get down and divert away a 35-yard attempt from Chancel Mbemba which was heading towards the bottom corner, but it would be Darlow who would be next to be called into action when another blast from Bolase needed to be saved by the young Magpies stopper.
But they sped up the other end and 60 seconds later Townsend and Lascelles combined give Jack Colback the chance to bend in a shot but he helped it well wide as the first half ended goalless.
After a team talk from Benitez the hosts came out all guns blazing and Wijnaldum nearly put them ahead a few minutes after the restart but his goalbound shot was well blocked by Delaney and Townsend tried his luck from distance but could only find Hennessey, but after that spell of pressure the Magpies capitalised by winning a free-kick on the edge of the box which Townsend whipped around the wall and into the top corner, leaving Hennessey no chance.
However with 20 minutes to go the Eagles were handed a chance to get themselves back level when Cabaye curled a corner into the area and Moussa Sissoko was penalised for handball when jumping for the ball. Cabaye stepped up to take it but saw his penalty well saved by Darlow.
With 10 minutes to go Ayoze Perez was introduced as a substitute and he was soon in the thick of the action and he raced onto a long ball and prodded a shot over the top, but the chances were few and far between in the second half with Palace unable to crate anything to test man-of-the-match Darlow as the Toon edged the points.
Newcastle United: Darlow, Anita (Shelvey 88), Lascelles, Mbemba, Dummett, Tiote, Colback, Wijnaldum (Perez 80), Sissoko, Townsend, Cisse (Mitrovic 72). Subs not used: Woodman, Taylor, Mbabu, De Jong.
Palace: Hennessey, Ward, Dann, Delaney, Souare, Cabaye, Jedinak, Bolasie, McArthur (Sako 60), Puncheon (Gayle 73), Wickham (Adebayor 73). Subs not used: McCarthy, Mariappa, Kelly, Ledley.