Luka Milivojevic’s sixth goal of the season saw Palace claim a point against Newcastle United after coming from behind at Selhurst Park.
Roy Hodgson’s team found themselves behind at the break after Mohamed Diame put the Magpies ahead following a corner, but parity was restored when the Eagles captain drove in his fifth spot-kick of the campaign on 55 minutes, but despite plenty of pressure Palace couldn’t quite find a second to seal the win they merited.
The game saw a first Selhurst return for Dwight Gayle and he was involved right away as he fired a shot on the turn straight at Wayne Hennessey, but on eight minutes a ball straight through the middle of a gaping hole in the visitors’ defence allowed Christian Benteke a one-on-one opportunity but he put his shot straight at the advancing Karl Darlow.
The opening half saw Palace enjoy the best periods of possession but Newcastle were dangerous on the break and Hennessey was forced into his first difficult save of the day when Ayoze Perez side-footed a cross by DeAndre Yedlin goalwards but the Welshman caught the attempt, however 22 minutes into the game the Geordies were celebrating as they took the lead.
After winning a corner on the right, Kenedy swung a low delivery into the area which was allowed the bounce six yards out, and fell to an unmarked Diame who stabbed home to hand Benitez’ team the lead.
It could have been much worse for Palace on the half-hour mark when Hennessey was forced into a double save during another sharp counter-attack when Kenedy cut inside past Martin Kelly and hit his shot straight into the chest of the Eagles keeper, and the rebound came to Perez on the edge of the box who took aim for the top corner but once again Hennessey managed to claw it away.
Palace’s luck in the first half was evident three minutes before the break when Yohan Cabaye got into the box and found Wilfried Zaha, and after finding space to get a shot away, Darlow just about managed to get something onto the winger’s effort, and the ball headed straight into Benteke’s path but despite an open goal at his mercy, he couldn’t quite nudge the ball over the line from a couple of yards out as Hodgson’s team trailed at the half.
They came out after the restart much more enthused, and another player with connections with both teams, Andros Townsend, headed over the bar on 52 minutes, but two minutes later the Eagles finally found a leveller. Zaha crossed deep to the far post and the linesman spotted Ciaran Clark pulling Benteke’s shirt and flagged for a penalty, allowing Milivojevic to step up, and despite Darlow getting a hand to it he couldn’t prevent it nestling into the net.
That gave the hosts a huge boost of confidence and they could have edged ahead if Cabaye had kept his shot from the edge of the area down, but despite Palace being camped in the Magpies path and continually probing around the edge of the area, Newcastle nearly stole the lead when a quick throw-in gave Christian Atsu a sight of goal, but Hennessey stayed big to deny him.
But the home side’s dominance continued and James McArthur flashed a shot over the bar with 15 minutes remaining, and then Zaha did the same 10 minutes later as Palace continued to be wasteful with their finishing, but they came so close to grabbing all the points when Zaha picked out Benteke at the back post who saw his header cleared off the line by Clark, and then when the ball pinged around the box the same man managed to deflect over another attempt by the Belgian as the Magpies desperately clung on to their point.
They nearly regained the lead deep into stoppage-time when Atsu bent the ball past the post on a rare foray forward, but Benitez would have been the happier of the two managers with a draw.
Palace: Hennessey, Fosu-Mensah, Tomkins, Kelly (Sakho 46), Van Aanholt, Townsend, Cabaye, Milivojevic, McArthur, Zaha, Benteke. Subs not used: Henry, Ward, Souare, Riedewald, Lee, Sorloth.
Newcastle: Darlow, Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Richie, Diame (Hayden 65), Shelvey, Kenedy (Atsu 56), Perez (80), Gayle. Subs not used: Dubravka, Manquillo, Lejeune, Murphy.