Roy Hodgson’s men had to settle for a point in the pouring rain at Selhurst Park, despite having the better of a scrappy affair. They were left rueing Mamadou Sakho’s golden opportunity in the final 10 minutes, as the home side threw everything at the visitors – who valiantly clung on to head back to the north-east with a point.
Palace went into the match with an unchanged starting 11 following the win at Huddersfield Town the week before, whilst Newcastle United made three changes – with Salomon Rondon, Jonjo Shelvey and Chelsea loanee Kenedy replacing Joselu, Jacob Murphy and Isaac Hayden.
During the warm-up, there was an injury scare to Wilfried Zaha who was seen nursing his upper neck and disappearing up the tunnel for treatment, but it wasn’t enough to keep him out of the side and he walked out with his team-mates.
The visitors won the toss, and opted to change ends – meaning Palace would attack the Holmesdale Road stand for the opening spell. It was Palace who created the first opportunity as the rain drizzled down in south London. In just the second minute, Andros Townsend whipped in a fine cross to find James McArthur at the back stick, but the Scotsman’s header went just over Martin Dubravka’s crossbar.
In the ninth minute, Ayoze Perez pick-pocketed James Tomkins about 40 yards from goal. As the Eagles’ central defence parted, the Spaniard was through on goal and one-on-one with Wayne Hennessey but as he approached the edge of the box, the striker fluffed his lines, poking the ball tamely straight at the Welsh 'keeper.
Palace began to up the ante and broke quickly. First, Cheikhou Kouyate spread the ball wide to Patrick van Aanholt down the left releasing Andros Townsend, who had swapped flanks. His cross landed at Aaron Wan-Bissaka's feet at the back post - who blasted at the oncoming defender for a corner.
Moments later, the home captain Luka Milivojevic whipped a pinpoint cross into Jordan Ayew, whose header looped over the bar. Palace continued to pile on the pressure, and Zaha was felled on the edge of the box. Milivojevic stepped up and struck low past the wall to the keeper’s left before watching his effort pawed away to safety.
As the game approached the half hour mark, Newcastle won back-to-back corners – with Shelvey targeting the visitor’s captain Jamaal Lascelles on the penalty spot, whose dangerous presence was thwarted on both occasions.
With 10 minutes to go until the break, DeAndre Yedlin was bamboozled by Zaha’s mazy footwork and tripped the Ivorian on the left wing, in line with the edge of the box, receiving a yellow card in the process. Milivojevic stepped up once again to take the dead ball from a shallow angle, and this time his cross had the perfect pace and height as the ball sailed over a box full of black and white shirts, grazing Tomkins’ thigh and onto the post. It was Palace’s best and last real chance of the half.
Palace headed down the tunnel having certainly created the better chances, but to no avail.
Joselu replaced Rondon at the break, and Shelvey’s wicked free-kick from the right flank fizzed across the Palace box whilst the Spanish substitute collided with Tomkins. Appeals for a penalty were waved away but Tomkins soon ended in the referee's book regardless, after a late challenge on Perez.
On the 62nd minute, Max Meyer replaced Cheikhou Kouyate to rapturous applause. The adept German’s early touches were assured, and he successfully found pockets of space in the middle of the park.
With 20 minutes to play, both sides made changes with Alexander Sørloth replacing Ayew, and Christian Atsu coming on for Matt Ritchie. Palace began to pile on the pressure. Townsend switched to the left which proved the catalyst for Palace's sustained pressure, and he side stepped an onrushing defender brilliantly, creating space for Van Aanholt who hesitated on striking the ball first time, before he was crowded out for space.
Townsend again sprang to life as he won the ball right on the touchline, and launched a looping cross that eluded Dubravka, leaving Sakho free at the back post with the goal gaping – but the French centre-back headed wide in Palace’s best chance of the game.
Palace deluged the Newcastle goal, winning corner after corner, and in the dying moments, Zaha flashed an effort across the box, with McArthur’s out-stretched boot falling agonisingly short.
It was a day of what-ifs in south London, but a point is a point and Hodgson's men move on to seven from six games. The wait for the 100th Premier League win continues.
Palace: Hennessey, Wan-Bissaka, Tomkins, Sakho, Van Aanholt, Milivojevic, Kouyaté (Meyer ’62), McArthur, Townsend, Zaha, Ayew (Sørloth ’70).
Subs not used: Guaita, Puncheon, Kelly, Ward, Schlupp.
Newcastle United: Dubravka, Lascelles, Fernández, Dummett, Yedlin, Diamé, Shelvey, Kenedy, Ritchie (Atsu ’71), Pérez (Muto ’80), Rondón (Joselu ‘45).
Subs not used: Darlow, Clark, Sung-yeung, Manquillo.
To listen to how the Eagles fare this time around against Newcastle, make sure to grab your Palace Audio pass for just £1.49.