Crystal Palace went to St James’ Park back in December and dominated Newcastle United but somehow left without anything to show for their efforts. Today, Roy Hodgson’s side righted the wrongs of that day with a dominant and impressive 90 minutes culminating in a 1-0 win over the Magpies.
- Luka Milivojević and James Tomkins replaced by Scott Dann and Cheikhou Kouyaté
- Gary Cahill and Dann force Martin Dúbravka in to two world-class saves
- Sensational Patrick van Aanholt free-kick on stroke of half-time gives Palace the lead
- HT: 1-0
- Ayew hits post immediately after half-time
- Vicente Guaita saves superbly from Federico Fernández
- Valentino Lazao sent-off in final minute
- FT: 1-0
The first few minutes were open, with both teams’ sets of fans sensing an early goal was on offer. Firstly, Joelinton found himself in a dangerous position in front of Guaita’s goal but the striker’s delay in getting a shot off allowed Cahill and Dann to close him down and escorting him away from danger, when a more promising outcome for the Magpies seemed likely.
The Eagles retaliated with two back-to-back chances - the first coming courtesy of Ayew yet again demonstrating his underrated technical ability, controlling the ball out of the air, and driving down the right-hand side – a deep cross found Wilfried Zaha flying in at the back post but the effort ended up in a Palace corner.
James McCarthy floated in the resulting corner kick, deep and high, which was met perfectly by an onrushing Cahill, whose impressive header resulted in Dúbravka pulling off an equally impressive save to his top right-hand side.
If the first five minutes suggested an open affair, the next 10 went against that and Roy Hodgson’s side went close on three further occasions – each time, Dúbravka showcasing his talents.
Another Ayew Goal of the Season contender almost arrived, with a turn similar to the one the forward pulled off during his West Ham ‘madness.’ Then Christian Benteke saw the goal open up in front of him but a late recovery block almost looped the ball over Dúbravka’s head.
The resulting corner produced a near carbon copy moment of the Cahill chance earlier, only this time it was Dann forcing Dúbravka in to another remarkable save.
Not content on seeing Dúbravka taking all the goalkeeping plaudits for the afternoon, Guaita then pulled off a sensational acrobatic effort from a long-range Joelinton strike, as the Magpies looked to make an imprint on the game.
Just as it looked like Newcastle would escape Palace’s dominance with a half-time whistle, Van Aanholt sent the onlooking Eagles in to hysteria with a sensational free-kick on 45 minutes, which was no more than the famous red and blue deserved.
The 15-minute breather did nothing to calm Newcastle or stifle the wave of optimism surging through the Eagles with Ayew striking the post just two minutes into the second-half.
It took until 20 minutes in to the second-half for Newcastle to start look threatening again, with Fernández’s long-range effort, off the back of a sustained period of pressure for Steve Bruce’s side, drawing a superb tip over from Guaita.
As Newcastle pushed for the equaliser – Dwight Gayle and Matt Ritchie thrown on for the final 20 minutes – space was opening up for the Eagles. And when Zaha fired a low cross into the box and found and unmarked Ayew, it looked like Palace were about to kill off the Magpies.
With time on his side, Ayew controlled well, steadied himself and then fired towards goal. However, as he was so often this afternoon, Dúbravka seemed to defy logic by saving the effort.
The second-half began to drift, tensions rising and several players finding themselves in the book - Joelinton taking undeserved angst with Zaha.
Five minutes of injury time was the outcome of several moments of bad blood between the Eagles and the Magpies - with the visitors afternoon epitomised by Lazaro receiving a red card in the final minute for a cynical foul on Zaha as he raced through.
Although Palace deserved more than just Van Aanholt's wonder-goal, it was a great performance from Hodgson's boys.
Palace: Guaita, Van Aanholt, Dann, Cahill, Ward, McArthur, Kouyaté (Riedewald 89), McCarthy, Ayew, Zaha, Benteke (Tosun 89).
Subs Not Used: Hennessey, Kelly, Pierrick, Meyer, Townsend.
Newcastle: Dúbravka, Rose (Ritchie 71), Schär, Lascelles, Fernández, Lazaro, Saint-Maximin, Bentaleb, S.Longstaff, Almirón (Gayle 71), Joelinton.
Subs Not Used: Darlow, Hayden, Lejeune, Yedlin, M.Longstaff.