Newcastle 1-0 Crystal Palace
Papiss Cisse’s 94th minute winner denied Crystal Palace a share of the spoils at Newcastle United this afternoon.
The Eagles looked to be on their way to picking up a useful point on the road but were undone with virtually last kick of the game when Cisse popped up with a dramatic late header.
Tony Pulis made two changes from the side which played in the north-east seven days at Sunderland as Jason Puncheon and Cameron Jerome came in in for Tom Ince and Glenn Murray, who were both named among the substitutes.
Cheick Tiote tried his luck from long range inside the opening minute but his deflected effort was easily gathered by Julian Speroni.
Tiote saw another deflection put behind his free-kick moments later but this time it came off his own team-mate and the Eagles were awarded a goal-kick.
Tim Krul had to tip behind Yannick Bolasie’s cross at the other end as Palace won their first corner but Puncheon’s delivery was poor.
Speroni had to scramble back to catch Cisse cross-cum-shot and then Jerome placed a header just wide after being found by Puncheon.
Jerome then broke clear down the right after brushing aside Fabricio Coloccini but his eventual low cross was hacked clear by Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa.
The ever alert Speroni did well to deny Cisse before Luuk De Jong’s follow up header went just over and he was called into action again to deal with Moussa Sissoko’s shot after he was cleverly played in by Yoan Gouffran.
Jerome really should have passed to either Bolasie or Kagisho Dikgacoi when he broke through on 25 minutes but instead elected to go for goal himself and the attempt was blocked.
Palace had their keeper to thank again when he saved from Cisse after a quick Newcastle counter attack ended with Sissoko whipping in a dangerous looking delivery and Speroni again came to the rescue by catching Gouffran’s angled drive.
Newcastle were beginning to up the pressure and had a penalty shout ignored by Lee Probert for handball against Scott Dann.
Bolasie fired inches over from just inside the area five minutes before the break after he was found by Dikgacoi’s pass.
Palace again went close before the break when Puncheon’s corner was headed clear by Yanga-Mbiwa, while Paul Dummett saw a free-kick fly inches over the bar with what proved to be the final kick of an entertaining first half.
Puncheon’s 48th minute shot flew off target and then Jerome saw his effort blocked by Tiote two minutes later as palace began the second half all guns blazing.
Dikgacoi attempted to lift the ball over Krul after being played in by Puncheon, only for the Newcastle stopper to get a hand to the effort, and then Bolasie hit the bar as palace again went close to getting their noses in front.
The introduction of Hatem Ben Arfa for De Jong produced the biggest cheer yet from the home fans and they almost had more to celebrate minutes later but Tiote drilled his shot straight at Speroni.
Palace’s keeper again reacted well to come out and thwart Cisse and then the visitors made their first change midway through the half as Bolasie made way for Barry Bannan.
Cisse really should have put the hosts in front on 70 minutes but his header from Ben Arfa’s cross flew inches over, while Dann made a vital block to prevent Vurnon Anita pulling the trigger as Newcastle again pushed forward.
Glenn Murray replaced Jerome and only a vital headed clearance from Yanga-Mbiwa prevented last season’s top scorer from testing Krul.
Ben Arfa blazed wildly over in the 88th minute from inside the box, a shot which kind of summed up the game in many ways.
Newcastle almost won it in spectacular style in stoppage time as Tiote hit the bar from 30 yards but that wasn’t to be the last opportunity for the hosts as they grabbed an undeserved three points right at the death – Cisse heading home Ben Arfa’s cross.
It was a real sickening blow for the Eagles.
How costly that dropped point will prove will only become clear at the end of the season.
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Crystal Palace: Speroni, Mariappa, Dann, Delaney, Ward, Dikgacoi, Jedinak, Bolasie (Bannan 67), Ledley, Puncheon (Guedioura 80), Jerome (Murray 75). Subs not used: Hennessey, Gabbidon, O'Keefe, Ince. Att: 51,588.
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