Crystal Palace 1 Newcastle United 1
- Andre Marriner
Crystal Palace 1 Newcastle United 1
They could even have made their advantage a more commanding one before the break, but Palace had much the better of the second half, and got back on level terms through Luka Milivojević’s spot kick.
The player who gave that away – Ciaran Clark – made a vital contribution as United held out for a draw, twice denying Christian Benteke as the Eagles laid siege to the visitors’ goal late on.
The game got off to a lively start, with both ‘keepers called into action inside the opening ten minutes. Up against his former club, it was United’s Dwight Gayle who was first to go close. Paul Dummett helped the ball back into the penalty area, Gayle took it down, and the forward brought a low stop out of Wayne Hennessey on the turn.
Two minutes later, the Magpies lost the ball in midfield, and Patrick van Aanholt was able to slide Benteke in on goal. But, under pressure from Dummett, the Belgian could only fire straight at Karl Darlow.
It was Newcastle who started to turn the screw as the first half wore on, though. Ayoze Pérez got on the end of a DeAndre Yedlin cross 12 yards out, and Hennessey did well to gather the ball to his right. Just five minutes later, however, United took the lead.
After a neat passage of play, the Magpies won a corner on the right. Kenedy delivered it low, Pérez just about got a touch, and Diamé was on hand to stab the ball home at the back post.
Palace threatened a leveller when Wilfried Zaha met a low Timothy Fosu-Mensah cross, but Yedlin got in the way. United then came very close to doubling their advantage, as Kenedy gathered Pérez’s through ball and stepped back inside, only for Hennessey to stand firm.
Newcastle were fortunate still to lead at the interval, though. Zaha’s effort took a nick off Clark before being parried by Darlow straight into the path of Benteke, but the frontman wasn’t anticipating it and the chance went begging.
The Eagles had started to look more dangerous as the interval loomed, and they were quickest out of the traps after the break. Eight minutes after the restart, van Aanholt crossed for Andros Townsend from the byline, but the former United winger failed to keep his header on target.
With their next attack, though, the home side were given a golden opportunity to equalise. From the same flank, Zaha looked to pick out Benteke six yards out, and the Belgian’s attempt to connect with the ball was seemingly halted by Clark, who was flagged for a pull of the shirt. Darlow very nearly kept out Milivojević’s penalty, but the Serb’s effort had just enough power on it.
United struggled to get out of their half in the following exchanges. Dummett was booked for hacking down Townsend wide on the Palace right, and James McArthur almost completed a quick-fire turnaround with an acrobatic attempt, which dropped wide of the near post.
With just less than a quarter of an hour to play, McArthur opted to shoot from 20 yards rather than play in one of his teammates to the left, and the Scot’s left-footed strike sailed over the crossbar.
Then, Zaha – comfortably Palace’s liveliest asset on the day – cut in from the left and curled over, before substitute Isaac Hayden fired straight at Hennessey following a rare United attack.
With 88 minutes on the clock, Clark had to produce two superb near-post blocks to deny Benteke, the Belgian having risen to meet another Zaha delivery before being quickest to the loose ball.
1-1 was how it remained, though, a result which edges Newcastle a point clear of the relegation zone ahead of next week’s visit of Manchester United.