Crystal Palace 0 Newcastle United 0
- Andre Marriner
Newcastle United were held to a goalless draw at Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon.
Rafa Benítez’s side – marshalled by the outstanding centre half pair of Federico Fernández and captain Jamaal Lascelles – produced a resolute display to keep out the Eagles, who pushed hard for a winner in the second half.
But in the end, Roy Hodgson’s men were unable to find a way through, while Newcastle – with Jonjo Shelvey, Kenedy and Salomón Rondón all restored to the starting line-up – couldn’t quite break down a stubborn Palace defence.
The Eagles had an early sight of goal, and it was created by former United winger Andros Townsend inside the first minute. His cross from the right was met by the unmarked James McArthur, who couldn’t keep his back-post header down.
United then had a chance of their own in what was an engaging first quarter of an hour. Ayoze Pérez robbed James Tomkins 35 yards from goal and looked to run clear under pressure from Mamadou Sakho, but his shot was straight at Wayne Hennessey.
Jordan Ayew glanced over for the hosts before Martin Dúbravka was forced to parry Luka Milivojevic’s free kcik, but in such an open half Newcastle saw opportunities come and go too. Jamaal Lascelles, back after injury forced him off at half time against Arsenal last weekend, couldn’t find the target with successive headers from Shelvey and Matt Ritchie’s corners.
The closest either side came to scoring before the break, though, was another Palace free kick. Milivojevic whipped it in low from the left and it evaded everyone in the box, striking the base of Dúbravka’s post and bouncing to safety.
With Joselu sent on in place of Salomón Rondón at half time, the Magpies began strongly, with Ritchie drawing a foul on the right. Shelvey curled in a fine set piece which the Spanish substitute looked set to reach before appearing to be tripped by Tomkins. Referee Andre Marriner was unmoved, though, waving away the appeals for a penalty.
It remained a hard-fought, open affair, with Townsend seeing a shot blocked as Roy Hodgson’s men began to turn the screw. Alexander Sorloth was sent on in place of Jordan Ayew as the hosts sought a focal point in attack, while Benítez’s side – who had soaked up some pressure in the second period – introduced Christian Atsu for Ritchie, with the Ghanaian testing Hennessey with a low drive soon after.
But it was Palace who carved out the best chances to win the game inside the final ten minutes. Townsend kept the ball in play and sent over a high, hanging cross which cleared Dúbravka at the far post, but Sakho somehow headed wide of the open goal.
Then, Dúbravka had to be alert to smother Townsend’s shot after substitute Max Meyer played him in, rushing off his line to close down the wideman.
And at the death, Wilfried Zaha – whose threat had been contained well by the United backline – fired across the face of goal with McArthur, at full stretch, just unable to get a decisive touch, as the visitors held on to take a point.