Crystal Palace fight back from early Shelvey goal in huge setback for Newcastle United
Newcastle United 1-2 Crystal Palace
A goal from Jonjo Shelvey, and a pearler at that, would put Newcastle United ahead in this one inside two minutes. Good work from Wilson just inside the area would see him lay the ball back to Shelvey show, with Palace players closing in, smash a 20 yard drive inside the keepers right hand post.
But two goals inside 4 minutes a quarter of the way through the game would turn the contest on its head. The first a thunderbolt of their own with Riedewald smashing home from a cleared corner, the ball taking a slight nick off Clark that would give Darlow no chance. The second far too easy. A free kick from Eze, an almost unchallenged header from Cahill, as simple as you like.
A fifth game at St James Park without a win. Newcastle better than of late but not good enough to break down Roy Hodgson's dogged defensive unit.
8 points ahead of the drop zone now with that team, Fulham, with two games in hand.
Time will tell how important getting NOTHING from this one will be.
On that back of a rarest of good performances away to Everton at the weekend Newcastle entertained Palace at St James Park looking to build on that result and move further away form the drop zone.
Rightly there would only be the one change to the starting line-up, that enforced with the injury to Lascelles, with the more than capable Clark coming into the side in his place. See match FACTFILE at the foot of the page for full team and in match stats.
And it was United that got off to the perfect start. Some good early pressure, with Shelvey already having made a couple of high confidence raking passes, would then see the same player strike home with a beaut.
A cross played into Wilson would be well held up and played back into the path of Shelvey who's strike was into the ground and into the corner of Guaita's goal. Nothing that the keeper could do about that one and the Magpies ahead in under two minutes.
The perfect start.
The next real attempt at target would come just before the 20 minute mark. A good bit of skill from the industrious Almiron would play Fraser in on the left. His cross would get a flick of the defenders head only for Wilson, the only man in the box, to try a scorpion kick similar to that Giroud. Disappointingly the finish went just over the bar for Newcastle.
A couple of minutes later Palace were level. Some good build up play involving both of the Londoners talisman in Zaha and Eze would be cleared as far as Riedewald. HIs strike, from either further out than that of Shelvey's, was hit with such power if would evade everyone but the unlucky Clark who would divert the ball subtly past his own keeper.
Give it another three minutes and the game was turned on its head. A free kick from Eze on the Palace left, whipped into the Newcastle box and finding Cahill who rose above his marker (Wilson for some reason) to head unchallenged into Darlow's net.
Normal service resumed!
Newcastle then had a chance to equalise themselves. A packed box seeing chances for first Almiron and then Fraser who could only find the keeper who would make a straight forward stop.
Newcastle would create the perhaps the easiest chance of the match. Wilson again key to the move, slotting a beautiful ball into the path of Fraser who raced clear. But with only the keeper to beat his attempted dink over the keeper would hit the arm of the Palace keeper and go wide.
And chances would come thick and fast for the home side as the game moved towards half time.
First a deflected free-kick from Almiron would take a flick of the wall before dropping agonisingly onto the top of the bar. The resultant corner seeing Schar head millimetres wide of Guaita's right hand post.
Behind at half time but at least a little more promising in the period before the break.
And that pressure continued into the second half, Newcastle now pressing higher up the pitch as they searched for a way through a well organised Roy Hodgson side.
The game needed some guile, some creativity. Bruce (or is it Jones) solution was the withdrawal of Hendrick and the introduction of Saint-Maximin.
And the Frenchman almost made an immediate impact. Running from the half way line he slipped in Wilson who, but for a great last ditch challenge from Clyne, surely would have seen the Newcastle striker get a good shot on target when well placed inside the box.
The only chances Palace were allowing as they sat deeper and deeper were from crosses however, their defence standing strong. It was starting to look like it would take a piece of magic or a mistake for Newcastle to find at the key to unlock this defence.
Next it would be Dwight Gayle thrown into the action, Manquillo withdrawn with Fraser dropping deeper as Palace would barely get out of their half now.
A lovely run from Saint-Maximin, picking the ball up near the corner flag would force Scott Dann into a great block with the Newcastle winger firing on target with ten minutes left.
The Magpies now being forced now into speculative efforts. Wild from Schar and Shelvey as Palace wold starve possession to all of Newcastle's creative players and those in black and white became every more desperate.
On the stroke on 90 minutes Palace should have sealed it. Eze brilliantly holding the ball in a neat passage of play that would eventually see the ball crossed to Townsend, totally unmarked, 4 yards out, and perfectly placed for a tap in. Inexplicable then that the ex-Newcastle man would tap wide to that fury of his manager.
The reprieve wouldn't cost the London side however, with the only chance of any note going to Andy Carroll who could do no more than tamely head into the keepers arms when well shepherded.
And that was that. Palace with back to back victories. Newcastle back in trouble.