Crystal Palace 0-2 Newcastle United
Two late goals, first from Callum Wilson and the second from the excellent Joelinton, were enough to stave off another cry for the head of Steve Bruce after an ultimately successful trip to London.
An injury and COVID hit Magpies travelled to the capital city to face an injury and COVID hit Crystal Palace with the derision of the media no doubt still ringing in Steve Bruce's ears. the press, finally, tacking Bruce head on in his pre-match conference about the quite simply shocking statistics reflecting the quite simply atrocious football his team have played this season.
His 'excuse' this time was to blame underperforming players and the fact Newcastle had been facing 'good' sides. Really Steve. You don't say! And who's job is it to prepare your team for those games?!
Pre match he also called out an injury to Allan Saint-Maximin (we're really not sure), as well as a number of other COVID and injury related issues. This would mean no place the squad for Lascelles, Hayden or Fraser then either.
Bruce would change formation for this one, with a 4-4-2 adopted that got his Magpies off to a solid start, enjoying the greater of the early possession and chances.
But as the game drifted on there was that familiar sight of United dropping deeper and deeper, seemingly happy not to lose rather than going for the win.
But with moments left of normal time Joelinton unlocked the stubborn Palace defence with some smart skill in receiving a shown in on his chest and playing a neat one-two before placing lovely delicate ball into the path of Callum Wilson who did the rest, slotting between the legs of Guaita in the Palace goal.
And within 90 second any thought of a nervy end to the game were immediately dispelled, this time with the same combination in reverse. Wilson setting Joelinton free down the right, before the Brazilian neatly cut onto his left foot and saw his shot fortuitously deflect of the legs of Cahill and into the home goal for 2-0.
A bit of a smash and grab in truth. Maybe we should be happy with the 43% possession against a poor Palace side, bereft of the skills of Zaha and as ordinary as any team you're likely to see this season (other than NUFC).
Full match facts can be found in the Match FactFile at the foot of this page
A performance to remember for Brazilian Jeolinton as the Newcastle number 9 stole the limelight in an otherwise dull and turgid affair.
For 88 long minutes both sides wrestled to find a way to snatch all three points in a game that was missing both sides main talisman. For Newcastle it was Allan Saint-Maximin, for Palace Zaha. What was left was much like a birthday cake without candles. Decent enough, have too much of it and you start to feel sick and not a spark or flicker to be seen.
At least in Joelinton Newcastle had a player who was willing to put himself out there for the points. Mostly solid and workmanlike his performance had already probably secured him a man of the match award before the late drama. But when he first played a beautifully deft ball into the path of Wilson to slot between the keepers legs on 88 minutes to make it 1-0, and then raced clear as the pair reversed roles before his tame shot deflected into the Palace goal for number two his stand out performance had him nailed on for the award.
Newcastle had started quite brightly but as the game wore on it looked more and more like the home side would go on and nick the win, with Darlow called into action on more than one occasion, Fernandez blocking brilliantly and Ayew missing a glorious chance to get the Palace ahead.
But United stuck with it and the sucker punch will delight under fire Steve Bruce as the Magpies take all three precious points back to Tyneside as his team move onto 14 for the season.