United left with work to do...
A bad day at the office for Newcastle United as Crystal Palace left St James with all three points and virtual safety after Luka Milivojevic scored the only goal of the game from the penalty spot.
The result was probably a little harsh on United as both teams spurned good chances and both had goals ruled out by officials.
The result leaves Newcastle 15th in the table, and whilst still 7 points above the relegation zone they have now played a game more than Cardiff as the crucial run in comes to a conclusion.
STARTING XI: Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Schar, Lejeune (Dummett, 65), Ritchie (Atsu, 90), Hayden, Ki (Shelvey, 76), Pérez, Almirón, Rondón
Newcastle had started the brighter, looking to extend a run of five consecutive wins at St James Park. A shot from Ritchie would be the first sign of United’s attacking intend before Rondon got into something like full stride.
The Venezuelan was guilty of wasting three chances in the first half alone, one in particular from close range looked to have run away from him before dropping kindly for the big number 9 only for his to hit his strike with his weaker foot straight at the keeper.
Into the second half and more chances came and went. Almiron perhaps best placed to finish a chance similar to that of Rondon’s in the first half, but again the opportunity would go begging.
Then a horrible moment for Lejeune, when he crumpled to the floor after making a block tackle in clear and excruciating pain. Stretchered off with what looked like another knee injury (not the same knee as his last one), only time will tell if this one will see the player out for yet another prolonged period. Potentially devastating for the lad.
And then the sucker punch.
With Newcastle still pushing for a winner it was Zaha, pretty much absent for the entire game, who ran down the Palace left. Having evaded a lunging tackle by Schar he then cut back into a clumsy foul by Yedlin leaving the referee with no choice but to award a penalty. Milivojevic duly obliged from the spot and it was game over.
A tough on to take.
An away game to a rejuvenated Leicester on Friday doesn’t present the greatest opportunity put the record straight on Friday, whilst another loss may well leave Newcastle in an extremely precarious situation given Cardiff certainly have an easier run in.