Callum Wilson and Joelinton conjured a dramatic finish in a game that appeared destined to end in a scoreless stalemate to deliver Newcastle United a much-needed victory and add to the concerns confronting Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson.
With Steve Bruce’s side apparently holding out for a point, Wilson made the breakthrough with his seventh goal of the season in the 88th minute before Joelinton matched his team-mate’s effort a minute later to kill off the game.
The outcome was that Bruce was handed a necessary boost while Hodgson was forced to contemplate his side’s failure to score in three of their last four games.
Hodgson had been dismissive when it was pointed out to him before kick-off that the two teams had the worst possession records in the division this season.
“I don’t believe in possession stats,” said the Palace manager. “Until they have some relevance to the game of football I’m not interested, it’s a load of nonsense. The only possession stats I’m interested in are in the final third.”
The problem for Hodgson, though, was that his side initially struggled to enjoy any sort of meaningful possession in their opponents half as Newcastle started in a more determined manner, quickly creating a number of half-chances before Joelinton finally tested keeper Vicente Guaita from 20 yards.
That appeared to jolt Palace into action and with Eberechi Eze becoming increasingly prominent, the home side began to assume control of the match. Eze was at the heart of a controlled build-up that ended with the midfielder drawing a good save from Karl Darlow, who was tested again moments later by a powerful angled shot from Jeff Schlupp.
Any hope that period of home pressure might spark the game into life was misplaced, though. Newcastle ended the first period strongly with Joelinton again drawing a save from Guaita but neither side had done enough to deserve a half-time lead.
The second period followed much the same pattern and was summed up when Palace’s Patrick van Aanholt drilled a free-kick into the Newcastle defensive wall, moments after Jonjo Shelvey had produced a similarly unimpressive effort at the other end of the pitch.
Slowly, though, Bruce’s side began to assert themselves with Wilson coming close to heading a 67th-minute lead after meeting Javier Manquillo’s cross. Then four minutes later, Joelinton was guilty of a much more glaring miss when found himself unmarked on the edge of the six-yard area yet somehow failed to make a clean connection when he was picked out by Matt Ritchie’s well-delivered cross.
Guaita 6; Clyne 7, Dann 6, Cahill 8, van Aanholt 6; Townsend 5 (Riedewald 67, 6), McArthur 6 (Batshuayi 82,6), Kouyate 7, Eze 8; Ayew 5 (Benteke 66, 6), Schlupp 7.
Butland, Ward, Tomkins, Sakho.
Darlow 8; Manquillo 7, Fernandez 6, Cark 8, Lewis 7; Hendrick 5, S Longstaff 6, Shelvey 6, Almiron 5 (Ritchie 68, 6); Joelinton 6, Wilson 7 (Schar 90, 6).
Gilespie, M Longstaff, Yedlin, Murphy, Anderson.
Graham Scott 6