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  • By Julian Taylor at Selhurst Park

Point for Eagles against moneybags Newcastle

By Julian Taylor at Selhurst Park

Crystal Palace 1 Newcastle United 1

Considering the form both teams were in ahead of this spiky encounter at Selhurst Park, it was possibly no surprise that a draw was to be the eventual outcome.

Newly in-the-money Newcastle are still looking for their first Premier League win this season, while Crystal Palace, on the other hand, need to start converting stalemates into victories. The Eagles had to settle for their sixth draw of the season, with what would have been a late winner by Christian Benteke ruled out by VAR.

The sturdy, yet shot-shy Magpies, barely scratched the surface of the Londoners’ penalty area – but when they did, how it was a thing of beauty. The spectacular overhead kick by Callum Wilson levelled matters in the 64th minute, with the hosts justifiably wondering about the injustice of the afternoon.

If Newcastle’s problems lie in forward areas, this micro-moment of top quality was a wonderful respite out of nowhere. In general, it remains obvious where their issues are. The Magpies arrived in the capital poised with a siege mentality, and for long spells were brave and organised, until the deliverance from Benteke and then Wilson’s magical equaliser.

There is, of course, extra mileage out of covering Newcastle United since their dramatic Saudi takeover with the Tyneside public still absorbing recent events, including the departure of manager Steve Bruce.

Nevertheless, with the club’s hierarchy watching from the main stand at Selhurst Park, there are more immediate concerns ahead of the prospective megabucks buys which are sure to follow at St James’ Park. Such as interim boss Graeme Jones attempting to prise the team out of the bottom three and attempting to plug the leaks at the heart of the defence.

Palace, with their usual vociferous home backing, were in 14th place and were so unlucky not to emerge from the Emirates with all three points against Arsenal on Monday before settling for a draw. Manager Patrick Vieira went with the front pairing of Odsonne Edouard and Benteke, with Conor Gallagher playing in a potentially threatening role just behind.

There were plenty of skirmishes at the beginning, although as expected, the visitors – having conceded five goals in their last two games - had to organise and do the basics in terms of putting bodies between Palace and their goal.

Off the post

Palace carved out the first real chance in the 20th minute – and it was a golden opportunity for Benteke. From six yards out the Belgian could only head the ball against the post, with Tyrick Mitchell following up with an angled effort which was pushed away by Newcastle keeper Karl Darlow.

Joel Ward and Callum Wilson then became acquainted with the referee Darren England’s notebook for a minor incident on the touchline, with Newcastle, perhaps unsurprisingly, struggling to gain much traction in the Eagles’ half and supply Allan Saint-Maximin with some much-needed ammunition. Palace stopper Marc Guehi was keeping creator-in-chief Saint-Maximin quiet too.

It will have been a concern for Vieira that, for all the possession Palace enjoyed across a feisty first half – prompted well by Gallagher and James McArthur in particular - they could not convert into a number of genuine opportunities. Edouard was occasionally hesitant in the penalty area within sight of goal and Benteke looked a touch lethargic.

The striker must have listened to Vieira at the interval, as he demonstrated a slice of superb technique in the 49th minute; an acrobatic volley whizzing inches over the bar from a perfect cross by Gallagher. Palace were getting closer to breaking the deadlock.

And with Gallagher causing plenty of havoc, eventually Newcastle’s resistance was broken in 56 minutes. The combative midfielder held off a couple of challenges before funnelling the ball to Mitchell on the left. The full-back’s cross was intent and inviting, with Benteke on target this time from close range, heading low and down into the corner of the net.

In the circumstances, you would have expected the Eagles to cement their authority. Yet curiously, this Newcastle outfit seem to improve when they go a goal down. And in the slipstream of going a goal down, they responded, with the introduction of substitute Miguel Almiron a positive.

Magpies' magic

From a 65th minute corner, captain Jamaal Lascelles headed the ball back towards Wilson lurking 12 yards out. And the striker launched himself with a searing effort which flew past Guaita. A marvellous finish - and one for the visiting Toon Army to savour. Indeed, in the fullness of time, you must expect many more, similar, shades of class.

Benteke, being the often maddening figure he can be for Palace fans at times, subsequently wasted a great chance from close range after Vieira introduced Wilfried Zaha into the action.

The bustling Belgian headed into the net with a few minutes left, only for the goal to be ruled out due to an infringement by Guehi. Naturally, the incident and the dying moments drew groans from the Eagles’ faithful. This, in fact, almost felt like a defeat for them. For Palace, and Benteke in particular, this was more a day for mere settling.

Eagles: Guaita, Mitchell, Ward, Andersen, Guehi, McArthur, Milivojevic (Schlupp 73), Edouard, Gallagher (Mateta 86), Olise (Zaha 66), Benteke

Magpies: Darlow, Clark, Lascelles, Wilson, Saint-Maximin (Joelinton 81), Ritchie, Hayden, Krafth, Manquillo, Fraser (Almiron 66), S Longstaff (Willock 66)

Attendance: 24,609


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