Wednesday 11 December 2019

Newcastle withstand late pressure to earn a point at Palace

Newcastle United's DeAndre Yedlin (right) and Crystal Palace's Patrick van Aanholt after the Premier League match at Selhurst Park
Newcastle United's DeAndre Yedlin (right) and Crystal Palace's Patrick van Aanholt after the Premier League match at Selhurst Park

Declan Warrington

Newcastle resisted intense pressure from Crystal Palace to earn a 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park that again took them clear of the bottom three.

They remain 16th but at kick-off had been level on 24 points with 19th-placed Huddersfield, Stoke and Swansea.

Mohamed Diame's first-half finish then took them into contention for victory against a rival for relegation, but Luka Milivojevic's penalty instead earned the hosts a point that took them back up to 14th.

Palace threatened almost from kick-off when a through-ball from Milivojevic sent Wilfried Zaha through on goal but his heavy touch took possession too close to Karl Darlow, who dived low to collect.

Patrick van Aanholt then attacked from left-back and sent Christian Benteke similarly clear, but after another heavy touch the striker struggled for a convincing connection when shooting and Darlow comfortably saved.

A right-wing cross from DeAndre Yedlin gave Newcastle their first sight of goal, through Ayoze Perez's first-time, close-range shot that was on target but did not test Wayne Hennessey.

An attack from Kenedy then led to the corner from which they scored the opening goal. When the Brazilian swung a low delivery into the penalty area that Milivojevic missed, Martin Kelly left Diame to run clear at the back post and routinely finish into the near-open goal.

Some classy one-touch football created another chance for Zaha, whose close-range effort was blocked by Yedlin, and then Hennessey produced a fine double-save to stop shots from Kenedy and the follow-up from Perez.

Towards the end of the first half Palace again worked their way into the visitors' area, from where Yohan Cabaye backheeled to Zaha, the forward's shot was brilliantly saved by Darlow, and Benteke then failed to control when the rebound fell to him in front of an open goal.

That intensity resumed immediately in the second and after Andros Townsend had sent a header high and wide, Ciaran Clark conceded a penalty when impeding Benteke after the striker leaped to reach Zaha's cross.

Milivojevic showed a lack of conviction when shooting towards the bottom right corner but though Darlow guessed right and got a hand to the ball, he was unable to prevent it sailing behind him and into the back of the net.

After further periods of pressure that included James McArthur hooking a rebound wide from in front of goal, the midfielder broke into space on the edge of Newcastle area with time and space but struck over the crossbar.

With five minutes remaining the again-impressive Zaha found space in the area to shoot at goal but curled high and wide, and then crossed to Benteke when the visitors' desperate defending again prevented a winning goal. The striker's header beat Darlow but Clark blocked on the line, as he did once again after Benteke's follow-up.

Jonjo Shelvey was then fortunate not to concede a penalty for a blatant tug on McArthur's shirt at a corner, as again the hosts held out and prevented Palace securing the points that would have taken them up to the relative safety of 11th.

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