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Newcastle United secured a fifth consecutive league win with an emphatic 3-0 victory over Crystal Palace.
Alan Pardew's side produced an excellent performance to make it six wins from their last seven league encounters and cement their place in the Premier League top six.
It was disappointing day for Pardew's former club Palace as their hopes of continuing their revival under new manager Tony Pulis were quashed by Newcastle, who took the lead midway through the first half thanks to Yohan Cabaye's fourth goal of the season.
That advantage was doubled after 39 minutes through Daniel Gabbidon's own goal and, despite an improved Palace performance in the second half, Newcastle's victory was confirmed in the final minutes with a Hatem Ben Arfa penalty.
Palace welcomed defender Dean Moxey back into the starting XI following his recovery from a hamstring injury, while midfielder Cabaye returned for Newcastle after missing last Saturday's 1-1 draw with Southampton through suspension.
It took 14 minutes for either side to craft an opportunity, Barry Bannan's curling free-kick was well held by Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul.
Newcastle dictated possession and missed a great chance to take the lead just before the 20-minute mark as Mathieu Debuchy headed wide from a Cabaye corner.
The visitors' pressure paid off five minutes later, though, when Cabaye met Moussa Sissoko's low cross with an effort that deflected past a stricken Julian Speroni.
Palace responded well and twice came close to levelling on the half hour, Krul - making his 100th appearance in the Premier League - denying Cameron Jerome from close range before Vurnon Anita cleared off the line from the resulting corner.
Tony Pulis' men failed to capitalise on that period of sustained pressure and were duly punished in the closing stages of the first half as Gabbidon inexplicably turned Debuchy's cross into his own net under no pressure from any Newcastle players.
The hosts made two changes at the interval in the hope of mustering a goal back, Jonathan Parr and Yannick Bolasie replacing Moxey and Bannan.
Palace did press with renewed energy in the opening exchanges of the second half. However, it was Newcastle who almost extended their lead, Cabaye's swerving free-kick forcing a strong save from Speroni.
The play gradually became more stretched as Palace attempted to haul their way back into the contest. Palace's profligacy, however, continued to be their downfall as Marouane Chamakh and Jerome both spurned clear chances, while Cabaye nearly scored his second at the other end.
Yoan Gouffran crashed an effort against the bar as Newcastle pushed for a third, which came four minutes from time when Ben Arfa converted from the spot following Parr's foul on Shola Ameobi.
Crystal Palace manager Tony Pulis: "We made it tough. We've had plaudits over the last couple of weeks but today we were poor. The first two goals were awful."
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew: "Not many teams are going to come here and win 3-0. I'm delighted with the players - they were terrific. The key was to control possession and make sure ball didn't come into our box. It's not always easy on this pitch and in these conditions.
"[Yohan] Cabaye made a difference. His contribution was important - he gave us the X-Factor. Hatem [Ben Arfa] gave us that. [Fabricio] Coloccini and [Mathieu] Debuchy were immense as was [Cheick] Tiote. I don't put Cabaye above the others. Five wins away says we have good spirit. It's difficult to break us down and we score goals in open play. We could do a little better on set-plays."
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|02 Mar 2014||v Swansea (A)|