A late goal from Papiss Cisse earned Newcastle United a dramatic 1-0 win over Barclays Premier League strugglers Crystal Palace.
Cisse found the net with a stoppage-time header, having previously passed up a number of opportunities to make the match safe. The Senegal forward had been frequently denied by Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni, but redeemed himself with only his second Barclays Premier League goal of the season, giving Newcastle success in their second match with assistant manager John Carver in the dugout in place of the banned Alan Pardew.
Palace, who remain three points above the relegation zone, looked set to claim a share of the spoils after displaying excellent defensive resolve. The visitors had also struck the crossbar through Yannick Bolasie and must have thought they had done enough to earn a point when Cisse missed an open goal late on after Cheick Tiote had crashed an effort against the woodwork. However, the London club's hopes were dashed at the death by Cisse’s late winner.
Carver named the same XI who started last weekend's 1-0 defeat at Fulham, while Cameron Jerome and Jason Puncheon replaced Glenn Murray and Tom Ince for Palace. Newcastle enjoyed the better of proceedings early on and would have taken the lead after 12 minutes were it not for the fine reflexes of Speroni, who reacted well to deny Cisse after he had combined with strike partner Luuk de Jong.
The hosts continued to dictate possession for much of the first half but were frustrated by a well-organised visiting defence.When Newcastle did carve out another opportunity they were again thwarted by the excellence of Speroni, the Argentinian keeping out Cisse's fine volley from Moussa Sissoko's right-wing cross.
It took until six minutes before the interval for Palace to threaten the Newcastle goal as Bolasie curled narrowly over from the edge of the area. Paul Dummett then did likewise for Newcastle with a free-kick on the stroke of half-time.
Palace were the brighter of the two sides in the opening stages of the second period and twice came close to claiming the lead. Kagisho Dikgacoi drew a superb close-range save from Tim Krul and Bolasie clipped the top of the bar with a fine bending effort. Newcastle brought on Hatem Ben Arfa in place of De Jong in an attempt to turn things around and Speroni again saved from Cisse following an excellent through-ball from Sissoko.
Cisse continued to be at the focal point of almost every Newcastle attack, but headed another opportunity over from a Ben Arfa delivery. It appeared as if his chance at salvation had passed as he failed to connect with Sissoko's pull-back after Tiote had seen a deflected strike hit the bar. Yet there was to be one last twist in the tale as Cisse met Ben Arfa's perfectly placed far-post ball with a bullet header that flew into the top corner.
Newcastle United assistant manager John Carver: "As long as we've got time on the clock, we believe we can score right up until the last minute, because we've done it on a number of occasions. He [Cisse] took probably his hardest chance as it came quickly and he's guided it past the goalkeeper.
"Last week[in 1-0 loss to Fulham] we didn't create a great deal, but the two chances actually fell to Papiss and I said after the game last week how hard he does work on the training ground to put that right and he certainly did that today.
"He's not going missing, he's not hiding and sometimes you can when you're lacking in confidence. I don't think he's lacking in confidence, I think he's just lacking in a little bit of luck, and he might have just had that little bit of luck at the end today because he popped up in the right area and had the composure to guide it in."
Crystal Palace manager Tony Pulis: "One or two of the players tired late on and to get beat with the last kick of the game is really disappointing.
"We created some good chances. You know you're going to come to Newcastle and they're going to create opportunities and chances because they've got some good players.
"But I thought we had good opportunities first half and into the first quarter of an hour, 20 minutes second half."
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|05 Apr 2014||v Man Utd (H)|
|12 Apr 2014||v Stoke (A)|
|19 Apr 2014||v Swansea (H)|
|28 Apr 2014||v Arsenal (A)|