Wilfried Zaha scored a last-gasp equaliser on his return to Crystal Palace to earn new boss Neil Warnock a 3-3 draw at Newcastle United.
Zaha, who re-joined Palace on loan from Manchester United on Thursday, struck in the fifth minute of stoppage time at St James' Park after a turnaround inspired by Newcastle teenager Rolando Aarons had seemingly given the hosts all three points.
Thrown on with Newcastle trailing 2-1, Aarons levelled matters with a 73rd-minute header before Mike Williamson turned home what looked to be the winner after the 18-year-old's deep far-post cross had bounced off the woodwork.
Earlier, Dwight Gayle had made it a dream start for Warnock with a strike after just 30 seconds and Jason Puncheon restored the advantage in the 48th minute after Daryl Janmaat had equalised for Newcastle before the break.
Aarons' introduction turned the game in Newcastle's favour, but Zaha's quality shone through in a gripping finale when he ensured Palace a share of the spoils.
Palace began with confidence and scored inside a minute when Gayle slotted past a stranded Tim Krul from point-blank range after the Dutch goalkeeper had done well to tip Marouane Chamakh's effort on to his left-hand post.
Newcastle failed to mount a response after that early setback and instead it was Palace that came close to adding a second, Puncheon lashing over the bar at the near post after fine build-up play from the visitors.
The hosts did slowly begin to mount pressure as they dominated possession, and Alan Pardew's side found the leveller eight minutes before half-time when Janmaat scuffed beyond Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni after seeing his initial effort blocked.
Palace replicated their fast start to the first half in the second, with Puncheon proving his worth in spectacular fashion.
The winger was afforded the time to control the ball in the area by the Newcastle defence and unleashed an acrobatic volley into the bottom corner.
Yoan Gouffran was then denied a leveller by Speroni before Zaha - brought on for the injured Gayle - was thwarted by Krul.
Substitute Aarons headed in to equalise with 17 minutes remaining after Palace had failed to clear Remy Cabella's corner, and the game looked set to end in heartbreak for Palace when Williamson scored in the 88th minute.
Zaha had the final say as he capitalised on sloppy Newcastle defending to seal Palace's first point of the new term.
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew: “I'm disappointed today because we should have had three points. Perhaps we got wrapped up in the crowd trying to get a fourth and it's frustrating to concede. We feel we should have won by now because we've played some good stuff but we weren't as tight defensively today as we have been and Palace caused up problems in wide areas.
"We're very lucky to get Rolando Aarons through the system and I'm sure he'll get games because he's forced his way into my thinking. I've been here four years and were starting to see one or two coming though.
Crystal Palace manager Neil Warnock: "They were poor goals to concede but the effort was tremendous. I've decided not to rush into the transfer market because they're a great bunch and I'm chuffed with the attitude of them. Tony [Pulis] must have done a great job because they've got a great attitude and determination and they can play a bit, too.
"The [Palace maanger’s] job has come out of the blue. I know I was seventh choice but that doesn't bother me. It's a great club and it's nice to be able to put something back into it. The squad needs four [new players] and we're down the line with some of them. There's always someone that becomes available that you haven't thought about.”
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|13 Dec 2014||v Arsenal (A)|