Football - Carver backing hero Cisse

Newcastle assistant manager John Carver has backed striker Papiss Cisse to embark on a scoring run after heading the Magpies to a last-gasp victory over Crystal Palace.

PA Sport Report

The Senegal international struck with his first goal since January 4 and just his second of the season in the Barclays Premier League when he dispatched substitute Hatem Ben Arfa's 94th-minute cross in front of owner Mike Ashley.

Cisse, who passed up two good opportunities during last weekend's 1-0 defeat at Fulham, had earlier been denied three times by Palace keeper Julian Speroni and missed his kick from point-blank range seconds before his big chance arrived.

Carver, deputising for the banned Alan Pardew at the post-match press conference, said: "When Hatem came inside, I thought he was going to shoot, but he had the sense to stick it on Papiss' head and he probably took the hardest chance, because it came quickly.

"Of all the chances he had today, he guided it past the goalkeeper, and there's nobody more pleased for him than me.

"Last week, we didn't create a great deal, but the two chances fell to Papiss. 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 are lacking in confidence."

Newcastle left it desperately late to claim a victory they probably deserved after being thwarted repeatedly by Speroni while squandering a series of other opportunities.

On another day, Cisse might have left with the matchball, but ultimately, his injury-time header claimed the spoils in the nick of time.

Tiote had rattled the crossbar two minutes earlier with the Magpies engaged in an all-out assault on the Palace goal, but the woodwork had previously saved them after Yannick Bolasie's 56th-minute shot had evaded keeper Tim Krul.

Asked if the goal might belatedly kick-start Cisse's season, Carver said: "You'd like to think so. There are only eight games left, so if he goes on a run from now until the end of the season, he'll have had a good season, I think.

"I'd like to think so. He is a confidence-type player and you know what strikers are like, if they get one goal, sometimes they get two, three, four goals, so hopefully."

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