Newcastle were made to work hard in atrocious conditions as they beat Crystal Palace 3-0 in their Premier League match at Selhurst Park.
Yohan Cabaye's man-of-the-match performance in driving rain and high winds saw him score the opening goal after 25 minutes before the unfortunate Danny Gabbidon beat his own keeper while trying to clear a cross just before half-time.
Palace manager Tony Pulis made two changes at half-time as he sought a third consecutive win at Selhurst Park, and his men earned several decent chances to get back into the game.
But the home side were always living on scraps: Newcastle's midfield was impregnable, helping the Magpies retain an extraordinary 70 per cent possession during the game, even if they often lacked cutting edge in the final third.
The introduction of Hatem Ben Arfa with 10 minutes eradicated that problem, however: the French star burst into the Palace box repeatedly, and the home defence's panic cracked in painful manner as debutant Jonathan Parr went in late and clumsily on Shola Ameobi.
Ben Arfa took the spot kick to claim the goal that his superb late cameo deserved - and the goal put the three points beyond doubt.
The defeat was the first big setback for Palace under Pulis, while victory for Alan Pardew over his former club puts Newcastle sixth and keeps them in the hunt for the Champions League spots.
25' GOAL FOR NEWCASTLE! Lovely work from Sissoko on the right, he cuts the ball back and cuts it back for Cabaye, whose first-time shot deflects off Delaney and gives Speroni no chance.
33' - ALMOST AN OWN GOAL! Bannan puts another dangerous-looking ball in the box, but this time Newcastle finally get it clear. Just when it looked Palace had no way back they suddenly had three or four good half-chances there - and only Krul's desperate save from his own player stopped an embarrassing own goal.
39' - OWN GOAL! Debuchy thumps the ball in from the right flank, and Danny Gabbidon's effort to slide back and clear succeeds only in sticking the ball straight past Speroni.
56' - AMAZING FREE KICK BY CABAYE - AND STAGGERING SAVE BY SPERONI! The Newcastle star rips the free kick past the wall from 28 yards, and it's swerving away from Speroni at the last minute and surely goalbound... but the keeper throws out his trailing hand even as his momentum takes him the wrong way, and claws the ball out of the goal.
63' - PALACE'S BEST MOVE: Puncheon picks the ball up in the middle, and finds Parr on the left - who thumps it over to Bolasie... Mariappa up in support and he gets the ball in at last and finds Chamakh... but it's off target! Palace's best move of the match, but Chamakh couldn't keep it down as the ball span in.
68' - WHAT A MISS! Puncheon floats the free kick in and finds Jedinak, who heads back to the unmarked Jerome - but his free chance at a bicycle kick fails as it blasts it just over the bar! Surely Palace needed that one if they were to get back into this?
78' - SHOULD HAVE BEEN 3-0! Cabaye picks up a deflected ball and is on in Speroni, one-on-one... but Cabaye's effort to slot past the Argentine keeper is well-saved, low and left. That chance almost seemed to take Cabaye by surprise.
80' - GOUFFRAN HITS THE BAR! Amazing run by Ben Arfa into the box sees him beat two men and topple over his own feet... but not before laying it off to Gouffran to hit a shot from the edge of the box that cracks off the left upright. So close!
85' PENALTY TO NEWCASTLE! Parr comes in late on Ameobi as he runs into the box, and there's no doubt about that one. Ben Arfa takes - and blasts it in with a piledriver of a shot that finds the net despite Speroni getting a hand to it.
Newcastle's dominant midfield saw them push their possession stats up beyond 75 per cent at one point in the second half, even if it fell back a little in the final minutes
Palace had nine attempts on goal but failed to find the net - they are the most goal-shy team in the league with just 11 goals in 17 games
Jonathan Parr came on at half-time to make his Premier League debut for Palace - and gave away the penalty that put the result beyond doubt. Better luck next time.
Newcastle become the eighth team to register 400 top flight away wins. Their first came on 24 December 1898, when they won 3-2 at Sunderland.
Newcastle United, Champions League contenders? They're just a few points off the top four as we approach the half-way point of the English season, and Alan Pardew's men are showing now signs of blowing their lines. With the club's French contingent in fine form - only one team in the whole of Europe has more goals from French players so far this season - they could still be in the chase come May.
MAN OF THE MATCH - Yohan Cabaye (Newcastle United)
Newcastle's midfield strangled the life out of Palace, and Cabaye was at the heart of it - as well as being consistently the most dangerous man in the box for his side.
Crystal Palace: Speroni 7, Mariappa 6, Gabbidon 7, Delaney 6, Moxey 3, Ward 6, Jedinak 6, Puncheon 7, Bannan 6, Chamakh 6, Jerome 7; Subs: Parr 5, Bolasie 6, Gayle 5
Newcastle: Krul 7, Debuchy 8, Coloccini 7, Williamson 7, Santon 6, Cabaye 8, Tiote 6, Sissoko 7, Anita 7, Gouffran 6, Remy 6; Subs: Ben Arfa 8, Shola Ameobi 7
MATCH IN A TWEET
- Sports & Recreation
- Yohan Cabaye
- Danny Gabbidon
- Premier League
- Hatem Ben Arfa
- Newcastle United
- Jonathan Parr
- Shola Ameobi