Crystal Palace 0-3 Newcastle
Danny Gabbidon wants the ground to swallow him up after his own goal doubled Newcastle's lead. PICTURES BY KEITH GILLARD.
NEWCASTLE emerged comfortable 3-0 victors over Crystal Palace at a soaking Selhurst Park this afternoon.
Yohan Cabaye put the visitors ahead on 25 minutes and Danny Gabbidon’s own goal doubled the lead before the break.
And substitute Hatem Ben Arfa added a decisive late penalty to make the game safe as Tony Pulis suffered his first home defeat since taking control in SE25.
It took a while for either side to have an effort on goal but eventually Newcastle tried their luck in the 13th minute with a Davide Santon long range drive that flew harmlessly behind.
Tim Krul made an easy catch from Barry Bannan’s free-kick but the visitors came agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock on 19 minutes as Mathieu Debuchy glanced a header just wide after rising to meet Cabaye’s corner.
The Geordies in front six minutes later as Moussa Sissoke easily got past Marouane Chamakh and picked out Cabaye inside the box, whose low shot took a cruel deflection off Damien Delaney’s boot on its way into Julian Speroni’s net.
Cameron Jerome saw his shot put behind by Krul after a good counter from the Eagles and there almost were back on terms in bizarre circumstances from the resultant corner as Williamson’s attempted clearance went goal-wards and was hacked off the line by Vurnon Anita.
However, it was an lown goal at the other end six minutes before the break which doubled Newcastle’s advantage as the unfortunate Gabbidon fired Debuchy’s cross past Speroni.
Cabaye almost added a third three minutes later, escaping the attentions of Dean Moxey before drilling a low angled shot which Speroni had to get down low to deal with.
Pulis made a double change at the start of the second half, withdrawing Moxey and Bannan for Jonny Parr and Yannick Bolasie.
Bolasie - and a clearly frustrated Pulis - were furious when he wasn’t awarded a free-kick after what looked a blatant trip by Yoan Gouffran.
Speroni could only palm away Cabaye’s free-kick and luckily for the Eagles keeper Williamson headed well wide from the rebound.
Chamakh headed just wide from Adrian Mariappa’s cross but they came even closer when Jason Puncheon’s free-kick was headed into the path of Jerome by Mile Jedinak but the Palace striker’s volley flew over the bar.
That man Cabaye again went close with a curling drive from inside the area that went off target.
Dwight Gayle came on for Jerome with 13 minutes remaining before Cabaye shot straight at Speroni moments before Palace’s tormentor in chief made way for Ben Arfa.
Gouffran was only denied by the woodwork after he had a crack from just outside of the box and then Speroni made a good save to put behind Ben Arfa’s shot.
Chamakh was yellow carded for a late lunge on Fabricio Coloccini, meaning the striker is now suspended for the Boxing Day trip to Villa Park.
Palace’s misery was complete four minutes from time when Parr tripped Shola Ameobi just inside the area and Ben Arfa made mo mistake with the resulting spot-kick.
Delaney had a low drive easily saved by Krul as four minutes of stoppage time were signalled, during which Joel Ward sent a looping header harmlessly over.
But by then the stands were emptying as the soaked palace fans headed home in an un-festive mood after what was a most unwelcome reality check after their recent mini-revival.
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Crystal Palace: Speroni, Ward, Dealney, Gabbidon, Mariappa, Bannan (Bolasie 46), Moxey (Parr 46), Jedinak, Puncheon, Chamakh, Jerome (Gayle 77). Subs not used: Price, Campana, Phillips, Williams.
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