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Newcastle rise at the death as Crystal Palace fail to kick on.

The 1-0 scoreline at St James’ Park reflects the type of game between Newcastle United and Crystal Palace perfectly, as it lacked energy, pace and talking points, however, it doesn’t however convey the fact it was actually Crystal Palace who looked most likely to win the game from the outset.

Gareth Southgate was in the stands, and there was little in the way of individual performances from English players that would have got him jumping out of his seat.

Newcastle United will be please to have secured three points given the turmoil surrounding the club during the week, when Mike Ashley announced he was putting the club up for sale. The Magpies lacked any real attacking potency and threat, and they looked likely to be taking just a point heading into the last ten minutes.

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Substitute Mikel Merino had other ideas, when in the 86th minute he converted a corner with a header into the centre of the goal. Despite this the Magpies will undoubtedly have the ambition of getting some recruits come January in the form of some additional attacking assets.

The Newcastle defence had to hold strong, as there was little for them to boast upfront, and to keep at bay who looked the most likely to score throughout the match.

Jonjo Shelvey was lively but gave away plenty of fouls heading into the last quarter which wouldn’t have pleased Rafa Benitez. Matt Richie was effective down the wings, and whipped in a decisive corner to meet the head of Mikel Merino.

Despite the flat performance, Newcastle recorded their forth league win of the season which sees them in a healthy 6th place in the league.

Newcastle face Burnley away next week in Monday night football fixture, in a match that could see Burnley go above Newcastle in the table if they win.

Crystal Palace looked the more dominate side in a very lacklustre game, Andros Townsend however was by far one of the bright sparks of the game, providing most of the positivity for the Eagles moving forward.

Roy Hodgson said ” said he could not criticise’ his sides performance. The only thing noticeably missing for Palace was the presence of a clinical striker. The formation which saw the two front men as Wilfred Zaha and Andros Townsend was effective in opening up the wings, however there was little presence for Palace in the box to convert their snipping runs in behind the defence.

The Eagles looked more confident with the ball and on another day with a prominent striker in the box, would have been favourable to take the three points in this fixture based on todays performance.

It is however another game for Palace which lacked goals, and Palace fans will be hoping their not in for another stint of games without goals or points. Especially after their incredible win against the league champions Chelsea last weekend.

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Ruben Loftus-Cheek came on to replace Wilfred Zaha which would have pleased Palace fans to see him back on the pitch, he definitely made an impact once on the field. It would be nice however to see those two on the field together at some point this season to add to Palace’s attacking threat.

Crystal Palace look to next week where they face West Ham United at home, who are also down near the bottom of the table. Consequently both will be looking to secure some much needed points.

Man of the Match: Mikel Merino

Came on as a sub early in the second half and injected some much needed energy into the Newcastle attack, ultimately his header late in the game was the match winner for the Magpies.

Special mention to Andros Townsend: Who was very good for Crystal Palace and looked a constant threat all afternoon, despite failing to find the back of the net.

Written by Cameron Harrison.

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