In what was a poor game this afternoon at St. James’ Park in front of another sell-out crowd, and 21-year-old Mikel Merino was the hero with a late headed goal after 86 minutes.
That allowed Newcastle to take all 3 points and keep a clean sheet after conceding two sloppy goals at Southampton last week.
It was an important win for the Magpies – our 4th of the season – and the 3 points take us up into 6th place in the league table so the result was fabulous even if the display wasn’t.
But Newcastle can find a way to win these games – even when we have an off day and young Mikel Merino tonight will be the hero with his first goal ever for the club.
Roy Hodgson played a 4-4-2 system against Newcastle this afternoon with former Newcastle winger Andros Townsend and Wilfried Zaha the two men up front.
Just like they did last week at home to Chelsea, they caused some trouble for us, particularly in that first half.
Mikel Merino – after scoring the winner
It was an even first half but the lack of creativity in the Newcastle team was in full view as we struggled to break down a well organized Palace side.
The best chance we had fell to winger Christian Atsu but his left foot shot went into the side netting.
Former central midfielder Yohan Cabaye demonstrated his wild tacking and could have received a red card after bringing down DeAndre Yedlin with a late tackle, but he only got a yellow.
The pitch made it hard going although Newcastle improved after the break but we still couldn’t create too many chances.
Rafa brought on Merino after 55 minutes for Hayden and then Diame for Perez (66 mins) and finally Aleksandar Mitrovic for Joselu with just 12 minutes to play.
That was the first time we have seen of Mitro since he was sent off late in the 3-0 win against West Ham for elbowing Manuel Lanzini whio9hc was out first win of the season.
It was another assist for – you guessed it – Matt Ritchie – who sent in a corner after 86 minutes and it was Mikel merino who headed the ball past Speroni for the winning goal and the crowd went wold.
That’s 14 points from our first 9 games and we now need only 26 points to survive for the season – in 29 games.
We are in 6th place – we’ll take it.
Newcastle: Elliot; Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Manquillo; Hayden (Merino, 55), Shelvey; Ritchie, Perez (Diame, 66), Atsu; Joselu (Mitrovic, 78).
Subs: Darlow, Gamez, Clark, , Murphy
Crystal Palace: Speroni, Ward, van Aanholt, Milivojevic, Dann, Cabaye, Townsend, Zaha (Loftus-Cheek, 77), Sakho, Schlupp, McArthur (Sako, 88).
Subs: Hennessey, Tomkins, Fosu-Mensah, Puncheon, Riedewald.
Goal: Merino 85
Referee: Stuart Attwell (Nuneaton)