Match Analysis: Newcastle United 1-0 Crystal Palace

Newcastle United's Senegalese striker Papis Cisse scores a final minute winner during the English Premier League football match against Crystal Palace on March 22, 2014
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Sports Mole takes a closer look at Newcastle United's 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace at St James' Park in the Premier League.

Papiss Cisse scored the winning goal three minutes into stoppage time to snatch Newcastle United a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace at St James' Park in the Premier League this afternoon.

Relegation-threatened Palace had earlier kept the dominant Magpies at bay with organised defending and a string of fine saves from goalkeeper Julian Speroni.

The result means that the Eagles remain only three points clear of the drop zone, while Newcastle, who were without banned manager Alan Pardew on Tyneside, climb above Southampton into eighth in the table.

Below, Sports Mole analyses whether the result was reflective of the action.

Match statistics

Newcastle
Shots: 21
On target: 8
Possession: 73%
Corners: 9
Fouls: 4

Palace
Shots: 8
On target: 1
Possession: 27%
Corners: 5
Fouls: 8

Was the result fair?

The manner of the late defeat is harsh on Palace, but there would have been few complaints had Newcastle won 1-0 having scored earlier in the match. They were camped in the visiting half for long spells and, although the Eagles came close themselves, all of the best chances fell the Magpies' way.

Newcastle's performance

It appeared as though Newcastle, who had failed to find the net in eight of their last 11 Premier League games, would endure another frustrating afternoon in front of goal for much of the contest. Cisse had been unlucky not to score on several occasions in the first hour, but without the now-departed Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa, the Magpies lacked the guile to regularly unlock Palace in the opening hour. Yoan Gouffran was on playmaking duties and was often dropping deep, meaning that the Newcastle strike force of Cisse and Luuk de Jong, who was again underwhelming, were usually outnumbered in the box when competing for largely inaccurate final balls. Things changed when Ben Arfa came on, though. He was very lively, and his vision and coolness to find Cisse for the winner when the crowd were urging him to shoot shows that the Frenchman is a class act on his day. If only he tracked back now and again!

Palace's performance

Describing players as 'hard-working' is often seen as patronising and unglamorous in football, but every single member of Tony Pulis's side put in an excellent shift today, and it may have been that their legs were gone when Newcastle upped the anti in the final stages. Scott Dann and Damien Delaney were excellent in the centre of defence, and very well protected by a midfield which also burst forward when Palace had the chance to counter. Their most dangerous attacker, Yannick Bolasie, who struck the crossbar, was substituted midway through the second half and they never looked half as threatening going forward from that moment on. Pulis's defensive changes may just have invited the extra pressure from which Newcastle eventually scored. Speroni had produced two great saves to deny Cisse, once in either half, but was caught slightly out of position for the winning goal, perhaps anticipating a shot from Ben Arfa.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Papiss Cisse: There were admirable performances from front to back for Palace, but goals win games and Cisse at last got one that his overall play most certainly deserved. He had previously done everything but score in the first 90 minutes. His movement was excellent, and he seems to have rediscovered his first touch. Difficult efforts with his weaker left foot forced good saves out of Speroni and although there was a glaring miss in there too, the Senegalese striker had a fine game, and he hasn't had many recently.

Biggest gaffe

Just before his 93rd-minute winner, Cisse squandered the best of his many chances when he failed to show enough conviction to convert Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa's cushioned pass from all of six yards.

Referee performance

Lee Probert has produced the fewest yellow cards of any referee to have officiated at least 10 Premier League games this season, and he continued his lenient approach today. There were certainly some instances where he seemed to let Newcastle get away with shirt pulling and the other dark arts of defending, but Palace can have no complaints over any significant decisions, because there were not any.

What next?

Newcastle: Newcastle host Everton in midweek before visiting Southampton on Saturday. Two wins against their rivals for continental qualification could keep United's slim European dreams alive.

Palace: Palace have the unenviable task of facing a Chelsea side, who will be buoyed by their 6-0 thrashing of Arsenal this afternoon and are just as in need of the points to fuel their title charge.

Newcastle United's Senegalese striker Papis Cisse scores a final minute winner during the English Premier League football match against Crystal Palace on March 22, 2014
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