NEWCASTLE UNITED had to wait 94 minutes in order to break down the great wall of Crystal Palace as the Londoners looked set to seal their second goalless draw in consecutive weeks in the North-East – until Papiss Cisse struck deep into injury time at St James' Park.
A week after coming away from the Stadium of Light with a 0-0 draw, history looked to be repeating itself on Tyneside – although the second half introduction of Hatem Ben Arfa, who crossed for Cisse - ensured that the Magpies took maximum points.
Alan Pardew once more watched on from afar – this time their Benton training complex – following his three-match stadium ban, and again, following Newcastle's 1-0 defeat last weekend at Fulham, Pardew might have been tempted to go for a wander – that was until Cisse struck late on.
Loading article content
It looked dead-set for a goalless draw up until that point, with fans streaming out of St James' Park convinced it was going to be another shut-out.
Cameron Jerome flashed an eighth minute header wide after a Cheik Tiote free-kick failed to trouble Julien Speroni in the Palace goal after three minutes.
Cisse looked bright in the opening 45 minutes, and saw a powerful shot saved well by Speroni after neat play from Vurnon Anita and Luuk De Jong.
Cisse was on the prowl on the half-hour mark when Moussa Sissoko laid it on a plate for the striker, and Speroni was once more on hand to deny Cisse's sidefoot volley.
The Argentinian stopper was on his toes again when Yoan Gouffran danced through the Palace defence and shot goalwards, before there were big claims for a penalty when it appeared that Scott Dann handballed in the area. Lee Probert did not give it though, and the Magpies were given a let-off five minutes before the break when Yannick Bolasie fired just over Tim Krul's crossbar.
On the stroke of half-time, Paul Dummett fired over a free-kick.
The game threatened to peter out before the introduction of Ben Arfa, who replaced De Jong on the hour-mark, and the Frenchman's influence was felt almost instantly.
The forward, taking up De Jong's vacated No.10 role, pulled the strings and looked more likely to make a positive impression than most of his teammates, Cisse excepted.
After Cisse was again denied by Speroni, Ben Arfa whipped in a right-footed cross for the Senegalese striker to head just wide of Speroni's post, while Ben Arfa's neat pass found Anita, whose shot was blocked by Dann.
Tiote smashed the crossbar in injury time, before Ben Arfa looped a cross in for Cisse, who made no mistake, beating the offside trap to nod past Speroni in front of the Gallowgate End.
NEWCASTLE UNITED (4-4-1-1): Krul; Yanga-Mbiwa, Coloccini, Williamson, Dummett; Sissoko (Marveaux 88), Anita, Tiote, Gouffran (Shola Ameobi 76); De Jong (Ben Arfa 59); Cisse. Subs: Elliot, Gosling, Haidara, Taylor.
CRYSTAL PALACE (4-5-1): Speroni; Ward, Mariappa, Dann, Delaney; Puncheon (Guedioura 80), Jedinak, Bolasie (Bannan 67), Dikgacoi, Ledley; Jerome (Murray 76). Subs: Hennessey, Ince, O'Keefe, Gabbidon, Guedioura.