NEWCASTLE UNITED are still searching for their first Premier League win of the season after Wilfried Zaha’s stoppage-time strike earned Crystal Palace a 3-3 draw in a dramatic game at St James’ Park.
Newcastle, who had been behind twice, looked to have won when Mike Williamson stabbed home from close range with two minutes left.
But Zaha had the final say, lashing home from close to the edge of the area in stoppage time to ensure Neil Warnock’s second spell in charge at Selhurst Park would start with a deserved draw.
The equaliser was particularly harsh on 18-year-old Rolando Aarons, who looked to have settled things in Newcastle’s favour after he came off the bench to score his first senior goal and set up Williamson’s strike.
While Daryl Janmaat had cancelled out Dwight Gayle’s first-minute opener, the Magpies fell behind again at the start of the second half when Jason Puncheon scored.
However, Aarons headed home another equaliser within seven minutes of his introduction, and struck the post in the move that led to Williamson pouncing from inside the six-yard box to make it 3-2.
That looked like being that, but Zaha, another second-half substitute, had other ideas as he struck to mark his return to Palace with a goal.
Pardew made two changes to the side that started Newcastle’s previous league game at Aston Villa, with Massadio Haidara and Siem de Jong replacing Paul Dummett and Vurnon Anita.
The Magpies finished reasonably strongly at Villa Park, but any hopes of that momentum being carried over into their second home game of the campaign were dispelled within the opening minute.
It took just 31 seconds for Palace to break the deadlock, with Tim Krul palming Marouane Chamakh’s low shot onto the post, only for Gayle to react quickest to steer home the rebound.
Krul should probably have done better with Chamakh’s initial strike, but just as was the case for Sergio Aguero’s goal on the opening day of the season, the Newcastle keeper could only palm the ball to an opposition player, albeit this time via a deflection off the woodwork.
The goal appeared to rock Newcastle and, for the majority of the first half, the hosts failed to trouble a physical and robust Palace defence.
With de Jong seeing little of the ball and Remy Cabella struggling to make his presence felt, it was the 20th minute before Newcastle created a chance, and even that was just a tame back-post header from Janmaat that slipped well wide.
Palace might have scored a second had Yannick Bolasie not shot over after turning in the area, but Newcastle finally found some rhythm as half-time approached and began to create chances.
Their delivery from set-pieces was dreadful, but Moussa Sissoko saw a lot shot deflect over off Mile Jedinak and then lashed wide after a neat lay off from Janmaat.
Janmaat was the best player on the pitch by a distance in the first half, so it was fitting that he was responsible for the equaliser that arrived eight minutes before the break.
It was a scruffy strike, with Janmaat seeing his first shot blocked, only for Emmanuel Riviere to touch the ball back to him to enable him to stab home at the second attempt. Having almost gone two-and-a-half league games without a goal though, the quality of the finish was something of an irrelevance.
Newcastle might also have had a man advantage at half-time had Adrian Mariappa been shown a second yellow card for blocking off Haidara just two minutes after he was booked for a foul.
As it was, they had to be content with being level on the scoresheet, but that parity lasted just two minutes after the restart.
Just as they had in the first half, Newcastle started the second period extremely sloppily and were made to pay when Puncheon swivelled to fire home in the area.
Bolasie laid the ball off to the Palace winger, and after juggling the ball to bring it under control, he lashed a low strike into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.
The visitors went close again moments later, with Krul getting down well to turn Martin Kelly’s low strike around the post, and when Newcastle finally carved out their first second-half chance in the 62nd-minute, Yoan Gouffran’s low shot was saved by Julien Speroni with his legs.
Pardew introduced Aarons in an attempt to change things, but his opposite number, Warnock, brought on Zaha and the winger almost made an instant impact, sprinting past Janmaat to drill in a shot that was saved by Krul.
Two minutes later, however, and it was Aarons that was transforming the game and hauling Newcastle level.
The youngster impressed as a livewire winger during pre-season, but it was his heading ability that made the difference as he nodded home from ten yards after Cabella’s left-wing corner had flicked off the head of a Palace defender.
Suddenly, the game was a frenetic end-to-end affair, and Zaha went close to restoring Palace’s lead for a third time with ten minutes left.
Having been released through the middle, the Manchester United loanee saw his first shot saved, and then lashed a second attempt dangerously across the face of goal.
Aarons was having an equally dramatic effect following his own introduction, and after cutting in from the left-hand side, the 18-year-old curled a great strike just past the far post.
When he repeated the trick with two minutes left, however, it led to Newcastle taking the lead for the first time.
Twisting into the area past his marker, Aarons curled a great strike against the right-hand post, but as the ball dropped inside the six-yard box, Williamson was on hand to stab home the rebound.
It was his first goal in a Newcastle shirt , and could hardly have been more timely. However, it did not turn out to be the winner.
Four minutes of injury time had elapsed when Palace delivered a deep free-kick into the area, and after the ball was nodded back into his path, Zaha held his nerve to drill home a fierce low drive from 12 yards out.
Newcastle (4-2-3-1): Krul; Janmaat (Anita 78), Coloccini, Williamson, Haidara; Colback, Sissoko; Cabella, de Jong (Perez 78), Gouffran (Aarons 67); Riviere.
Subs (not used): Elliot (gk), Dummett, S Taylor, Obertan.
Crystal Palace (4-4-2): Speroni; Mariappa, Dann, Delaney, Kelly; Puncheon, Jedinak, Ward, Bolasie (Murray 83); Gayle (Zaha 70), Chamakh (Campbell 51).
Subs (not used): Hennessey (gk), Hangeland, Williams, Bannan.