Newcastle 3-3 Palace
Wilfried Zaha capped his return to Crystal Place with a 95th minute equaliser at St James' Park. The man on loan from Manchester United latched on to a Damien Delaney nod down in the penalty area and drilled the ball in off the post to snatch a fully deserved point for the Eagles.
With two minutes of normal time remaining Newcastle thought they had won it as Mark Williamson tapped home from close range after a cross come shot from the impressive Rolando Aarons came back off the post. But as Neil Warnock pointed out in his post match interview; "they never give up."
"The game had gotten off to a flyer when Dwight Gayle opened the scoring inside thirty seconds."
The game had gotten off to a flyer when Dwight Gayle opened the scoring inside thirty seconds. A slick passing move eventually ended out wide with Yannick Bolasie where his cross was only cleared as far as Marouane Chamakh on the edge of the penalty area. The Moroccan fired in a low drive which Tim Krul turned on to the post but the live-wire Gayle was the first to react to the rebound and he lifted the ball high above the Dutch stopper and into the ceiling of the net.
Palace would hold that lead until the 37th minute only to surrender it in extremely sloppy fashion to Janmaat (more on that later) but within three minutes of the restart the lead was reestablished. Again Bolasie was away down the left yet his quick pass inside was poorly controlled by Jason Puncheon, with the ball looping up high into the air. Unforgivingly for the home side, however, the winger was not closed down and was given the time to adjust his body and execute perfect technique to volley left footed into the far corner.
Aarons then headed home an equaliser as Palace conceded from yet another set piece before the game went crazy in the final few minutes.
Written in the Stars
Of course Zaha was going to do something special on his second Palace debut. Arguably he should have scored four! Foiled twice by Tim Krul when perhaps he should have done better and having a goal ruled out when he really had no excuses for being offside when looking down the line. Although he did acknowledge this in his post match interview suggesting that he had to score after his earlier misses.But to do it in the 95th minute after it looked like the game was lost. Fairytale stuff.
Jason Puncheon scoring is also up there in the stars with Zaha's late strike. After Neil Warnock was announced as manager, Puncheon's infamous tweets about Warnock were dragged up by the world and his wife over and over again. How could they possibly work together after that? Well, this is how!
He plays, he scores. It is as simple as that. He now has 11 goals in all competitions for the club and it barely feels like he has played a game for us. Under Neil Warnock I can only assume that this will change as he is the typical Neil Warnock striker.
His goal was a classic example of how much of a problem his pace and anticipation is for defenders. When Chamakh shoots he full on slips over and hits the deck, yet before any Newcastle defender can react to the rebound he has already regained his feet and put the ball in the back of the net.
"The boy was born to score goals."
The boy was born to score goals and he will do that this season, of that I am certain and when he does start scoring week in week out, can Roy Hodgson ignore him? I think not.
Dodgy Defending Part 3
Today ladies and gentleman, I will mostly be impersonating Mr bitter himself, Alan Hansen. Seriously, the defending in this game was shocking. From both teams. I will not dissect the Newcastle defending as I do not care about their shortcomings but I will scrutinise ours, for the third league game running.
Janmaat Goal: Admittedly there is an element of bad luck in this goal as several rebounds fell kindly for the home side but there are definitely elements of self destruction as well, with the finger pointed mainly at Martin Kelly. Is there actually a left foot in his boot? When the ball drops to you in your own penalty area and you are surrounded by players, put your foot through it! Aim for the upper tier at the other end of the field. Instead Kelly looked like he was trying to roll the ball three yards in front of him! No matter how many times I watch it I cannot for the life of me grasp what he is trying to do! The look of disgust on Julian Speroni's face as he looks up at him from the ground pretty much sums up how atrocious it truly was.
Aarons Goal: A series of face palm moments, sponsored by Neteller. First we have Delaney and Mile Jedinak both attacking the same ball resulting in us conceding a corner instead of achieving a simple clearance down field. This not the first time that Jedinak has collided with one of his own centre backs this season so it is clear that there has been some sort of communication breakdown. Once is a mistake, twice and you've not learned from it and that is unacceptable. If I can see it's a problem from the stands then as professionals you should be able to figure it out. So fix it.
"Martin Kelly. Again!"
Second, Martin Kelly. Again! His concentration levels are akin to a goldfish. 'What am I doing again? Oh, playing a game of football. Ooops, they've scored.' Against West Ham he was day dreaming for their opener and he was doing the same here. He loses Aarons initially only to recover and find him again and get goal side only to then completely stop and make no attempt to challenge for the ball, allowing Aarons to score "a sick goal" as Bolasie referred to it after on his Facebook page. You're right Yala, "sick" is exactly how I feel every time the opposition get a corner against us at the moment.
Third and final, Fraizer Campbell. You're on the back post lad. It's your job to try and block any shots that might come in that direction so stand there and wait until it is not possible for any shots to come in. Don't wander off as someone is about to head goalwards.
Please, Neil... sort it out.
Of course there is an element that this poor defending can be attributed to players being played out of position all over the pitch. Adrian Mariappa is not a right back, Martin Kelly is not a left back, Joel Ward is not a central midfielder and so on. We definitely need to reestablish some balance at the back and hopefully that will have been addressed by midnight on Monday.
What was concerning is that both Chamakh and Gayle were taken of injured with the latter returning to the field at full time to celebrate, hobbling and with his left ankle heavily strapped. This came after a heavy and unpunished foul from behind by Coloccini. Although the unpunished nature of the foul is hardly surprising considering Mike Jones' performance.
Mike Jones & Alan Pardew
"I was a little but disappointed with the ref because he's, er, in a way, it depends how you look at the spirit of the game because they've wasted time from the moment they've got here, from the first goal kick and yet it has reward them."
Hahahahahahahahahahaha. Disappointed in the referee that gave you almost every single decision in the game?
"Spirit of the game" you say?! So basically what you are saying is that as soon as you took the lead the referee should blow up for full time because you've now got what you want? Is that in the spirit of the game? As soon as you took the lead your players were attempting to run for the corners and Tim Krul was taking just as long to take goal kicks as Julian Speroni was. If when leading you continue to play normally and do not attempt to waste time then get on your high horse Mr Pardew. If you behave in just the same way, do steer clear of sounding like a hypocrite.
Man of the Match: Scott Dann
Ok so after ripping apart our defending you might find it a little bit strange that I am giving the MOTM award to a centre back. Whilst all was collapsing around him he never put a foot wrong. Every time the ball came near him he, with minimal fuss, shut them down and took the ball away. At £2m we really did pull Blackburn's pants down as he is some defender... and he got an assist to boot.
Stuck up in the heavens the lads put in a really good shift, embarrassing the home support that could only muster up the energy to sing once they thought they had won the game in the 88th minute.
I went back to the report from last season and exactly what I wrote applies again this season:
On Newcastle fans, their home support is awful in comparison to their away support. Of course they haven't had too much to cheer about in recent weeks but that was a truly poor showing and another advert as to why away games are just so much better than home games in the eyes of a majority of fans.
It was amusing from up high when Fraizer Campbell came on and a majority thought it was Wilfried Zaha. When he finally did come on though the roar was amazing and when he scored, goosebumps as in unison the away end let 48,000 people know that "He's just too good for you!"
Up Next: Burnley
Well we have to negotiate a transfer deadline day and an international break first and then it on to a MASSIVE game at Selhurst Park. Three points are an absolute must here. With Burnley and then Leicester coming in our next two home matches it means that they are only going to get harder from there on in. We need those points on the board early doors.
Come on you Palace!