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Newcastle moved out of the relegation zone

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Keeper Karl Darlow is mobbed by his Newcastle team-mates after saving Yohan Cabaye’s penalty

Newcastle moved out of the relegation zone as Andros Townsend’s strike and a penalty save by Karl Darlow helped them to victory over Crystal Palace.

With Norwich playing at Arsenal later and Sunderland drawing at Stoke, the Magpies moved into 17th – a point clear of the Black Cats.

Townsend gave Newcastle the lead after the break with a magnificent 20-yard free-kick.

Darlow then came to the rescue when he saved Yohan Cabaye’s poor penalty.

A new hope

They had been written off by pundits and even some of their fans had stopped believing but, on a sunny spring day at St James’ Park, Newcastle provided another twist in this fascinating Premier League season.

Until the second half it had been an error-ridden display by the Magpies, whose midfield were overrun by their Palace counterparts.

However, as they have in recent matches, Newcastle improved tenfold after the break and it was their January signing Townsend who caused the ground to erupt in the 58th minute when he cracked home a stunning free-kick from the right.

It was his fourth in 11 games for his new team – more than the three in 50 he managed for Tottenham.

Third-choice keeper saves the day

As if matters on the pitch have not been bad enough, Newcastle have also been very unlucky with injuries to their goalkeepers this campaign.

Both Tim Krul, in October, and then Rob Elliot, in March, were ruled out for the season which handed 25-year-old Darlow a chance in between the sticks.

Like team-mate and another former Forest player, Jamaal Lascelles, he has grasped the opportunity and understood the perilous situation like a seasoned professional.

Against Palace, he pulled off arguably the most important save of his career when he dived to his left to block Cabaye’s 70th-minute spot-kick after Moussa Sissoko was penalised for handball.

He also looked assured in the final moments as Palace flung in balls in a desperate attempt to get something from this encounter.

Palace in no-man’s land

Palace are highly unlikely to go down, but Alan Pardew’s side are making hard work of reaching that 40-point mark.

They were largely untroubled in the first half, however their insistence to slow the tempo not only riled the home fans but also meant that they under-utilised the pace they possessed in attack, which is their key weapon.

The FA Cup finalists have another big Wembley day out to look forward to in May, but as a top flight side?

BBC

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