Crystal Palace 0 Newcastle United 2

Last updated : 22 November 2004 By Footymad Previewer

Newcastle United ended a run of three successive defeats with a comfortable win at Crystal Palace.

The Magpies, despite having most of the possession, left it late with the goals coming from Patrick Kluivert and Craig Bellamy in the last 11 minutes.

United boss Graeme Souness was without veteran striker Alan Shearer who was sidelined with a thigh strain.

Palace welcomed back star striker Andy Johnson and defender Fitz Hall. Heavy rain made the pitch greasy but Newcastle settled well despite the poor conditions.

Laurent Robert got the better of Emmerson Boyce on the byline but none of his team-mates were able to get a toe to the ball to finish off the smart work by the Frenchman.

Newcastle had claims for a penalty turned away by the referee when Kluivert went down too easily under Tony Popovic's challenge.

At the other end a piece of individual brilliance saw Joonas Kolkka cleverly beat Titus Bramble before curling a shot wide of the far post.

Bellamy and Aki Riihilahti were niggling each other throughout, but when the Welshman beat the Palace defender, the ball fell to Lee Bowyer who lobbed over the bar.

It was settling down to a good contest and when Robert stumbled over Boyce's challenge, the referee gave Palace the benefit of the doubt.

A breathtaking solo run by Kolkka ended with Shay Given being forced into the action, before the Republic of Ireland international made a magnificent save to tip Johnson's effort away after good approach work by Boyce.

Right on half-time Ben Watson's low and hard shot beat Given but unfortunately for Palace the ball flew just past the outside of the post.

Those two chances proved to be the Eagles' only goalscoring opportunities in the entire 90 minutes.

After the break Souness' side took the game by the scruff of the neck. Bowyer, who was very busy in midfield, moved into the penalty area but finished weakly and shortly afterwards Robert's low strike was saved at the foot of the post by Gabor Kiraly.

Palace were giving the ball away too cheaply as they allowed Newcastle to pick up the pieces and launch their own attacks.

The memorable breakthrough came 11 minutes from time when Kluivert was sent clear by Robert.

Robert's back heel exposed the panicky Eagles defence including keeper Kiraly who could not recover in time as Kluivert's effort nestled in the corner of the net.

Three minutes from time Bellamy made the game safe. Robert was once again behind the goal. He carried the ball forward before finding the pacy Bellamy who finished with a rocket shot that flew in to the roof the net to send the Toon Army home a very happy bunch.

MAN OF THE MATCH: Laurent Robert (Newcastle) - Despite being linked with a transfer window exit, the Frenchman produced an outstanding individual display.