Crystal Palace secured their first win since Boxing Day courtesy of a superb free-kick from Patrick van Aanholt against Newcastle.

It was a bright start for the hosts who were unlucky not to take the lead early on. Martin Dubravka’s one-handed acrobatic save denied Gary Cahill’s headed attempt from a van Aanholt corner in the 7th minute.

The hosts looked firmly in control of the game and went close again just a few minutes later. Scott Dann got his head to van Aanholt’s ball in, but Dubravka was there again to deny Palace.

The visitors rarely threatened the Eagles, and their only real chance of the first half was a long range effort from Joelinton, which was easily saved by Vicente Guaita.

Palace continued to dominate and in the 20th minute they should have taken the lead. Van Aanholt’s free-kick fell to Benteke who astonishingly headed wide from just four yards out.

And then came the games deciding moment, just a few minutes before the half-time interval. Van Aanholt’s 25 yard free-kick went soaring into the top right hand corner of the net, this time leaving Dubravka with no chance. A thoroughly deserved goal.

The Eagles had numerous chances to kill the game off in the second half and really should have in the 50th minute. Kouyaté played in Zaha after a galloping run forward, who crossed the ball for Ayew, but the forward hit the post.

With only a few minutes of the game to go, Palace had yet another opportunity to double their lead. Zaha skinned his marker on the left hand side, before feeding Ayew, who was in acres of space in the box.

The striker’s attempt was heading towards the bottom right corner of the goal, but Dubravka was once again equal to the task to deny the Ghana international.

With five minutes of injury time announced, there was still time for plenty of drama. The visitors were caught on the counter attack after desperately trying to find an equalising goal. Zaha broke away with lightning speed, leading Palace on the counter-attack and was through on goal before being brought down by Inter Milan loanee Valentino Lazaro. There could only be one colour card. Lazaro was shown red and was sent for an early bath.

Palace held on for a well-deserved win to move nine points clear of the relegation zone with 33 points.

Man of the match – Patrick van Aanholt


Crystal Palace: Guaita, Ward, Dann, Cahill (c.), van Aanholt, Kouyaté (Riedewald 89), McArthur, McCarthy, Zaha, Ayew, Benteke (Tosun 89) ; SUBS : Hennessey, Kelly, Riedewald, Pierrick, Meyer, Townsend, Tosun. (4-3-3).

Newcastle: Dubravka, Lazaro, Fernández, Lascelles (c.), Schär, Rose (Richie 71), Almiron (Gayle 71), S. Longstaff, Bentaleb, Saint-Maximin, Joelinton ; SUBS : Darlow, Lejeune, Yedlin, Hayden, M. Longstaff, Richie, Gayle. (5-4-1).

Attendance: 25,486.