Newcastle United 1 Crystal Palace 0: Darlow heroics lift club OUT of relegation zone

Andros Townsend

Andros Townsend

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Newcastle United climbed out of the Premier League's relegation zone this afternoon.

An Andros Townsend free-kick gave Rafa Benitez's side a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace at St James's Park.

But Newcastle had Karl Darlow to thank for the victory.

The goalkeeper denied ex-United midfielder Yohan Cabaye and Yannick Bolasie before the break.

And Darlow stopped a penalty from Cabaye in the 70th minute after Moussa Sissoko handled in the box.

The result lifted Newcastle above rivals Sunderland, who drew 1-1 away to Stoke City thanks to an injury-time penalty from Jermain Defoe.

Norwich City, in 19th place, play Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium this evening.

Both Sunderland and Norwich will have a game in hand on United after this weekend.

Newcastle were second-best before the break, and had Darlow to thank for keeping them on level terms.

Darlow stopped shots from Cabaye and Yannick Bolasie, who troubled United all game.

At the other end of the pitch, Chancel Mbemba and Gini Wijnaldum, recalled to the starting XI in place of Ayoze Perez, had shots stopped by Wayne Hennessey.

Benitez sent out an unchanged team for the second half.

And St James's Park, which had been subdued and anxious before the interval, came alive with news of Stoke's goal against Sunderland.

Townsend was especially dangerous in the final third of the pitch, and the winger stepped up to take the free-kick when he was brought down in the 60th minute.

The January signing curled an inch-perfect effort over the wall and beyond Hennessey.

Later in the half referee Mike Dean pointed to the spot after Sissoko handled a corner in the box.

Darlow dived to his left to stop Cabaye's weak penalty to lift the roof at St James's Park, where Benitez's side saw out an edgy final 20 minutes.

And news of Sunderland's late equaliser at the Britannia Stadium couldn't take the shine of a hugely-important win.

NEWCASTLE UNITED: Darlow; Anita (Shelvey, 88), Mbemba, Lascelles, Dummett; Colback, Tiote; Sissoko, Wijnaldum (Perez, 80), Townsend; Cisse (Mitrovic, 72). Subs not used: Woodman, Taylor, Mbabu, de Jong.

CRYSTAL PALACE: Hennessey; Ward, Dann, Delaney, Souare; Jedinak, Cabaye; Puncheon (Gayle, 73), McArthur, Bolasie; Wickham (Adebayor, 73). Subs not used: McCarthy (Sako, 60), Mariappa, Kelly, Ledley.

Goal: Townsend 59

Bookings: Mbemba 7, Colback 66

Referee: Mike Dean (The Wirral)

Attendance: 52,107