Newcastle got the wrong kind of full-time reaction from Crystal Palace away from TV cameras

The half-hearted boos were still audible at full-time as a section of Crystal Palace fans made their feelings clear towards Newcastle United players and staff as they approached the tunnel. Only the visitors had not left Selhurst Park with all three points after ruffling a few feathers. Newcastle had suffered a painful 2-0 loss.

You could not help but think back to when Newcastle were loudly booed off in defeat at Anfield last season after the visitors got under the skin of Liverpool. That was a night Eddie Howe uttered: “My ideal is that we’re booed off every week when we go to away grounds because you don’t want to be popular…we’re here to compete.”

Wednesday’s rather tame reception was a world away from that hostile farewell. So, too, was this display as Jean-Philippe Mateta helped himself to a second-half double.

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Absent players continue to be missed, but Fabian Schar was the first to admit the performance was ‘not acceptable’ while even Howe said there were only ‘one or two who really come out with credit technically’. Oliver Glasner, in contrast, almost looked in disbelief. Not only with the intensity his relentless side played with, just three days after their last game, but, also, with how Palace troubled Newcastle. “There were moments Newcastle didn’t get out of their half,” the Palace boss told reporters. “It’s Newcastle playing for the Europa League, playing in the Champions League this season.”

Newcastle, damningly, did not have their first effort on target until the 87th minute on Wednesday night and, even then, Elliot Anderson’s header was comfortably dealt with. If this strangely blunt showing came as a surprise, well, this latest defeat on the road did not necessarily come as a huge shock.

Newcastle have now lost eight of their past 11 away games in the Premier League and the injury-hit Magpies have picked up just four measly wins on their travels all season in the top-flight. Only relegation-threatened Burnley, Nottingham Forest, Luton Town and Sheffield United have worse records away from home. In contrast, last season, only Manchester City and Arsenal fared better than Newcastle up and down the country.

If it was not for Newcastle’s home form – the black-and-whites have picked up nearly three-quarters of their points at St James’ Park – Howe’s team would be nowhere near the top seven with five games to go. The visit of basement boys Sheffield United on Saturday, therefore, feels timely and gives the hosts the chance to quickly respond. However, trips to Burnley, Manchester United and Brentford still lie in wait and if Newcastle are to qualify for Europe, the Magpies can ill-afford a repeat of this showing.

It was certainly a marked contrast to Newcastle’s display in the 4-0 win against Spurs last time out and Howe named an unchanged XI and stuck with the fluid system that worked so well little more than a week-and-a-half ago. Newcastle once again lined up in a 3-4-3, but Palace did not give the visitors the opportunity to settle. Far from it.

There were just four minutes on the clock when Fabian Schar had to make a superb block tackle to deny Joachim Anderson after the Crystal Palace defender pulled the trigger inside the box. Danger man Eberechi Eze then fired just wide from outside the area in the 12th minute before Jean-Philippe Mateta sent a header over a couple of minutes later.

Anthony Gordon is tackled by Adam Wharton during Newcastle United's game against Crystal Palace
Anthony Gordon is tackled by Adam Wharton during Newcastle United’s game against Crystal Palace

Newcastle were struggling to get out. Not only were Palace dominating possession – 75% at one point – the hosts were pressing Newcastle intently the second the Magpies won it.

On the rare occasions Newcastle managed to break the press, Howe’s team did not take full advantage. Harvey Barnes opted for an elaborate backheel to try and tee up Anthony Gordon early on while Dean Henderson rushed out of his goal to foil Alexander Isak following Bruno Guimaraes’ scooped ball over the top on the half-hour mark. Newcastle ultimately failed to have a single shot on target or even win a corner in the first half.

It brought back memories of Newcastle’s last away day at Fulham earlier this month and, like that afternoon at Craven Cottage, Howe used a break in play to deliver some strong words to his players on the touchline. You can be sure Howe made his point at half-time, too, but it was Palace who found a second wind after the break – and the hosts were soon in front.

Emil Krafth, under pressure from Tyrick Mitchell, could only clear the ball as far as Joachim Andersen on the halfway line and the defender quickly picked out the unmarked Eze in space. Eze was 35 yards from goal, but the forward had the time he needed to look up and slip the ball into Mateta’s feet just outside the box.

Schar and Burn both got drawn to the ball, and drawn out of position, and Mateta played a clever one-two with Jordan Ayew before firing Palace in front with a well-taken finish. Burn could only throw his arms up and down in frustration.

Sean Longstaff had a penalty appeal turned down in Newcastle United's defeat against Crystal Palace
Sean Longstaff had a penalty appeal turned down in Newcastle United’s defeat against Crystal Palace

Howe soon turned to his bench and introduced Lewis Hall and the returning Callum Wilson for Jacob Murphy and Harvey Barnes. Isak moved out wide, as a result, and it was from this position on the right that the record signing attracted four Palace players to him with a quarter of an hour to go. Isak then squared the ball to Longstaff inside the area.

Longstaff took two touches and the recovering Will Hughes threw an arm out to halt the midfielder’s momentum. Down Longstaff went, but the penalty was not given – even after a VAR check.

Longstaff was fuming, but Newcastle’s night was about to get even worse late on. Once again the visitors gave the ball away after Longstaff got his wires crossed and Hughes found Jeffrey Schlupp out on the left. The substitute cut the ball across to Hughes, who pulled it back for Mateta to drill the ball through Dubravka’s legs. There was no coming back from that.

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