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Newcastle United 3–3 Crystal Palace: He's back! Wilfried Zaha marks return with stunning equaliser

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WILFRIED Zaha capped a memorable return to Crystal Palace with a dramatic equaliser deep into stoppage time at Newcastle United this afternoon. It was a well-earned point after a stunning game of football in the north east as Neil Warnock returned to the Premier League. A fantastic advert for the Premier League, it really was. It was a dream start for the Eagles as Dwight Gayle opened the scoring inside just 30 seconds. Yannick Bolasie's cross from the left was only cleared to Marouane Chamakh just inside the box, the Moroccan forced Tim Krul to push a shot onto the post and Gayle was quickest to slam home. Cue wild scenes from the travelling Palace fans behind the goal. It was Gayle's fourth goal inside four days following a hat-trick against Walsall on Tuesday. Newcastle responded by forcing the Eagles back with a couple of quick corners in succession, but Warnock's defence stood firm. It was very nearly number two when Bolasie fed Jason Puncheon on the run inside the box and the winger shot narrowly over Krul's crossbar. Janmaat headed wide at the far post for the hosts after 20 minutes as they cranked up the pressure, and despite a few more corners, Julian Speroni was in fine form in coming to collect. Just past the half-hour mark, Newcastle were nearly level when Moussa Sissoko sent a piledriver of a shot from the edge of the box inches wide. In fact, some areas of the stadium thought it was in as it ruffled the side netting. However, with several minutes of the first half remaining, Newcastle were level thanks to Daryl Janmaat. It was extremely scrappy on Palace's behalf as they failed to clear a loose ball before the Dutchman poked home via a slight deflection to beat Speroni. Adrian Mariappa went into the referee's notebook for a foul on the left, and he was very lucky to stay on the pitch for another foul two minutes later. Into the second period, and just like the start of the first half, it was a dream scenario as the Eagles restored their lead. Puncheon got it, and what a finish it was. The ball feel superbly to him on the left side of the box and the winger showed sublime technique to fire a volley into the bottom corner. However, Palace were to suffer a blow moments later as Marouane Chamakh suffered what appeared to be a hamstring injury and he was replaced by Fraizer Campbell. Martin Kelly nearly added a third after 56 minutes when he went down the left, cut inside and forced Krul into a low save when it looked like nestling into the bottom corner. Speroni was called into action to superbly deny Yoan Gouffran inside the box as Newcastle looked to hit back, while Wilfried Zaha was told to warm up with a view to entering the fray at the midway point. And on 70 minutes, the Palace Academy graduate replaced Gayle, who was forced off with an injury. But Newcastle were level again moments later through Rolando Aarons, who headed home unmarked from eight yards out. But back came Palace – and Zaha had the ball in the back of the net only to be denied by the assistant referee's flag on the far side. Puncheon broke on the counter through the middle and fed Zaha in on the left, before he poked home. It was extremely unlucky. And he had another fantastic chance to put Palace ahead when his shot was initially saved by Krul before he lashed wide the follow-up. Aarons nearly grabbed his second of the afternoon when his speculative effort from the edge of the box flew winches wide in what was turning out to be a real end-to-end affair. It could have gone either way and unfortunately for Palace, it went in the direction of Newcastle's as they grabbed a third with another scrappy, scrappy finish. Mike Williamson got it, poking home from close range after a clearance off the line. Palace were shellshocked, just as they were in March on Tyneside. Seven minutes were added on. Oh, and there was drama to follow – in Palace's favour. It was written in the stars. A Zaha equaliser on his Palace return. Deep into stoppage time, the winger blasted home through a crowd of players to send everyone connected with Crystal Palace crazy. The Neil Warnock era has begun. And Zaha is back in a house full of love. Palace: Speroni, Mariappa, Dann, Delaney, Kelly, Puncheon, Jedinak, Ward, Bolasie (Murray 83), Chamakh (Campbell 52), Gayle (Zaha 70). Subs Not Used: Hennessey, Hangeland, Bannan, Williams. Referee: Mike Jones

Newcastle United 3–3 Crystal Palace: He's back! Wilfried Zaha marks return with stunning equaliser


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