WATCH: Newcastle 1-0 Crystal Palace
Last Updated: 22/10/17 12:02am
Mikel Merino came off the bench and headed Newcastle to a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace with his first goal in English football.
The Spaniard's header from Matt Ritchie's 85th-minute corner handed the Magpies a win they barely deserved on an afternoon where they were poor for long periods before producing a late flurry.
Palace - who enjoyed better chances for much of the game - ultimately paid for their lack of finishing with their best effort coming from fit-again winger Wilfried Zaha, who headed wide before the break.
The home side found themselves defending deep as Palace dominated possession, but inspiration remained in short supply.
Andros Townsend sent a dipping 65th-minute shot over Rob Elliot's crossbar, but Newcastle belatedly found their feet and, after substitute Mohamed Diame had warmed keeper Julian Speroni's hands with a curling effort, Jonjo Shelvey caused him a degree of difficulty with a swerving long-range strike which he just about managed to block.
Patrick van Aanholt only just failed to connect with substitute Ruben Loftus-Cheek's cross as he slid in at the far post with 10 minutes remaining, but Merino struck from Ritchie's corner to snatch victory at the death.
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