In keeping with their week and their current mood Newcastle roared plenty, but the bite never came. They and Crystal Palace might have shared a sense that their positive starts to the season had not quite garnered the tangible reward they should have but their post-match sentiments will be acutely contrasting. Tyneside frustration juxtaposed with south London satisfaction.
“There’s no way we could do that again if we tried,” said an exasperated Eddie Howe after Newcastle missed a series of chances, and a Tyrick Mitchell own goal controversially ruled out for an apparent Joe Willock foul on Vicente Guaita.
Howe suggested the officials “were swayed a bit by the fact the goalkeeper stayed down”. Naturally, Patrick Vieira disagreed and praised Palace’s defensive efforts against “one of the teams close to Europe”.
Just as a goalless scoreline was a poor description of an absorbing contest, Vieira’s claim that Palace “fully deserve the point” glossed over the struggle it had taken to secure it.
It was clear from club captain, Jamaal Lascelles’s, programme notes that Newcastle’s first defeat of the season on Wednesday, at the death at Liverpool, still stung – “I thought we were the better side,” he wrote, somewhat contentiously – and that soreness was evident as Newcastle sped out of the blocks.
Alexander Isak, making his home debut, had the clearest of chances to underline that dominance in bursting clear shortly after the quarter-hour but having scored his first goal for the club at Anfield, his attempted chip was tame and straight at Guaita.
Palace have looked almost as enterprising in the season’s opening weeks but they were showing an almost Hodgsonesque reserve, effectively defending with a back seven when out of possession, and largely doing it well until Newcastle hit their stride as the first half matured.
Sven Botman, an imposing target from set pieces, was denied by a last-ditch block and a sharp Guaita save and by the time a Miguel Almirón shot was deflected onto the post, Palace’s defending had gone from composed to desperate – they must have been delighted to hear the half-time whistle, with an exasperated Wilfried Zaha passing on urgent instructions from Vieira as the seconds dragged until the interval.
Botman dominated again six minutes into the second period, rising to nod Trippier’s free-kick across goal with the ball hitting Mitchell and going in. On closer inspection on the VAR screen referee Michael Salisbury belatedly disallowed it, despite the suspicion that a push from Mitchell on Willock had instigated the preceding collision between the Newcastle midfielder and Guaita, adjudged as Willock’s foul.
It still felt as if it was a matter of time until Palace were rolled over but a triple substitution, introducing Michael Olise, Nathaniel Clyne and Odsonne Édouard shortly after the hour, gave them the extra legs to turn a rearguard action into sustainable resolve.
Édouard almost completed a smash-and-grab in the last 20 minutes, bludgeoning an opening and drawing a fine low save from Nick Pope, who had already brilliantly denied Jean-Philippe Mateta in a rare first-half attack for Palace.
Newcastle could have snatched a deserved reward with Isak’s slick build-up sending in Willock, who was denied by a diving Guaita, before poking wide on the stretch after a corner dropped to him in the closing minutes.
Palace held out to the acclaim of their loud following up on level 7 and if the Geordies can feel it coming, they will have to be patient for a little longer yet.