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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 18 June 2018

Point against Palace proves Newcastle have stomach for fight, says Darlow

Mohamed Diame's first-half strike cancelled out by Luka Milivojevic's penalty

Newcastle United's Christian Atsu, left,chases down Crystal Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey. David Klein / Reuters
Newcastle United's Christian Atsu, left,chases down Crystal Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey. David Klein / Reuters

Karl Darlow believes Newcastle United showed they have the stomach for a relegation battle after coming away from Crystal Palace with a 1-1 draw.

Mohamed Diame gave Rafa Benitez's side the lead midway through the first half but, after Luka Milivojevic levelled from the spot in the 55th minute, the visitors were forced to scrap as their goal came under siege from a resilient Palace.

Their net was not breached again, though, and after seeing his team move one point above the bottom three, Newcastle goalkeeper Darlow told Sky Sports: "I think we showed today that we've got a lot of grit and desire. We did well to hold them to a draw in the end.

"As a team we've done well, I think we've shown we've got a lot of fight in our team and that we can continue to the end of the season and hopefully get ourselves out of this relegation battle that we're in."

Palace threatened almost from kick off when a through-ball from Milivojevic sent Wilfried Zaha through on goal but his heavy touch took possession too close to Darlow, who dived low to collect.

A right-wing cross from DeAndre Yedlin gave Newcastle their first sight of goal, through Ayoze Perez's first-time, close-range shot that was on target but did not test Wayne Hennessey.

An attack from Kenedy then led to the corner from which they scored the opening goal. When the Brazilian swung a low delivery into the penalty area that Milivojevic missed, Martin Kelly left Diame to run clear at the back post and routinely finish into the near-open goal.

Towards the end of the first half Palace again worked their way into the visitors' area, from where Yohan Cabaye backheeled to Zaha, the forward's shot was brilliantly saved by Darlow, and Christian Benteke then failed to control when the rebound fell to him in front of an open goal.

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That intensity resumed immediately in the second and after Andros Townsend had sent a header high and wide, Ciaran Clark conceded a penalty when impeding Benteke after the striker leaped to reach Zaha's cross.

Milivojevic showed a lack of conviction when shooting towards the bottom right corner but though Darlow guessed right and got a hand to the ball, he was unable to prevent it sailing behind him and into the back of the net.

Palace manager Roy Hodgson thought his side's performance after half time deserved a maximum points haul.

He said: "The way we were playing in the first half I would certainly have taken [a point]. After watching the second half and watching us dominate the game as we did, I feel we were unlucky not to have got all three points in the end because our second half performance merited that.

"It's a point that doesn't help either of us enormously but we've just got to make sure that when we can't win, we draw."

Newcastle manager Benitez questioned the decision to award Palace a spot-kick.

"We conceded a soft penalty because he [Benteke] was pushing my player and my player [Clark] was pulling. We cannot do it [shirt pulling] but I can see a lot of penalties not given."

"We then changed everything because obviously they had more confidence and they were pushing, we knew that they have very good players up front. We needed to be strong in defence and it was difficult."