Taylor's finish too good for Palace

Crystal Palace 0 Newcastle Utd 2
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The Independent Online

Newcastle United's price must be going up by the minute. Mike Ashley is due to make an announcement tomorrow about his efforts to sell the club and his hand can only have been strengthened by their start to the season. Newcastle are unbeaten, with 10 points in the bag and only one goal conceded.

This win was secured by two goals in the first 20 minutes but it was a closer contest than those strikes suggested. Palace contributed much but their finishing did not match their approach play. Newcastle defended well, with Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor outstanding, and had the quality that proved the difference.

The game was less than two minutes old when Jonas Gutierrez cut in from the left and chipped a delicate cross to the unmarked Kevin Nolan, who slid the ball past Darryl Flahavan from eight yards. The goalkeeper, who was deputising for the injured Julian Speroni, was beaten again 18 minutes later, Gutierrez's crossfield pass giving Ryan Taylor the chance to curl a delightful shot into the top corner from 25 yards.

The half-time scoreline was harsh on Palace, who had put together several promising attacks. Alan Lee won plenty in the air and Darren Ambrose and Freddie Sears threatened from the flanks. All three might have scored, Lee going closest when he headed just beyond a post from Ambrose's cross.

The pattern continued in the second half, with Alassane N'Diaye at the centre of three key incidents. Palace's French midfielder sent a diving header wide from six yards following an Ambrose corner, had appeals for a penalty dismissed after an Alan Smith challenge and was then denied by Coloccini's superb late tackle after being sent through by Lee.

Palace's frustrations eventually got the better of them and they resorted to hoofing the ball forward. Shola Ameobi had Newcastle's only second-half chance of note, blazing over the bar from Danny Guthrie's pass, but you always sensed they could have upped the pace if required.

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