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Published: 16:18 | 30/4/16

Newcastle move out of bottom three

Magpies have taken eight points from their last four matches

Newcastle moved out of the Premier League relegation zone with a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace at St James' Park on Saturday.

Andros Townsend scored the only goal of the game with a thunderbolt free-kick to lift Newcastle out of the bottom three for the first time since 6 February.

But he wasn't the only Magpies' hero, with goalkeeper Karl Darlow capping a man-of-the-match performance with a fine stop to keep out Newcastle old boy Yohan Cabaye's 70th penalty.

The Magpies have now racked up eight points from their last four matches, and Rafael Benitez's side lie 17th with 33 points from 36 matches, with a visit to already-relegated Aston Villa to come next week, followed by a final-day home match with Tottenham.

Sunderland, who drew 1-1 with Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium thanks to Jermaine Defoe's 93rd minute penalty, have 32 points from 35 matches, and play Chelsea and then Everton at home before a last-day visit to Watford.

Black Cats' manager Sam Allardyce suggested before the match that the Palace players were "mentally unready" and would try to protect themselves for the FA Cup final against Manchester United on 21 May, but in truth it was the visitors who made the early running at St James Park.

Darlow made two sharp saves in the first half, the first to beat away a Yannick Bolasie effort, then an excellent full-stretch stop two minutes before the interval to keep out a Cabaye volley from outside the area

Moments later, Newcastle had their best opportunity of the opening 45 minutes, but Jack Colback saw his curling left-footed effort drift just wide of the far post.

Benitez said before the match that Newcastle's poor start to games this season was akin being punched in the face by Mike Tyson, but under the Spaniard the Magpies have learned the art of the counter punch.

And it was £12m January signing Townsend who drew blood on 58 minutes, first enticing the foul from Palace defender Scott Dann then lashing a sublime free-kick from 30 yards past wrong-footed goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey and into the top corner.

Townsend has now scored four goals in his 11 appearances for Newcastle, having scored just three times in 50 matches for his previous club Tottenham.

Newcastle being Newcastle, they almost immediately gifted their opponents an equaliser, as Moussa Sissoko led with hand jumping with Dann at a Cabaye corner, prompting referee Mike Dean to point to the penalty spot.

But Cabaye, to the delight of a Gallowgate End still smarting at the Frenchman's behaviour before his acrimonious £19m move to Paris Saint-Germain two years ago, saw his unconvincing spot-kick saved by Darlow.

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