Pre-match, Alan Shearer revealed that he had a rare Saturday off from being paid to watch football.

Instead, he was at St James Park for a nice relaxing afternoon…watching Newcastle v Crystal Palace playing.

Rather than a TV studio in Manchester, Alan Shearer was in the stadium with more than fifty thousand other Newcastle fans.

Beforehand, the United legend called it a ‘massive game’ and the events of the match certainly lived up to that billing, though Shearer didn’t get his pre-match wish of being involved as a player again.

The first half saw Newcastle under pressure as Palace belied the claims through the week that they would just cruise through the game with an FA Cup final appearance in mind.

The defence held up well though with Jamaal Lascelles making one particularly brilliant saving tackle on Wickham, whilst keeper Karl Darlow made a handful of crucial saves.

Second half and United stepped it up, a stunner from Andros Townsend good enough to win any match, though with only 20 minutes remaining it was Karl Darlow who won the game with a superb penalty save from Yohan Cabaye.

It was meant to be.

Alan Shearer called it…’Brilliant! Great win.’ and picked Lascelles, Darlow and Townsend out for their contributions.

Now we all move on to Villa…

Alan Shearer before and after the match via his Twitter account:

“Rare Saturday off to watch Newcastle United at home. Massive game today. Glad I’m here but wish I was playing!”

“Jamaal Lascelles, Karl Darlow, Andros Townsend…Brilliant! Great win. Onto next week.”

Here are the stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 1 Crystal Palace 0 

Goals – 

Newcastle: Townsend 58

Possession was Newcastle 50% Palace 50%

Total shots were Newcastle 10 and Palace 9

Shots on target were Newcastle 4 and Palace 3

Corners were Newcastle 4 and Palace 8

Team: Darlow, Anita (Shelvey 88), Lascelles, Mbemba, Dummett, Townsend, Tiote, Colback, Sissoko, Wijnaldum (Perez 80), Cisse (Mitrovic 72)

Unused Subs: Woodman, de Jong, Taylor, Mbabu

Ref: Mike Dean

Crowd: 52,107

Read what Rafa Benitez had to say after the match HERE and for Alan Pardew’s post-game chat go HERE.

To view the player ratings and to add your own go HERE.