Alan Shearer and the rest of the Newcastle fan base were kept waiting.
A shocking game had seen neither side really threaten and fans were getting resigned to a goalless draw.
Palace had edged it…but that wasn’t saying much.
The visitors didn’t have a shot on target all day, even though both Townsend and Zaha were lively in the first half.
The quality of football was really poor and Newcastle were ponderous in their approach play, meaning supporters had little faith in chances being created, never mind hitting the back of the net.
with 20-25 minutes to go, there was a bit of a sea change, as Palace went ultra negative to protect the point, whilst Merino and Diame came on and made Newcastle look a little better.
Still though, chances remained almost non-existent, until with four minutes left on the clock, a left wing corner was floated sent over and sub Mikel Merino connected.
Speroni was left floundering and the ball hit the back of the net, giving Newcastle three points and Merino his first goal in English football.
The explosion of relief reverberated around St James Park and Alan Shearer joined in via his Twitter account, his response saying it all…
Stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 1 Crystal Palace 0
Newcastle: Merino 86
Possession was Palace 45% Newcastle 55%
Total shots were Palace 10 Newcastle 7
Shots on target were Palace 0 Newcastle 3
Corners were Palace 5 Newcastle 3
Referee: Stuart Attwell
Elliot, Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Manquillo, Ritchie, Shelvey, Hayden (Merino 56), Atsu, Perez (Diame 66), Joselu (Mitrovic 78)
Darlow, Clark, Gamez, Murphy