While an end to the ownership saga engulfing St James' Park may finally be in sight, it has done nothing to enhance Newcastle's hopes of an immediate return to the top flight. Yet, oblivious to the turmoil at boardroom level, the players are showing impressive depths of character.
Related ArticlesHughton relishing Newcastle challengeMaradona helps NewcastleNewcastle still courting Moat dealSport on televisionA trip to Crystal Palace would have been something of a culture shock to Chris Hughton's side. Boxed in to a small corner of south London, bombarded by a series of long balls and harried and hassled by Neil Warnock's functional team, this was their unofficial welcome to the Championship.
Kevin Nolan's goal after 103 seconds acted as the perfect nerve settler, and was a demonstration of Newcastle's determination to stick to their passing principles, even in a division where the long ball is king.
It was created by the impressive Jonas Gutierrez, who has been reassured by Argentina manager Diego Maradona that his place in the national team is secure as long as he continues to perform for Newcastle. On this evidence, he has nothing to worry about.
After creating Nolan's goal with a delightful chipped pass that split the Palace defence, he laid on the second, too, with a neat pass to Ryan Taylor, who curled his shot into the top corner from the edge of the area.
"With the manager they have, and the style of play they adopt, we knew it would be a tough day," Newcastle caretaker manager Chris Hughton said. "We knew we would have to play well in every department, and I felt we were worthy winners."
Palace manager Warnock was pleased with his side's response to going two goals down, but admitted: "The two goals we conceded were a disgrace, but that's how it is: you get punished by good players and they took their goals well," he said. "We never gave ourselves a chance."