Zaha seals late point for Palace
Wilfried Zaha snatched a point for new manager Neil Warnock as Crystal Palace emerged from a six-goal thriller at Newcastle with something to show for their efforts.
Zaha, on loan at the Eagles from Manchester United, struck five minutes into stoppage time at the end of a dramatic encounter at St James' Park just as is looked as though the Magpies had secured their first Barclays Premier League win of the season.
He and Newcastle counterpart Rolando Aarons lit up a nail-biting conclusion to the game with fine cameos after Daryl Janmaat and Aarons had cancelled out earlier efforts from Dwight Gayle and Jason Puncheon.
Mike Williamson's 88th-minute finish - his first goal for five years - looked to have secured the points, but Zaha dashed the home side's hopes in front of owner Mike Ashley and a crowd of 49,226.
Having failed to score in either of their first two league games and won in the Capital One Cup at Gillingham by virtue of John Egan's own goal, Alan Pardew knew victory against Palace was a must if he was to convince the club's fans that his new-look side have enough attacking threat.
But whatever his game-plans was, it was blown out of the water within 30 seconds as Gayle handed Warnock the perfect start to his reign, pouncing on the rebound after goalkeeper Tim Krul could only turn Marouane Chamakh's shot on to a post and blasting into the roof of the net.
The visitors, who were also looking for their first three-point haul of the campaign, predictably retreated deep inside their own half as the shocked Magpies started the process of fighting their way back into the game.
In a frustrating passage of play, the home side dominated possession, but simply could not find a cutting edge as lone striker Emmanuel Riviere was well-marshalled by the Palace rearguard, which repelled a series of insipid set-piece deliveries from Remy Cabella and Jack Colback with little difficulty.
Warnock's men might have increased their lead when the recalled Puncheon, whose infamous spat with his new manager appeared to have been forgotten, fired just over after a rare break.
However, as the half wore on, Newcastle started to make an impression, with Janmaat heading wide from a Cabella corner and Moussa Sissoko drilling inches past a post after enterprising set-up play by Siem de Jong and Riviere.
But the equaliser finally arrived seven minutes before the break from an unexpected source, and courtesy of a slice of good fortune.
Riviere laid off Cabella's ball into the box and it eventually fell to Janmaat, whose initial effort pinballed between defenders before the ball sat up nicely for him to stab past keeper Julian Speroni with the help of a deflection off defender Damien Delaney.
The Magpies had an opportunity to go in ahead at the break when Cabella squared a free-kick to Colback on the stroke of half-time, but the midfielder failed to celebrate his call-up to the England squad in style when he spooned his effort high over.
There is little doubt Pardew will have exhorted his troops to raise the tempo on their return, but in the event, they started just as sloppily and were made to pay once again.
Yannick Bolasie was allowed to pick up possession wide on the left and square for Puncheon, who controlled neatly before sending a volley across Krul and into the far corner.
Newcastle were almost caught out once again with 57 minutes gone when full-back Martin Kelly exploited the space left by opposite number Janmaat as he pushed forward to surge down the left before cutting inside and testing Krul from distance with a rasping drive.
But it took a good save by Speroni to deny Yoan Gouffran a 62nd-minute equaliser after De Jong had combined with Riviere to allow Colback to feed the Frenchman.
Pardew introduced Aarons in a bid to add much-needed invention, but it was fellow newcomer Zaha who almost extended his side's lead 18 minutes from time when he waltzed through the home defence before seeing his effort blocked by Krul.
But Aarons did make a swift impact two minutes later when he stooped to head home a second equaliser at the far post after Cabella's left-wing corner had been flicked on.
Zaha was proving to be a serious nuisance and he perhaps should have scored nine minutes from time when he blazed wide of the far post after Krul had parried his first attempt.
Williamson must have thought he had won it when he tapped home from close range after Aarons' audacious effort had come back off a post, but Zaha finally got it right to ensure it finished all square.