Papiss Cisse scored his first league goal from open play all season as Newcastle finally broke down Crystal Palace at St James’ Park.

The Senegal striker struck in injury time to end a barren personal run and lift the Magpies into eighth in the Premier League table.

It was a rather predictable pattern throughout the contest, as the home side – still without manager Alan Pardew, who watched on from the training ground – dominated possession and chances but struggled to find a way past a Palace side that showed next to no desire to win the match.

The game was always going to be settled by either a piece of magic or luck and Hatem Ben Arfa provided the former when he sent a perfect cross into the box for Cisse to head home.

The former Freiburg man could have ended his year-long wait for a Premier League goal from open play after just 12 minutes this afternoon, but was denied by Palace keeper Julian Speroni. Cisse managed to turn away from Adrian Mariappa and smack a fierce effort towards goal but the Argentine stopper turned it away and Luuk de Jong headed the rebound over the bar.

Twenty minutes later, the same two players were involved in another chance, when Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa’s cross found the striker. Cisse flicked it towards goal but Speroni again refused to be beaten.

Paul Dummett went close with a free kick in stoppage time but couldn’t get enough dip on his effort to trouble Speroni.

After not forcing Tim Krul into a save in the first half, Tony Pulis sent his side out with more ambition at the start of the second period. Soon, Krul was called into action to block Kagisho Dikgacoi’s shot as he ran onto Jason Puncheon’s pass.

Palace were starting to cause problems. Cameron Jerome played the lone striker role well and made life difficult for Fabricio Coloccini and Mike Williamson. The centre-back pair were powerless to stop Yanick Bolasie though, as the winger curled an effort that clipped Krul’s crossbar.

The close call prompted a change from John Carver. The Newcastle assistant boss called for Ben Arfa to enter the fray in an attempt to break Palace’s resistance.

The French winger set about trying to create something for his side and set up Cisse 20 minutes from time with a good cross, only to see his team mate head just over the bar.

With time running out it looked as though the visitors were going to escape with a point but Newcastle’s late pressure changed the scene.

Cheick Tiote – who has only scored once for Newcastle, in the thrilling 4-4 draw with Arsenal – thought he’d won it for the Geordies two minutes into extra time when he smashed a shot against the crossbar with Speroni beaten.

It looked as though the chances to win it had passed for Newcastle but Cisse popped up in the 94th minute to head home Ben Arfa’s perfect cross.