NEWCASTLE, England — Mikel Merino came off the bench to head Newcastle past Crystal Palace 1-0 with his first goal in English football on Saturday.
The Spaniard's bullet header from Matt Ritchie's 85th-minute corner handed the Magpies a win they barely deserved on an afternoon where they were poor for long periods before producing a late flurry.
Palace, which enjoyed the better of much of the game, ultimately paid for not making the most of its chances, the best of which fit-again winger Wilfried Zaha headed wide before the break.
Roy Hodgson's side remained rooted to the bottom of the table after failing to build on last week's win over defending champion Chelsea — its only points of the campaign.
Newcastle climbed up to sixth, two points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.