Yannick Bolasie and James McArthur scored twice as Crystal Palace recovered from 1-0 down to ease to a 5-1 win over Newcastle at Selhurst Park to heap more misery on Steve McClaren.
The Eagles claimed their first Premier League win over Newcastle at Selhurst Park as Alan Pardew claimed a sweet success against his old club, with the visitors a structureless, defensive shambles.
James McArthur’s brace and Wilfried Zaha’s strike completed the hosts’ goal glut as the Eagles rammed home just why Pardew chose to trade Newcastle for the south Londoners in January.
Papiss Cisse bagged a goal on his first Newcastle start since September, but this capitulation to former boss Pardew only serves to underscore McClaren’s widespread problems at St James’ Park.
McClaren tore into his failing Newcastle charges in a midweek training-ground altercation following the 3-0 home drubbing by Leicester: that rant had singularly zero impact on his abject squad.
The visitors slipped back into the relegation zone with a seventh defeat in 11 Premier League games, leaving owner Mike Ashley under pressure to splash yet more cash in the January transfer window.
Newcastle shelled out £13million on Aleksandar Mitrovic in the summer, but the former Anderlecht striker has fired just two goals in 14 turns for the Tyneside club.
The North-East outfit remain toothless in attack despite Cisse’s early goal, leaving the close-season decision not to sign QPR’s Charlie Austin all the more baffling.
Neither Newcastle nor Palace seized the chance to snaffle Austin in the summer, and so the man who claimed 18 Premier League goals in a relegation season stayed put at Loftus Road.
The 26-year-old’s current QPR deal expires in the summer, making Premier League suitors hard pushed to rival the kind of contracts that will be on offer for Austin as a free agent.
Just as pressing as the front-line shortcomings, however, are Newcastle’s rearguard woes, allied to a defensive midfield cordon more sieve than shield in front of the calamitous back four.
Cisse handed Newcastle the perfect start, and the kind of front-line play so missing for the majority of the campaign.
The Senegal hitman ghosted onto Daryl Janmaat’s chipped ball into the box, and nodded past the stranded Wayne Hennessey.
Just when the visitors thought they could cling to Cisse’s foothold opener, their defence and midfield evaporated in alarming fashion.
First Fabricio Coloccini’s poor misread allowed Connor Wickham to feed McArthur, the midfielder’s shot looping home via a huge deflection off Paul Dummett’s back.
Then Wickham’s poor, trickling attempt at a low cross somehow bobbled past Newcastle’s six statuesque defenders, gifting Bolasie Palace’s second goal.
And on the stroke of half-time the hosts capitalised on yet more horrendous Newcastle defending, Chancel Mbemba diving in horribly to allow Wickham to float a deep ball right across the box to Zaha.
The former Manchester United winger kept his shape to stay over the top of the ball, but so much so that his strike bounced straight off the turf – and past the hapless Rob Elliot.
Pardew’s men turned around three goals to the good, and with Wickham claiming all three assists by little more than default thanks to Newcastle’s ineptitude.
The second half was hardly under way when Palace captain Damien Delaney headed former Newcastle star Yohan Cabaye’s free-kick into Bolasie’s path.
The Democratic Republic of Congo forward tiptoed round Newcastle’s porous defence and prodded home, ending any shred of a Newcastle comeback.
And at the death McArthur tapped in his second after Elliot’s weak parry gifted him the chance to seal Palace’s rout.