Graeme Jones clenched his fists, made his way onto the pitch and hugged each of his players before saluting the 2,800 Geordies in the away end at Selhurst Park.

It was just a point, of course, but the aftermath of Saturday's 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace was the one time where Newcastle United's interim boss allowed himself to get a little emotional after what had been an eventful few days following Steve Bruce's departure.

Jones insisted that he wanted to win the game, but this draw, ironically, had all the hallmarks of the opening months of Bruce's reign: trying to be compact, allowing the opposition to dominate the ball, surviving a few scares and landing a second-half sucker punch.

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Although Palace were limited to just two efforts on target, the Eagles had a host of chances to double their advantage after Christian Benteke headed his side in front in the 56th minute.

Palace repeatedly got the ball wide before swinging it into the box and while everyone knew what was coming, Newcastle's defenders could not live with Benteke in the air.

Newcastle were saved by the woodwork on a number of occasions and Benteke's bullet header struck the bar after the hour mark before Callum Wilson conjured up a moment of magic just a couple of minutes later.

It all stemmed up from a corner kick after Matt Ritchie's ball into the box was headed across goal by Jamaal Lascelles and then, inadvertently, flicked on by Sean Longstaff.

It did not even look like a half chance was in the offing when the ball dropped in the air, but Wilson had the vision and technique to execute a superb overhead kick, which left Vicente Guaita with no chance.

Wilson is simply the difference between Newcastle losing and claiming points because as long as the number nine is on the field, the black-and-whites have a chance.

Callum Wilson scores the equaliser against Crystal Palace.
Callum Wilson scores the equaliser against Crystal Palace.

Is it any wonder that Jones, a former striker who has coached Harry Kane and Romelu Lukaku, rates the 29-year-old as the best match day finisher he has ever worked with?

There was still time for Benteke to have a winner ruled out at the death, after a VAR check established that Marc Guehi pulled CIaran Clark's shirt in the build-up, but this was a point that Jones savoured after getting the 'hard work, honesty and fight' he demanded from his players.

In a team meeting on Wednesday, Jones gave his players a clean slate and told the squad he would simply judge them on what they did over the next three days before naming his team ahead of kick-off.

As a result, all 20 outfield players had the exact same detailed preparation and they all knew their jobs if called upon as Ryan Fraser and Emil Krafth ultimately were.

Jones was heartened by his side's display without the ball and while this performance was certainly not pretty, the interim boss hopes it can be a base to build from now.

Newcastle, after all, still have some quality players to unleash in the final third. Although Joe Willock had to be content with a bench role, as he continues to build up his fitness after taking injections to manage a recent toe injury, Jones rightly pointed out that the 21-year-old is 'going to be a fantastic player for this football club'.

Amanda Staveley and Mehrdad Ghodoussi at Newcastle's game with Crystal Palace
Amanda Staveley and Mehrdad Ghodoussi at Newcastle's game with Crystal Palace

Willock is one plasyer who will play his part in the new era and this will have been another useful scouting mission for Amanda Staveley and Mehrdad Ghodoussi, who took in the game from the directors' box with their advisers sitting nearby.

While Newcastle certainly rode their luck at times, the part-owners will have taken heart from their side coming from behind to claim a point, but there is still so much work to do to stabilise the club this season.

Jones will relish the chance to have a full week of preparation ahead of the visit of Chelsea on Saturday, which may yet be his final game as interim manager, but Staveley and Ghodoussi also have an important job to do off the field in the coming days.

Interviews have already taken place with a number of candidates, including Paulo Fonseca, and the club's search for a permanent successor to Steve Bruce will step up next week.

The new owners will inevitably have plenty of questions about managers' ideas, playing style, transfer targets, academy views and experience of building clubs, but they will also be informed by what they have seen in the last week on the field.

These games against Spurs and Crystal Palace have served as a reminder of how far Newcastle are from fulfilling Staveley's aim of winning the title within five to 10 years.

Newcastle were cut open too easily against Spurs but did not offer enough of a threat at Palace six days later and Rafa Benitez's analogy about the 'short blanket' still applies to this side long after his departure in 2019.

Spending wisely will certainly help address that - a new centre-back is a must - but the new owners are also going to want their new manager to develop a cohesive unit by working hard with the players on the training pitches, too.

That is all the more important when there are a host of crucial games to come before Newcastle can even do business in January and the reality is that the black-and-whites are sure to spend more money in the summer when clubs are more willing to trade.

To solely bank on an uplift from January signings would be a huge gamble; the hierarchy will need their man to come in and get results from the get-go.

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