For match photos scroll to 'PHOTOSTREAM' above left. For stats click on the STATISTICS tab. Managers' reaction below.
Two goals in the final nine minutes from Jonathan Walters and Cameron Jerome handed Stoke City their third consecutive home victory in the Barclays Premier League, winning 2-1, and condemned injury-hit Newcastle United to a fourth defeat in a row.
It looked like the Magpies might claim a much-needed first away win of the season when Papiss Cisse put them ahead two minutes into the second half. The visitors held out until the 81st minute when Walters headed in the equaliser, and four minutes later they were behind as substitute Jerome tucked the ball under Tim Krul for the winner.
The Britannia Stadium had only witnessed six goals in six games this season prior to this game, with Stoke conceding just once. It was perhaps not surprising, then, that chances were at a premium in the early stages.
The visitors began quite brightly and had the game’s first shot after five minutes, but James Perch’s effort was five yards wide of Asmir Begovic’s goal. Stoke almost took the lead in bizarre circumstances in the 16th minute. Newcastle defender Mike Williamson looked to have Glenn Whelan’s free-kick covered but the centre-back miscued his clearance and was relieved to see the ball rebound off a post.
From the resulting corner, Walters headed straight at Krul, while just before the half-hour Whelan’s 25-yard volley almost found the top corner. Stoke were looking marginally more threatening and they may well have opened the scoring in the 33rd minute had Matt Etherington not overhit his through-ball to Charlie Adam, who would have only had Krul to beat.
Geoff Cameron needed an early change of shirts after a clash drew blood but he was at least able to continue, unlike Peter Crouch, who was replaced by Kenwyne Jones five minutes before half-time. The striker was caught in the mouth by a flailing arm from Fabricio Coloccini and looked to have lost at least one tooth before he was led down the tunnel by Stoke’s physio, still bleeding from the mouth.
It took less than two minutes of the second for Newcastle to break the deadlock. A long-range shot from Demba Ba, who almost joined Stoke in 2011, was spilled by Asmir Begovic and Cisse followed up for his fourth of the season.
It was a much-needed goal for the Senegal forward but it was a preventable one from Stoke’s point of view after Whelan was robbed in midfield. The Potters looked to respond quickly and Adam’s cross found the head of Walters at the back post but he was under pressure from and could only nod wide.
Cisse might have made it two in the 63rd minute but Begovic pushed away his shot, while at the other end Krul could not hold Walters’ stinging effort and the striker blazed the loose ball well over. Stoke manager Tony Pulis made his final two changes in the 67th minute, sending on Michael Kightly and Jerome for Adam and Etherington.
Begovic was called on again in the 77th minute when Cameron’s attempted clearance hit Cisse and turned into a through-ball for Ba, the goalkeeper stopping the well-struck shot with a leg.
Stoke could have been level shortly after, though, as Kightly hung up a lovely ball for Jones six yards out but he headed straight at Krul. The Stoke faithful did not have long to wait as, in the 81st minute, Jerome swung over an inviting cross and Walters put a lovely header into the far corner.
And it got even better for Stoke three minutes later. Jones made amends for his miss by getting on the end of a long ball and squaring for Jerome to slide his shot under Krul. The Britannia Stadium roared as the final whistle blew and Stoke were able to celebrate climbing into the top 10 while Newcastle remain only two points above the relegation zone.
Stoke manager Tony Pulis: "I've always got this thing in the back of my mind that when people say, 'Oh, he's made changes, he's been brilliant'. Why didn't I start with Michael Kightly, why didn't I start with Cameron? That's how brilliant I am.
"The lads have been fantastic, they've not played much this year but the spirit has been very good and their commitment to the group has been fantastic. They could easily have come on tonight and just jogged around and done what they wanted to do for themselves, but the effort they put in for the team was there for everybody to see, and that is a real plus for their character. That really typifies what we've got at the football club."
"The first half was very even. The last three games we've hit the post or the bar in every game and not had a break where it's come out to us or it's come off the inside of the post and gone in.
"So when that happened in the first half, you just think maybe it might not be your night. And when Asmir spills one, and he's been absolutely brilliant this season, and they tap it in, again you think it might not be our night.
"We made the substitutions and that brought a little bit of life into the game. It lifted the crowd as well, and the crowd in the last 20 or 25 minutes were absolutely wonderful. When we got the equaliser, the belief in the crowd, you actually think, 'Well, we'll go on and win this.’
"[Peter Crouch] wanted to carry on until he saw his teeth in the doc's hands, and then he nearly fainted. He'll need some work on that. I haven't seen it [the challenge] but I don't think there was any malice in it."
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew: "Sometimes you have a game plan and your players see it through to the letter and it's pretty galling to look them in the eye and say they've come away with nothing, which I had to do.
"A couple of mistakes cost us the game, and we didn't make many mistakes. It's a tough result for us to take."
|01 Dec 2012||v West Brom (A)|
|08 Dec 2012||v Aston Villa (A)|
|15 Dec 2012||v Everton (H)|
|22 Dec 2012||v Spurs (A)|
|26 Dec 2012||v Liverpool (H)|
|29 Dec 2012||v Southampton (H)|