The concession of one injury-time equaliser to a former defender can be excused as unfortunate. But to allow two, in consecutive home games, well that's just downright careless. Where Titus Bramble led for Wigan Athletic, Abdoulaye Faye followed for Stoke City, poking home a fully merited leveller from a Glenn Whelan free-kick to cap a notable comeback.
Tottenham Hotspur are next up here and Jonathan Woodgate must be rubbing his hands in anticipation. Having seen his Newcastle side cruise into an early two-goal lead, it all proved too much for Joe Kinnear.
Already facing a Football Association improper conduct charge, the volatile manager added to his lengthy rap sheet by being banished to the stands, albeit for a matter of seconds, for expressing his disappointment at the award of the free-kick in language of a rather too industrial manner for the liking of Mike Riley, the referee. For the second consecutive game Kinnear chose to avoid the post-match press conference, leaving Chris Hughton to defend him.
"The referee came over and asked Joe to leave the technical area," the coach confirmed. "I think it was for perceived comments but from where I was I certainly didn't hear anything. It's a very emotional game and certainly at that stage the linesman gave a free-kick we felt wasn't the case."
This was only Stoke's third point away from the Britannia Stadium this season, where a continuation of their impressive form will have the biggest influence on their fortunes this term. They remain without a League win on the road for in excess of seven months, although the nature of this result made it feel like a victory.
It showed the huge reserves of spirit Tony Pulis, the manager, has instilled in his squad, qualities that will prove invaluable in their attempts to secure back-to-back seasons in the top flight. Their stirring second-half revival was sparked by the introduction ofRicardo Fuller, Stoke's top scorer, who was perplexingly left on the bench until shortly before the hour.
Within minutes the Jamaican rounded the ponderous Fabricio Coloccini to present Mamady Sidibe with a simple close-range finish for his fourth goal of the season, Stoke's first on the road for more than six hours. Game on. After missing presentable opportunities in each half, Abdoulaye Faye, brought to St James' Park last season by Sam Allardyce, intervened at the death to underline Newcastle's continued inability to close out games. "We were insipid in the first 20 minutes, and were let down by the back four," admitted Pulis, who ensured the stupor did not stretch beyond the interval. He added: "For the first time this season I got stuck into people and shook it up and they responded brilliantly. We're disappointed not to have won."
Michael Owen took advantage of Stoke's lethargy to score twice in the first 24 minutes. The first, after eight minutes, arrived courtesy of a sublime pass from Jonas Gutierrez as the Argentinian cut in from the right. Owen beat the goalkeeper, Thomas Sorensen, from 10 yards.
Owen's second was a thing ofbeauty. A length-of-the-pitch move saw short passes from Shay Given and Coloccini as the prelude to Geremi's expansive 60-yard cross-field ball to Obafemi Martins. The forward's surge down the left culminated in a low cross to put Owen's eighth goal of the season on a plate at the far post, but for the hosts that was as good as it got.
Referee: Mike Riley
Man of the match: Owen
Match rating: 6/10Reuse content