Newcastle United 2 Stoke City 1 match report: Alan Pardew's relegation fears fade but Stoke face fight to death

 

St James' Park

Two minutes of injury-time had been played and two remained when Papiss Cissé produced his one meaningful contribution of the afternoon. Typically, his first touch, inside the Stoke City penalty area, looped the ball into the air. His second was more telling, striking a shot past Asmir Begovic.

Watch the highlights of the match here

That goal meant Newcastle United and Stoke ended the day level on points, but their respective graphs offer a different story. Stoke are moving downwards; Newcastle are moving up. Stoke have the worst record of a Premier League team in 2013. Stoke have won one game in their last 10. Stoke have scored nine goals away from home all season. Stoke have lost seven of their last nine games. Stoke have won only one of their last 24 away from the Britannia Stadium. It is an easy message to get. With 33 points already, they probably have enough not to worry about what is happening beneath them in the league table. Probably, but not definitely.

Tony Pulis spoke of being "absolutely distraught" after this latest defeat, an emotion brought on both by the loss and the nature of it, which was self-inflicted. He also thought Cissé was lucky still to be on the field of play, and he had a point. The Newcastle forward clashed with Marc Wilson in the 64th minute. In the ensuing coming-together, Cissé appeared to aim a kick at the Stoke defender, who had gone in strongly with a challenge. As Ryan Shawcross, the Stoke captain, stepped in between the pair, Cissé's arm seemed to strike him.

"On another day he might not have been on the pitch," added Pulis. "The referee deemed it was fine and he was still on the pitch; we should have defended it better."

Pulis was prickly in his match assessment. There had been a fractious feel to the game and the two benches had come together in the 71st minute. Alan Pardew, the Newcastle manager, had gone nose to nose with a member of the Stoke backroom staff. It was a key moment. At that point Stoke led. In the 67th minute, Cameron Jerome broke and played a pass to his left, to find Jonathan Walters, who in turn cut into the Newcastle penalty area, where a reckless challenge from Cheick Tioté flattened the Stoke forward. Give Walters his due, despite missing his two previous penalties, he stepped forward, and gave his side the lead in a pretty grim game.

Then Stoke really were the architects of their own downfall. The ball went from Begovic to Steven N'Zonzi to Glenn Whelan and then weakly back to Begovic. The Stoke goalkeeper, under pressure from Yoan Gouffran, parried the ball into the path of Moussa Sissoko, who bore down on goal. Whelan capped off a disastrous moment by clipping the Frenchman's heels. In the following melee, Steven Taylor tried to grab the ball from Begovic as the coaching staff of both sides began arguing with each other.

They at least had correctly read the importance of the situation. From just outside the penalty area, Yohan Cabaye curled a delightful, delicate free-kick off the underside of the crossbar and into the Stoke goal. That changed everything.

Newcastle had belief. In their previous two home games after their January spending, they had come from behind to win, against Southampton and Chelsea. Now they did it again, Sylvain Marveaux providing a moment of real quality to find Cissé, who had been played onside by Wilson, of all people.

"Papiss will be the first to tell you that he was awful today," said Pardew. "He didn't do anything really to influence the game other than do well on some defensive issues for us, but then the moment comes. It is an eye-of-the-needle pass from Marveaux. The ball pops up and most strikers would snatch at that but he let it come all the way down and finished it, in the 92nd minute, and that is not easy to do, trust me.

"To be honest, I think we're done. You've got to get 40 points, of course. We're now seven points away from that with nine games left and you would expect this team to follow through, with the standard now to be able to do that. The bigger picture is to finish strong.

"We can now look forward to Thursday [for the Europa League match against Anzhi Makhachkala] because we could have a really special night here now."

Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
Sport
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Travel
travel
News
Robyn Lawley
people
News
people
News
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmThe film is surprisingly witty, but could do with taking itself more seriously, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
people
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Life and Style
lifeDon't get caught up on climaxing
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star