Stoke City 1-0 Newcastle United: Four games without a goal for Newcastle (video)
With Newcastle having failed to score in their last three outings, and missing Loïc Rémy due to injury, it never looked as though this match would be a replay of the 5-1 Magpies win back on Boxing Day. Sure enough, what we got was a rather scrappy affair, with few shots on target and Stoke managing to eek out all three points.
The Potters really should have scored by the time ten minutes were out. Marko Arnautović sent in a pin-point cross from the left, falling perfectly for Peter Crouch, about five yards out. But Crouch was able to do nothing more than bash his header against the base of the post.
Two minutes later, Newcastle also wasted a fantastic chance. Dan Gosling slipped into space to meet a ball from Shola Ameobi, but, despite being just six yards out, the midfield managed to place his shot over the bar.
The game seemed destined to revolve around missed chances. Ameobi’s own effort, a shot from distance, went wide. Peter Odemwingie had a good chance on a ball from Arnautović, but could do nothing with it.
So it seemed rather apt that the opening goal seemed to be more luck than skill. Stoke fans might classify it as a wonder-goal, but in fact, Erik Pieters overhit his cross. The ball floated down over Tim Krul, hit the far post and bounced into the back of the net.
Newcastle had a chance to respond before the half was out, but Asmir Begović got down to save Cheick Tioté's effort from distance.
The visitors did their best to find an equalizer in the second half, but everything they conjured up was rather tame. Papiss Cissé started out the second half with a wasted, high effort from a pass from Mike Williamson. His 64th minute shot was much more threatening, but Steven N’Zonzi was there with a block.
Stoke made attempts to double their advantage by hitting Newcastle on the break, but they were only able to come close to a second. Hatem Ben Arfa, on for Dan Gosling just moments before, couldn’t control the ball and Stoke were able to break, with Charlie Adam putting his shot wide. A few minutes later, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, on for Steven Taylor, was called into action to ensure a great cross from Geoff Cameron was put out of danger.
Stoke City:Begovic; Cameron, Shawcross, Wilson, Pieters; Ireland (Adam 66), Nzonzi, Whelan, Arnautovic; Odemwingie (Walters 87); Crouch
Goals: Pieters 42'
Newcastle United: Krul; S Taylor (Yanga-Mbiwa 61), Williamson, Coloccini; Anita, Gosling (Ben Arfa 73), Tiote, Gouffran, Dummett; Sh Ameobi, Cisse (Armstrong 73)