Scorelines can be misleading sometimes and although we did indeed score five goals while missing chances to score more, it would be fair to say that Martin Atkinson had a hand in the result.
In the end the result was fully justified, but it doesn’t tell the who story of the match. For 40 minutes or so Stoke looked the better side as Newcastle struggled to build up any kind of momentum going forward.
Handed the lead through a fine goal by Oussama Assaidi, Stoke were on top before some moments of utter madness just before half-time ended up costing the Potters dear.
First we have Glenn Whelan. Booked minutes earlier for a niggling foul, he then had a hack at the back of Yohan Cabaye in an area of the pitch he didn’t need to do such a thing in, picking up a yellow for each infringement ultimately seeing red. His manager was unhappy and displayed his frustration on the sidelines which was enough for Mark Atkinson to send Mark Hughes to the stands for the rest of the match. Three minutes before the interval Marc Wilson brought down Loic Remy in the box after a the Frenchman latched onto a through ball from Vurnon Anita. It was a goalscoring opportunity and the Irish defender had to go.
A tame start by United saw Stoke emerge on top in the early exchanges, and it stayed that way until the red card incidents to be fair. They very nearly took the lead twice from long-range Charlie Adam efforts before the Scotsman turned provider, laying the ball to Oussama Assaidi who fired an unstoppable shot past Tim Krul into the top corner of the Gallowgate net.
I’ve covered the red card incidents so we’ll fast forward to what happened after Marc Wilson had seen red. Obviously a penalty was awarded and top scorer Loic Remy stepped up to take it. He sent his spot-kick to the right of Thomas Sorenson but the shot was tame and Thomas Sorenson saved before the ball was hacked clear.
However Remy wasn’t to be denied and less than a minute after his penalty was saved he did find the back of the net courtesy of a deflection off a Stoke defender to ensure Newcastle went in at half-time level.
Half-time: Newcastle 1-1 Stoke
With 45 minutes to play against nine men, the pressure was on United. I said at half-time we either needed an early goal or to remain patient if it didn’t come because Stoke would park the bus, but luckily the early goal came just three minutes into the second period through Yoan Gouffran who fired in a weak Thomas Sorenson punch from the edge of the penalty area.
It was then a matter of how many for United who had Stoke understandably pinned back in their own box. A one goal lead soon became two when Loic Remy stooped in at the far post to head in a poor effort from Moussa Sissoko before Yohan Cabaye made it 4-1 through a curling shot with 25 minutes to play.
There were more chances for United through Hatem Ben Arfa who twice hit the woodwork before Erik Pieters (remember him?) brought down Ben Arfa for the award of another penalty. This time it was Papiss Cisse who was given the honour by the rest of his team and the Senegal forward duly dispatched his spot-kick into the top right corner of the Gallowgate net.
More penalties could have been awarded for United as Yohan Cabaye and Massadio Haidara were both brought down by dubious challenges but in the end the score of 5-1 had to do.
Full-time: Newcastle 5-1 Stoke
I can kind of understand the frustrations of Stoke but at the end of the day they were silly. You can take the Pulis out of Stoke but it’s proving harder to change their neanderthal mentality and the poorest away following of the season (just under 600 fans – two blocks of the Leazes) to date must have been wishing they never bothered in the end. Their fans may blame poor decisions, and I do think some of it was soft, but they do have a reputation built up over the years so maybe the chicken is coming home to roost.
Having said that, up until the red card stupidity, we were struggling so please don’t look at the scoreline and think everything is tickety-boo because it isn’t. It could have been very different today had the Potters not gone potty but I guess a win, however it comes, is a win. And let’s face it, we’ve (well Hatem Ben Arfa’s double leg break) been on the end of an Atkinson own goal before!
Howay the lads!
Newcastle: Tim Krul; Mathieu Debuchy, Fabricio Coloccini, Mike Williamson, Davide Santon; Moussa Sissoko, Yohan Cabaye, Vurnon Anita; Hatem Ben Arfa, Loic Remy, Yoan Gouffran
Subs: Rob Elliot, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Steven Taylor, Massadio Haidara, Gabriel Obertan, Shola Ameobi, Papiss Cisse
Stoke: Thomas Sorensen, Geoff Cameron, Ryan Shawcross, Marc Wilson, Erik Pieters, Jonathan Walters, Steven N’Zonzi, Glenn Whelan, Charlie Adam, Oussama Assaidi, Peter Crouch
Subs: Jack Butland, Marc Muniesa, Wilson Palacios, Kenwyne Jones, Marko Arnautovic, Andy Wilkinson, Stephen Ireland