Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Papiss poke slays Stoke

Newcastle Utd 2 – 1 Stoke City 

Three more points, secured in the dying moments by the boot of Papiss Cisse, were a satisfying end to an otherwise frustrating performance on Sunday as we increased the distance between ourselves and the relegation zone.

This win, which moves us on to 33 points, now means that the Silver Fox can afford to focus 100% on the Europa League, confident that we’ve got enough in the tank to pick up points over the remaining nine league games to retain our Premier League status.

Going into the match, we rotated the team from that which performed to great credit in Moscow, bringing in Cisse, Goofy, Spidermag, Mr T, Davide Santon and Mathieu Debuchy.  Completely absent from the matchday squad were HBA and Big Lad, presumably feeling the effects of the plastic pitch.

Unsurprisingly for a team who have been dismal away for much of this season, Stoke came to frustrate and get men behind the ball, leaving little space for our creative players to flourish. Our best chance of the first half fell to Goofy, only for him to lift the ball over the bar from seven yards out. At the other end, Santon was slightly fortunate to escape a tangle of legs with Ryan Shotton without censure (although claims for a penalty from Stoke boss Tony Pulis were fanciful given the contact was outside the penalty area).

In the second half, we continued to struggle to break down the away team, while Saylor and MYM looked to be doing a fine job of mastering the Stoke forward line.

Unfortunately, while otherwise enjoying a fine game, Mr T, having lost the ball upfield, took it upon himself to run half the length of the pitch to try and recover possession, only to completely upend Jonathan Walters in our box to give the visitors a penalty. Walters himself took the kick, and despite some recent poor form from the spot, sent Rob Elliot the wrong way to give Stoke an undeserved lead.

Back came Newcastle, with Moussa Sissoko’s storming run only stopped by a foul right on the edge of the Stoke area. Though Dreamboat’s attempt to move the ball slightly further back was prevented by referee Andre Marriner, our captain for the day nevertheless lifted the ball over the Stoke wall and into the Gallowgate net, via the crossbar.

With time running out, the Silver Fox opted to throw on young Adam Campbell for his Premier League debut, and one of his first touches was a pass to fellow substitute Sylvain Marveaux, whose pinpoint pass bisected the Stoke defence and found Cisse onside. He let the ball drop before calmly prodding it home to give us a very valuable victory.

Other reports: BBC, Guardian

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