NEWCASTLE UNITED 1 STOKE CITY FC 2
The reception from Les Geordies suggested that they felt this match was against rival neighbours Sunderland's reserves,particularly they laid into Kenwyne Jones,and Rory Delap when he came on in the second half.Sorensen's kicking in the first half was consistently wayward,and you had to wonder if he had history and former connections weighing on his mind.
Tony Pulis set out his team to ensure that we gave nothing away,in consequence it was not particularly adventurous,there being no real surprise that we were pinned back in our own half for the first 45 minutes,with Newcastle having the bulk of the possession.His back four saw a repeat of the lineup from Tuesday, the exception being Collins in for Higginbotham .No room for Abdy Faye returning to his old club. Salif Diao was retained in midfield to partner Whelan with Etherington and Whitehead on the flanks.Walters supported Jones up front.
The first half saw plenty of huffing and puffing,with neat moves, but no end product until Huth was adjudged to have brought down Carrol just before the break,with the ball about to make its way harmlessly to Sorensen.The resultant penalty was converted by Nolan,to put the home side in front,deservedly on the balance of play.
The second half, in its very early stage seemed to be going the same way as the first,which prompted the manager to make changes.Ricardo Fuller,on for Diao (50 mins),certainly livened things up,and Delap for Whelan (57 mins),increased Stoke's attacking options.Pressure was brought to bear on the home defence,with Jones,Etherington, and Fuller all looking dangerous.Jones headed against a post,and Fuller's follow up shot went wide of the post.Then Jones headed against the bar,causing him to wonder whether it was going to be his day,if the rueful smile was anything to go by.
Around the 67th minute Fuller fell awkwardly onto his shoulder, fouled as he cut between two defenders.He was replaced by Eidur Gudjohnsen.Etherington took the freekick, flighting the ball to the far post where Huth headed back across goal for Kenwyne Jones to head firmly into the net,the equaliser,and his fourth goal in four games.
Stoke edged in front on 85 minutes.This time Etherington's corner from the left looked likely to reach the inrushing Huth. It didn't because Perch, in trying to clear, headed firmly into his own net.
Newcastle had chances in the last 5 minutes plus the 6 minutes of added on time,but were unable to convert any,as Stoke stuck gamely to their task,enjoying just a little luck in the process.
Three points then,and 14th in the table....a good days work! Looks as though Ricardo Fuller may be missing for a few weeks with what might well be a dislocated shoulder.To compensate his replacement Gudjohnsen showed one or two nice touches as he moves toward full fitness.
Now Tony Pulis has been saying that Kenwyne Jones can get better.....he's not the finished article....can't wait !!