Monday 31 October 8pm (Sky Sports)
Newcastle United 3 (Ba 12, 40, 81)
“If they want to boo, they should boo their board! Today I am very happy to score a hat-trick here because it is a place you come and struggle.
“It’s very important when you have strikers who can run and defend. Today we did our best but the team at the back were very strong. We are just in the first 10 games so it’s a long way to go.” Demba Ba
A perfect hat-trick, a perfect result.
Over the last few years Stoke have caused Newcastle a fair few problems and this result and performance went a long way towards payback.
Taylor lined up on Halloween with an appropriate mask, pressed into action without any realistic alternative, many would have thought teh writing was on the wall when combined with Tiote’s absence.
What followed though was good for the soul, as a bit like playing a bunch of lower league cloggers in the cup, United matched Stoke’s physicality which then gave them the platform to play their football.
Demba Ba got things rolling when he headed in Obertan’s exquisite cross to open the scoring on 12 minutes.
This was followed up with a close-range finish after Best’s decent control and cross-shot (mishit…?) which fell to Ba to slide in left footed and we were two up before half-time.
The perfect hat-trick was put to bed when Ba coolly slotted home a spot-kick after a stupid push on Leon Best.
The third goal had been closely preceded by a penalty for the home team which briefly threatened to spoil what was promising to be a splendid night. Ba punished for a ‘push’ on the ridiculous Peter Crouch which led to Jonathan Walters’ penalty with 15 minutes left.
Maybe you would pick out some of our players but tonight was undoubtedly an occasion where every player stepped up to the plate.
Krul and his centre-backs outstanding, Guthrie clearly having his best ever Toon performance alongside the influential Cabaye, while Ba is by some distance the most natural finisher on the books.
Everywhere on the pitch though the work ethic was plain to see with Obertan and Jonas giving every support to the full-backs.
Maybe the hardest decision would be whether the Stoke manager, players or fans, have the least amount of class.
Pulis was ungracious in defeat, while amusingly the home fans booed Ba because Stoke hadn’t followed through their interest in buying him earlier in the year. As for the players, Huth summed them up with a couple of cowardly challenges after the ball had gone.
Maybe the best part of the night though was seeing the reaction to both Simpson and Ryan Taylor (…Raylor) really milking the throw-ins, elaborately drying the ball each time with the towels provided to a backdrop of dissatisfied grunts of the locals.
Inspiration and perspiration in equal measures.
Stoke City: Asmir Begovic, Andy Wilkinson, Ryan Shawcross (c) (Matthew Upson 19), Jonathan Woodgate, Marc Wilson (Robert Huth 42), Jermaine Pennant, Rory Delap, Glenn Whelan, Matthew Etherington (Kenwyne Jones 68), Jonathan Walters, Peter Crouch.
Subs not used: Thomas Sorensen, Dean Whitehead, Cameron Jerome, Wilson Palacios.
Newcastle United: Tim Krul, Danny Simpson, Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Ryan Taylor; Gabriel Obertan, Danny Guthrie (Dan Gosling 90), Yohan Cabaye (James Perch 78), Jonas Gutierrez, Leon Best (Sammy Ameobi 87), Demba Ba.
Subs not used: Rob Elliot, Davide Santon, Sylvain Marveaux, Hatem Ben Arfa.
Referee: Mike Dean