Newcastle ease past Stoke to move fourth
Sports Direct Arena
21st April 2012 3pm
Attendance: 52, 162
Newcastle continued their pursuit for Champions League qualification by brushing aside a lacklustre Stoke City side at the Sports Direct Arena.
A double from Yohan Cabaye and Papiss Cisse`s 11th goal in 10 games helped Newcastle to a sixth straight victory which saw them leapfrog Tottenham into the final Champions League spot.
Newcastle made one change as Cheick Tiote came in for James Perch, whilst Stoke made three changes as Andy Wilkinson, Glenn Whelan and Peter Crouch came in for Jermaine Pennant, Dean Whitehead and Kenwyne Jones.
The result could have been so much different if Stoke had opened the scoring within the first 10 minutes. Marc Wilson, who was playing at right back to combat the threat of Hatem Ben Arfa played a long diagonal ball into Peter Crouch who managed to nod the ball into the path of Jon Walters who found space in the Newcastle penalty area but horribly fired over. No wonder the striker has scored for over 5 months from open play.
Newcastle made Walters pay as Davide Santon advanced down the right wing and found Ben Arfa, who with a change of pace easily gets around Irishman Wilson before setting to the by-line to cross towards the far post where Papiss Cisse was unmarked and was allowed to crash his header off the bar. Stoke defenders and goalkeeper stood static as Yohan Cabaye charged in and fired a header home from 6 yards. GOAL 1-0
Almost immediately after the restart Newcastle came straight back at Stoke and calmly passed the ball out of defence, and when the ball found Cabaye who was in acres of space, the little Frenchmen threaded a perfectly weighed ball in between the Stoke defenders which saw Cisse latch onto it too easily to place the ball into the far corner of the net past Begovic who was too slow coming off his line. GOAL 2-0
Cabaye continued to terrorise Stoke as he advanced down the right wing and whipped in a delicious ball across the 6 yard box, only for it to be agonizingly out of the reach of the outstretched boot of Demba Ba.
The Newcastle bombardment continued as Santon was allowed too much space on the left wing as he wriggled into the penalty area and manufactured a shot on goal which this time was comfortably saved by Bosnian Begovic.
The score line seemed to have got worse for the Potters when Cisse won a header and found Ba who hit a seemingly comfortable shot for Begovic to take care of but he made a hash of his collection which saw Cisse react quickest and bundle into the empty net on the rebound. Stoke`s number one stopper blushes were saved as the lineman`s flag was raised for offside. The lead stayed at 2.
That lead was soon increased though as Tiote, Ben Arfa, Cisse, and Ba all linked up and passed the ball around like it was a training session, causing Stoke`s defenders too case shadows. The ball finally found its way to Cabaye who curled the ball home from the edge of the right hand side of the box. GOAL 3-0
Cabaye was then replaced with a standing ovation from the Sports Direct Arena faithful by James Perch.
Immediately after the substitute, Whelan`s corner was flicked on by Robert Huth into the path of Crouch who smashed the ball goal wards only for Perch to get a block in.
After Stoke`s rare venture into the Magpie`s half, Ba lined up a free kick but crashed it into the wall but the ball dropped nicely for Tiote who struck the ball sweetly and with the ball looking destined for the top corner, Begovic managed to fly across his goal and tipped the ball over.
From the resulting corner it seemed like Tiote was on a one man mission to make it 4 as the ball was played out to him 25 yards from goal and the Ivorian midfielder drove the ball at goal only for Begovic to beat the effort away once again.