Super-sub Jerome sparks Stoke comeback
28th November 2012 7.45pm
Stoke extended their unbeaten home record to 14 games as they came from behind to beat Newcastle United 2 - 1 at the Britannia Stadium.
The Potters had been heading for defeat against Alan Pardew`s men until Cameron Jerome stepped off the bench to become an unlikely hero.
The striker who has found his opportunities limited this season changed the game when he was introduced late in the second half, creating the equaliser for Jonathan Walters and scoring the winner to give his team all three points.
It didn`t all go Stoke`s way on what was a freezing night at the Britannia Stadium. In a tight first half it was Newcastle who controlled the majority of possession but failed to really test Asmir Begovic. James Perch`s wayward shot from 20 yards was the only clear shooting opportunity the Magpies created.
A calamitous mix up in the Newcastle penalty area nearly lead to the opening goal, Glenn Whelan`s free kick bounced around in the six yard area only for the ball to strike the outside of the post and be scrambled wide. That was a good as it got in the first half, which was one of Stoke`s poorest performances of the campaign. To compound the Potters first half woes Peter Crouch lost 3 teeth in a nasty collision with Newcastle captain Fabricio Coloccini, which saw him replaced by the impressive Kenwyne Jones.
The second half could hardly have started worse for the home side when two costly mistakes gifted Newcastle the lead. Glenn Whelan, who did not have his greatest night, wanted too much time on the ball and was caught in possession by Demba Ba, who unleashed a shot from just outside the Stoke penalty area. Begovic could not hold it and the ball dropped for Papiss Cisse who slotted the ball into the net, only the second goal scored past the Bosnian stopper at home all season.
It was looking like a grim evening for Tony Pulis` men until the double change which sparked Stoke into life. Jerome and Michael Kightly were brought on for the disappointing Matty Etherington and Charlie Adam. Immediately the changes seemed to have the desired effect, Jerome offering pace and movement whilst Kightly was looking dangerous with his direct running. It was the latter that created a golden chance for Kenwyne Jones to level the scores on 79 minutes, he took on Danny Simpson and dinked and inviting cross to the back post but Jones could only head straight at Krul from six yards. Suddenly Stoke were looking dangerous, Newcastle looked nervous and the famous Britannia roar seemed to pull stoke forward with chants of "attack, attack", and attack they did. The equaliser came on 81 minutes, with superb link up play between Walters and Jerome. The Irishman did brilliantly to flick the ball over his head to release Jerome, who cut back inside and whipped in a left footed cross which was met by Walters who had continued his run and flicked the ball beyond Krul, who could only stand and watch, as it flew into the top corner. It was a deserved goal for the striker who had one of his best displays of the season.
The home crowd had new found hope, it seemed only a matter of time before a winner was found and Jerome duly delivered. Walters played an angled ball, inviting Jones to out leap his man and nod into the path of the former Birmingham striker who side footed the ball beyond the Newcastle keeper to send the Boothen End into raptures. If there is a way to win a game surely this is it, 2 goals in the last ten minutes to turn the game on its head. It could prove to be a crucial 3 points ahead of back to back away games at West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa.
The result propels Stoke to 9th in the Premier League table, a sight that was greeted with roars as fans left the stadium.
Tony Pulis hailed the impact of Jones, Jerome and Kightly but the performance of Walters and Steven N`Zonzi who was simply outstanding yet again, should also be praised. It gives the manager numerous selection dilemmas ahead of the short trip to The Baggies on Saturday where he will be hoping his side can extend their run to 5 games unbeaten and continue their charge up the Barclay`s Premier League.