Crouch strikes late to earn Stoke a point
St James' Park
8th February 2015 2.05pm
Peter Crouch headed home late on to give Stoke a point in Newcastle.
Crouch`s 90th minute header cancelled out Jack Colback`s controversial opener, as the United midfielder was lucky to still be on the field.
Colback had caught Victor Moses late but Kevin Friend failed to give the Newcastle player a second yellow card as he was allowed to stay on the field and fire home from 16-yards.
Newcastle were able to announce an unchanged starting eleven from the side that won 3-0 at Hull last week, whilst Stoke were forced into two changes as Mame Biram Diouf and Marc Muniesa came in for the injured Ryan Shawcross and Marko Arnautovic.
The game failed to really ever sparkle as Newcastle sat pretty deep for a home time which stifled the Potters counter attacking style.
Newcastle did nearly open the scoring through the bright Remy Cabella as he flicked on a near post cross, but Begovic managed to save from point blank range with superb reflexes.
Cabella was once again in the action as Perez broke free after a neat pass by the Frenchman, but he could only fire narrowly wide.
The Potters nearly went into the break in front though when Steven N`Zonzi showed some neat touches and footwork to create some space and found Stephen Ireland, who produced a magnificent cross for Diouf who headed towards goal but Tim Krul showed great reflexes to tip the ball wide.
Stoke`s recent injury woes were to get worse when Marc Wilson was forced off just after the break to be replaced by Geoff Cameron, meaning Phil Bardsley came to left back.
The former Sunderland full back seemed to have more success on the left and had a number of chances to get on the score sheet, the closest being a long range pile driver which was easily saved by the Magpies` Dutch stopper.
Another former Sunderland player had much better luck than his former counterpart as the already yellow carded Jack Colback caught Victor Moses late and gave away a foul which warranted another yellow card, but referee Kevin Friend kept his cards in his pockets and Colback on the field.
Colback revelled in his reprise as he forced home the first goal of the game as he powered in a drive from the edge of the area with the help of the far post after good work from Sissoko in the penalty area.
The Potters nearly instantly replied after some good work in the midfield from Steven N`Zonzi managed to find Ireland, who dispatched a superb strike past Tim Krul, only for the Assistant Referee`s offside flag to stop the celebrations dead.
Mark Hughes` reacted as he bought Peter Crouch on for Stephen Ireland and moved to a 4-4-2 formation, but his tactical change nearly cost him immediately as Newcastle broke and found their selves in a 3-on-1 situation, where Gabriel Obertan looked certain to double Castle`s lead and put the game to bed, but captain Glenn Whelan made a desperate challenge to stop the Frenchman, but the ball still fell to Obertan who unselfishly tried to square the ball, but the Potters backline had managed retreat and clear their lines.
Stoke didn`t look back from that let off as they flew forward with Geoff Cameron on the right wing who swung the ball into the box, where Peter Crouch rose highest and floated a header over Tim Krul and the despairing Coloccini to level the scores and give Stoke a point that keeps them in the top half of the table.