STOKE CITY were stung by a storming Newcastle United fightback as they slipped to a third successive defeat in the Barclays Premier League.
An injury-time winner from Papiss Cisse condemned them to their latest setback after Jonathan Walters’ clinically-taken penalty midway through the second period had been cancelled out by Yohan Cabaye’s stunning free kick.
The Potters had looked on course to take something from the game after soaking up plenty of Newcastle pressure and then taking the lead after Walters himself had been upended in the box by Cheick Tiote’s rash challenge.
Despite the fact that the Republic of Ireland international had missed a couple of penalties recently, he took responsibility for calmly slotting the spot kick past Rob Elliot.
Newcastle were quickly back on level terms when Cabaye curled home his free kick off the underside of the bar after Glenn Whelan had brought down Mousa Sissoko.
A point seemed on the cards for City, but with the game drifting onto four minutes of injury time, Cisse latched onto a neat through ball from Sylvain Marveaux to finish from close range, leaving them empty-handed from their visit to the North East.
Pulis had recalled American international Cameron in making one change to the side beaten by West Ham United eight days earlier, but winger Matthew Etherington was not risked after making good progress in his recovery from a back injury.
City made a bright start to the game in bitterly cold conditions and won a free kick in a menacing position after Jerome, cutting in from the left hand side, was upended by Cabaye, but Wilson’s delivery couldn’t find a red and white shirt in the box.
When Shawcross launched a long ball forward, Crouch chested it down and hooked a shot from 25 yards out which Elliot saved quite comfortably.
City’s captain was called into action at the other end to make two telling interceptions, firstly to stop Sissoko in his tracks and then to block a Debuchy cross.
Elliot was required to make another fairly straightforward save to gather a dipping volley struck by Shotton from the edge of the box after Newcastle had only half-cleared a corner delivered by Whelan from the right hand side.
Sissoko raised the volume by embarking upon a burst forward which ended with firing a long range shot well off target, but moments later, Cabaye was a lot closer with his effort which had Begovic scurrying across his line as it flashed past the post.
City were more than holding their own, although there was a worrying moment for them when Tiote’s power and perseverance enabled him to work his way into a position where he delivered a far post cross from the left for Cisse, but the Senegalese star couldn’t get his head to it, largely due to the fact that Begovic came off his line to challenge him.
When Cabaye’s attempt to thread a ball through took a wicked deflection, it broke for Gouffran bursting through the middle, but although his shot was only fractionally off target, the assistant referee was flagging after he had drifted offside.
In the closing stages of the half, with City good value for the fact that they were still on level terms, Cabaye tried his luck from 20 yards which took a deflection off Whelan’s outstretched leg and whistled past Begovic’s right hand post.
Newcastle began the second half very much in the ascendency and appeals for a penalty were waved away by Marriner when Sissoko burst forward onto Tiote’s pass and flicked the ball past the advancing Begovic only to then go down.
Another barnstorming run from the impressive Sissoko had City’s defenders backtracking and it took some resilient work to stop him from forcing his way into a shooting position, but the home side sustained the pressure after the break.
Begovic was relieved to see a long range shot from Gutierrez clear the bar after it deflected off a defender and looped over the ‘keeper.
After having to soak up a considerable amount of pressure in the early stages of the second half, City went in front at the midway point.
When Jerome released Walters down the left hand side, he attempted to cut in from the left but was sent crashing to the ground by Tiote.
Referee Marriner pointed to the spot and despite the fact that Walters had missed a couple of penalties recently, he picked himself up off the floor to take the spot kick and calmly sent Newcastle ‘keeper Elliot the wrong way with his sweetly struck effort.
City’s joy was short-lived, however, as Newcastle took advantage of an error by Whelan and eventually grabbed their equalizer in the 73rd minute.
Gouffran seized upon the error to burst to the edge of the box where Whelan had recovered quickly enough to bring down Sissoko in a dangerous position.
There was a delay before the free kick due to a flashpoint between Begovic and Taylor, with the Newcastle defender engaging in some unsportsmanlike behaviour as the Bosnian attempted to line up his wall before the kick was taken.
Nevertheless, despite Taylor’s best efforts, Begovic could do nothing about the excellent free kick struck by Cabaye which flew in off the underside of the bar.
After their Europa League exploits, it was no surprise that Pardew introduced fresh legs immediately after the goal, and that was followed by Jones replacing Crouch.
Not surprisingly, Jones got a familiar reception from the Newcastle fans, as did another former Sunderland man Whitehead when he replaced Jerome.
With four minutes of time added on at the end of the game, City had a scent of a chance when Jones burst forward onto a pass from Whelan only to be closed down.
But then in the dying minutes of the match, Newcastle went in front as substitute Marveaux threaded a pass through to Cisse who lifted his shot past Begovic; television replays clearly showing that Wilson was playing him onside despite the Potters’ protests.