TONY PULIS admitted that Stoke City's North East heartache was symptomatic of their away form this season after Papiss Cisse's injury-time winner condemned them to a third successive defeat in the Barclays Premier League.
Pulis' side had high hopes of taking something from their tough trip to a resurgent Newcastle United, especially when Jon Walters fired them in front from the penalty spot after the striker had been brought down by Cheick Tiote.
But as has happened so many times this season, City could not hold on in the closing stages and left St James' Park empty-handed.
"That has been the story of our season away from home," commented a frustrated City manager after the 2-1 defeat on Tyneside.
"It's yet another game when we have done well enough to take something from it, but have ended up with nothing, and it hurts.
"The players are desperately disappointed and I am distraught for them because of the performance which they have produced.
"We just don't seem to be able to get over the line. We are either shooting ourselves in the foot or things conspire against us."
He added: "You could say it was a combination of the two in this instance. The first goal we gave away was a poor one to concede. Glenn has come out and held his hands up for that one because it was a dreadful pass that led to it.
"The second goal was scored by someone who shouldn't have been on the pitch. Cisse has pushed Marc Wilson in the face and then slapped Ryan Shawcross."
Pulis felt that City's players had produced a performance that was worthy of taking at least a point, if not more, from the meeting with Newcastle.
"The lads have done smashing today. It was a very, very good away performance and we looked dangerous on the break," stated Pulis.
"We had taken the sting out of them and we felt pretty comfortable. I don't think Asmir had a single save to make other than to pick the ball out of the net twice."
Pulis drew parallels between the Newcastle game and many other matches at the so-called bigger clubs over the course of this season.
"I know I have said this before, but we have played better away from home than we have done in the past four seasons in the Premier League, but haven't had the results to show for it. We've been in more games and closer to getting more results than ever before," he said.
"You look at the performances, and I don't mean the smaller clubs. I mean Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester United, Arsenal and now here again today."