Papiss Cisse scored a stoppage time winner in a come-from-behind win as Newcastle United recorded a 2-1 victory over Stoke City in the Premier League.
The best chance of a turgid first half came in the shape of a rushed Yoan Gouffran volley that veered wide of the goal with 37 minutes gone.
Newcastle were in the supremacy in the second half when Jon Walters won and converted a penalty with 67 minutes gone before a superb Yohan Cabaye free-kick drew the hosts level just five minutes later.
Both sides went for the win as the game drew to a close and Cisse pounced in the third minute of added time to secure all three points.
Only goalkeeper Rob Elliot, centre-back Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and midfielders Cabaye and Moussa Sissoko retained their places from the impressive goalless draw away at Anzhi Makhachkala on Thursday as Alan Pardew welcomed a distinctly out-of-sorts Stoke City to Newcastle.
Last weekend’s defeat against West Ham United was the Potters’ sixth in their last eight games and left them with just one win from their last nine but Tony Pulis only made one change to the side that fell to a limp 1-0 loss last weekend with United States international Geoff Cameron coming in for Michael Kightly.
Despite the changes, the Magpies looked to be suffering from some Europa League lethargy as they struggled to put any form of coherent attacking threat together for large swathes of a first half in which the Potters sat defiantly deep.
The visitors, though, were an occasional threat on the break, but, unwilling to over-commit, they were restricted to shots from distance – the most notable of which came from Peter Crouch, but, lacking the required power, it turned out a rudimentary save for Rob Elliot with 26 minutes gone.
With the threat of Cisse negated by the Stoke deep defensive line, the hosts’ main threat came from the right flank where a rampaging Mathieu Debuchy capitalised on the uncertainty between Andy Wilkinson and Cameron Jerome on the Stoke left.
But with the final ball all too often lacking the required quality, the home side’s best opportunity came through a more direct route when Cabaye’s measured ball picked out Gouffran in behind the Stoke defence as the half approached the interval.
However, composure deserted the former Bordeaux man as he snatched at the effort from no more than 10 yards with 37 minutes gone to ensure the game went to the break at parity.
A half-time tactical switch offered Newcastle an early opportunity to establish their superiority but Sissoko, now operating on the right of midfield, was thwarted by the quick reactions of Asmir Begovic who came off his line to save at the Frenchman’s feet with the half only five minutes old.
The Magpies remained the dominant force as the half progressed but a rash Cheick Tiote challenge as Walters led a rare foray forward from the visitors gave the Potters the opportunity to take the lead courtesy of a penalty.
Despite having missed two penalties already this season, Walters stepped up to send Elliot the wrong way from 12 yards but the home side rallied and were level just five minutes later.
A sloppy Glenn Whelan pass culminated in Sissoko winning a free-kick on the edge of the Stoke box that Cabaye stepped to dispatch past Begovic via the underside of the crossbar to level things up with 72 minutes gone.
Stoke, who have been in a worrying run of form, reacted well to being pegged back but lacked the creativity to open up a solid looking Newcastle back four with the final ball all too often not of the required quality.
And as their toils going forward bore limited fruit, Newcastle showcased a predatory instinct as the game was deep in stoppage time.
Substitute Sylvain Marveaux was afforded too much time on the edge of the box with three minutes of the allotted stoppage time gone and he picked out Cisse, who took a touch to steady himself before volleying past an onrushing Begovic to secure all three points from close range.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Yohan Cabaye (Newcastle United): Dictated the pace of the game throughout and capped a fine performance with a wonderful free-kick.
NEWCASTLE: Elliot 6, Debuchy 6, S.Taylor 6, Yanga-Mbiwa 6, Santon 5, Cabaye 7, Tiote 5, Gutierrez 6, Sissoko 6, Gouffran 6’ Cisse 5. Subs: Haidara 5, Marveaux 6, Campbell 5.
STOKE: Begovic 6, Cameron 5, Shawcross 5, Wilson 5, Wilkinson 5, Shotton 6, Whelan 5, Nzonzi 5, Walters 5, Jerome 5, Crouch 5. Subs: Jones 6, Whitehead 5.