Ba haunts Potters
Newcastle United stun Stoke City at the Britannia
Last Updated: November 1, 2011 10:00am
Demba Ba came back to haunt Stoke City on Halloween with a blistering hat-trick in a 3-1 victory for Newcastle at the Britannia Stadium.
Ba came within a whisker of signing for the Potters and showed the home fans what they missed out on with a well-taken header with 12 minutes played.
The Senegal international doubled his tally before half-time when he side-footed home from close range after Leon Best scuffed his back-post effort.
Stoke were given a lifeline late on when Jon Walters converted from the penalty spot after Ba bundled over Peter Crouch.
However, Ba had the final say when he completed his hat-trick with a penalty in the 81st minute after substitute Robert Huth was deemed to have pushed Best.
Save of the match: Things could have been different for Stoke had Etherington's 35th minute half-volley got the better of Dutch keeper Krul. The winger lashed a shot goalwards, but Newcastle's shot-stopper made an acrobatic save away to his right to keep out the attempt.
Pass of the match: Gabriel Obertan's lovely floated cross in the 12th minute was a peach of a delivery that Ba dispatched with aplomb in the middle to open the scoring.
Moment of the match: The pressure was on Ba to follow Walters' example of converting from the penalty spot. His effort was to seal his hat-trick and a miss would have given Stoke the impetus to push forward in search of a leveller. However, a fine finish from Ba settled the contest.
Talking points: Can Newcastle finally be considered serious UEFA Champions League contenders following their emphatic away win over Stoke? Is the Europa League proving an unwanted distraction for Tony Pulis' side?
The three-point haul lifts Newcastle above Chelsea in the Premier League standings while Stoke City remain in 11th position.
Newcastle's 12th-minute opener would not have looked out of place in the Stoke coaching manual.
Goalkeeper Tim Krul's kick was headed on by Best to Gabriel Obertan, who found space behind left-back Marc Wilson.
The Frenchman's inviting cross into the six-yard area picked out Ba who expertly twisted his body to head the ball back inside the near post.
Stoke's first defensive reshuffle came when captain Ryan Shawcross had to be replaced by Matthew Upson and had it not been for Asmir Begovic charging out of his area Ba would have taken advantage of the reorganisation as he raced to reach Yohan Cabaye's pass.
Krul almost gifted the home side an equaliser when he dropped Andy Wilkinson's high cross and the ball fortuitously rolled behind rather than across his goalline but he made up for it with a diving catch to hang on to Matt Etherington's left-foot volley from outside the penalty area.
And that allowed the Magpies to double their lead five minutes before the interval when Upson could only help Fabricio Coloccini's lofted pass on to Best on the right of the penalty area and he crossed low for Ba to tap in.
Problems continued to mount for Stoke as Huth had to come on for the injured Wilson before the half-time whistle provided the Potters with some respite.
The home side improved after the break with Huth going close with a header but Newcastle, who have conceded seven goals in 10 league matches, defended well.
With still no sign of a breakthrough Kenwyne Jones replaced Etherington for the last quarter and within five minutes Stoke pulled one back.
Upson's goalbound effort was headed away by Coloccini but Ba fouled Peter Crouch in the ensuing scramble and Walters fired home the penalty.But barely had the recovery begun then it was ended as referee Mike Dean penalised Huth for a push on Best and Ba drilled home from the spot.
|Stoke City||Team Statistics||Newcastle United|
|0||1st Half Goals||2|
|3||Shots on Target||3|
|6||Shots off Target||5|
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