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Britannia Stadium (ATT 27,400) 12th April 2014 - Kick off 15:07

Stoke Stoke City vs Newcastle United Newcastle

Stoke 1

E Pieters (42)

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Premier League: Erik Pieters scores only goal in Stoke City's 1-0 win over Newcastle United

By David Bowers - @davidalexbowers.   Last Updated: 12/04/14 7:04pm

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Erik Pieters (L): Scored only goal in win over Newcastle

Erik Pieters (L): Scored only goal in win over Newcastle

A fortuitous Erik Pieters goal was enough to give Stoke City a win over Newcastle United, their fourth-straight Premier League home win.

Both sides had glorious chances to break the deadlock in the first-half, with Stoke's Peter Crouch heading against the post whilst Dan Gosling scooped over a great chance from six yards out.

But it was the Potters' full back Pieters, one-time target of Newcastle, who opened the scoring just before half-time when his mishit cross got caught in the wind and looped over fellow countryman Tim Krul, and into the net.

Newcastle had chances to equalise through Mike Williamson's close range shot and Vurnon Anita's late header, but Stoke's defence remained firm throughout.

The Potters could have easily doubled their lead, with Charlie Adam and the superb Marko Arnautovic failing to convert their second half chances - but it mattered not, with Stoke holding on for a win that closes the gap on 9th placed Newcastle by three points.

Best of the Match

  • Man of the match: Marko Arnautovic ran rings around the Newcastle defence and deserved a goal to cap off a mesmerising performance. An absolute bargain at £2m.
  • Moment of the match: Erik Pieters' lucky cross-cum-shot was enough to separate the sides, a goal that typified Newcastle's lack of fortune recently.
  • Miss of the match: A superb Arnautovic cross fell perfectly into the path of Peter Crouch, who uncharacteristically headed the ball straight against the post despite being a few yards.
  • Talking point: With the gap between Newcastle and Stoke reduced to just three points, will Mark Hughes' side leapfrog the Magpies by the end of the season?

The visitors were boosted by the return of goalkeeper Tim Krul from injury while Stoke captain Ryan Shawcross became the first player to make 200 Premier League appearances for the club.

The hosts, watched by their biggest crowd of the season, have lost just twice at the Britannia Stadium in the league all campaign and they should have taken the lead in the 10th minute.

The dangerous Marko Arnautovic swung over a perfect cross but leading scorer Peter Crouch headed against a post from five yards.

Two minutes later it was Newcastle's turn to miss a golden chance as Shola Amoebi's flick found Dan Gosling in front of goal six yards out but he could only slice the ball over the bar.

Most of the pressure was coming from Stoke but Ameobi and his strike partner Papiss Cisse were causing problems for the hosts.

The latter wanted a penalty after going down under a clumsy challenge from Geoff Cameron but referee Mike Jones was unmoved.

Steven Nzonzi tried his luck at the other end in the 26th minute with a shot from the edge of the box that was deflected over the bar by Fabricio Coloccini.

Peter Odemwingie had a similar opening soon after when he was well found by Arnautovic but he miscued his shot horribly.

Then in the 42nd minute Stoke made the breakthrough, Pieters floating his cross just beyond the despairing reach of Krul.

It was undoubtedly tough on Newcastle, who tried to respond before the break through Cheick Tiote but his fierce long-ranger was well held by Asmir Begovic.

Like the first half, the first chance of the second period was a Crouch header from Arnautovic's cross, but this time the striker could not quite get over the top of the ball.

And Crouch threatened again in the 61st minute, this time with a header from Geoff Cameron's deep cross, but Krul was behind it.

Shawcross showed his value at the other end with a block from Mike Williamson's goal-bound shot, leaving the Newcastle defender with head in hands.

Charlie Adam entered the fray as a 66th-minute replacement for Ireland and wearing a mask to protect his nose, which he broke in four places in training this week.

The Scot is due to have an operation on Monday but did not want to miss the game.

And he almost made the game safe when he ran onto Arnautovic's clever pass but pulled his shot past the far post.

Begovic had been largely untroubled in the second half but Vurnon Anita spurned a great chance to equalise five minutes from time when he headed Ameobi's cross over an empty goal.

Boos from the travelling fans greeted the final whistle, with a 'Pardew Out' banner displayed.

Newcastle have taken just 13 points from 16 games since beating nine-man Stoke at St James' Park on Boxing Day.

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Table

Barclays Premier League

Barclays Premier League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Chelsea 5 13
2 Southampton 5 10
3 Aston Villa 5 10
4 Arsenal 5 9
5 Swansea City 5 9
6 Manchester City 5 8
7 Leicester City 5 8
8 West Ham United 5 7
9 Tottenham Hotspur 5 7
10 Hull City 5 6
11 Liverpool 5 6
12 Manchester United 5 5
13 Stoke City 5 5
14 Everton 5 5
15 Crystal Palace 5 5
16 West Bromwich Albion 5 5
17 Sunderland 5 4
18 Queens Park Rangers 5 4
19 Burnley 5 3
20 Newcastle United 5 3

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