Crouch salvages Potters a point

Peter Crouch secured Stoke a late point at St James Park in a scrappy and uninspiring Premier League game.

Jack Colback gave Newcastle the lead in the 74th minute before Crouch’s looping header levelled in the last minute of normal time.

The hosts can count themselves fortunate that their goalscorer was still on the pitch, already on a yellow card lunged in on Victor Moses catching the winger late. Kevin Friend, a replacement for Chris Foy, opted to keep his cards in his pocket, something he rarely did in the 90 minutes.

The first half was drab. The first chance fell to Remy Cabella whose glancing header forced Asmir Begovic into a good reaction save.

Things got a little better in the couple of minutes before the break when Ayoze Perez fed Cabella but he flashed his shot wide of the Stoke goal.

The Potters only opportunity in the first half came in the second minute of stoppage time. A powerful run from Steven N’Zonzi found Steven Ireland whose cross was met by Mame Diouf forcing Tim Krul into a smart stop.

In the second half it was a game that saw Stoke keep possession well but not create anything of note.

Peter Crouch: Celebrates late equaliser. Getty Images

Peter Crouch: Celebrates late equaliser. Getty Images

In the 53rd minute Colback entered the referee’s notebook for a late tackle on Marc Muniesa. Then in the 71st minute he went in late on Moses but Friend didn’t reach for a second yellow.

Instead it was Colback three minutes later who gave Newcastle the lead finishing a well-worked attack and thundered his shot through the legs of Philipp Wollscheid and off the post into the net.

Steven Ireland thought he had levelled with a good strike from outside the area, however the assistant referee had his flag up for offside; a correct decision.

After Gabriel Obertan wasted a glorious opportunity to seal all three points, Geoff Cameron whipped in a deep cross which was met by Peter Crouch whose looping header went over Krul. Fabricio Coloccini tried to keep it out but his efforts were in vain.

At the end of the game there was only one talking point. Stoke boss Mark Hughes said: “At a key point in game the referee hasn’t made a brave or strong decision.

“He has allowed Jack Colback to stay on when really he should have got a second yellow card and gone off. That would have made the difference and possibly allowed us to go on and win.”

Newcastle manager John Carver disagreed: “I’m never going to take away Jack’s competitiveness. He has been a great signing for this football club.

“He’s a competitor like Stoke’s Steven N’Zonzi, Glenn Whelan and Phil Bardsley are.

“There were lost of tackles going in and I thought the referee handled it very well. I’ll speak to him [Colback] but I won’t take it away from him.”

Teams

Newcastle: Krul, Janmaat, Williamson, Coloccini, Haidara, Anita (Cisse), Colback, Cabella (Obertan), Sissoko, Ameobi (Abeid), Perez.

Stoke: Begovic, Bardsley, Wollscheid, Muniesa, Wilson (Cameron), N’Zonzi, Whelan, Diouf, Ireland (Crouch), Moses, Walters.

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