There were calls for Mark Hughes’ head from the home fans after Stoke suffered a 1-0 defeat to Newcastle at the Bet365 Stadium on New Year’s Day.
Stoke City 0 Newcastle United 1
Butland denies Atsu early on
Clarke misses with goal at his mercy
Perez converts Murphy’s cross
Darlow keeps out Diouf twice late on
Hughes had rested numerous first-team players for the 5-0 hammering at Chelsea on Saturday with an eye on the clash with Rafael Benitez’s side, but the Potters were second-best for large parts of Monday’s game.
Ayoze Perez finally made the pressure count on 73 minute with the opener and the Magpies held on for victory thanks to a couple of late saves from Karl Darlow.
What a positive way to start the year , massive 3 points ???? thanks for your support ⚫️⚪️ https://t.co/BVUFSO8Apn
— Christian Atsu (@ChristianAtsu20) January 1, 2018
Yesssssss Toon Toon ⚫️&⚪️armyyyyyyy????????. ??♂️??♂️??♂️??♂️??♂️??♂️??♂️??♂️??♂️
— Alan Shearer (@alanshearer) January 1, 2018
After two underwhelming performances against Manchester City and Brighton to end 2017, the Toon looked up for the contest in the Potteries.
Christian Atsu had three good chances inside the opening quarter of an hour, but only tested Jack Butland on one occasion.
The Ghanaian had a shot deflected wide of the right post in the fifth minute after being played in on the left by Perez, while he steered a half-volley past the opposite upright from the edge of the box five minutes later when a clearance dropped into his path.
Atsu did manage to draw a save out of Butland on 14 minutes as he connected with De Andre Yedlin’s cutback from the right and was kept out at the near post from seven yards out.
The hosts struggled to get going in the first half and offered virtually no threat in the final third, although Charlie Adam forced Darlow into a decent save with a free-kick from long range in the 27th minute.
They were fortunate not to go behind on the half-hour mark when a corner was flicked on at the near post by Perez, with Ciaran Clark missing the target from just two yards out.
Matt Ritchie did well to get on the end of Jonjo Shelvey’s cross from the right seven minutes later, but his header was comfortably collected by Butland, who saw the Scottish midfielder fire a tame shot straight at him in added time.
Stoke created far more chances after the restart and Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting threatened in the 53rd minute with a curling effort from 20 yards out that was smartly tipped over by Darlow.
But after Shelvey flashed a free-kick wide of the right post on 67 minutes, the visitors opened the scoring six minutes later when Jacob Murphy surged down the right flank and sent in a low cross that was turned in by Perez.
Darlow had to be alert at the other end on 79 minutes as he kept out Mame Biram Diouf’s volley from eight yards out, while the Senegalese forward was denied again from close range after meeting Peter Crouch’s knockdown with his head.
Diouf spurned two more chances late on as he dragged a shot wide of the left post from the edge of the box before heading a corner over the crossbar in stoppage time.
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) January 1, 2018