A number of questionable refereeing decisions from Martin Atkinson helped Newcastle to a 5-1 win over nine-man Stoke City at St James Park on Thursday afternoon.
Goals from Loic Remy, Yohan Cabaye and Yoan Gouffran after the dismissals of Irish duo Marc Wilson and Glenn Whelan helped Newcastle to run riot on their home turf. Oussama Assaidi opened the scoring in the first half but this turned out to be just a consolation for the visitors.
Atkinson missed chances to book Newcastle players for a handball and apparent diving before sending off two Stoke players for challenges that did not appear worthy of red cards.
Mark Hughes made two changes to the team that won 2-1 against Aston Villa on Saturday with Thomas Sorensen in for the injured Asmir Begovic - a surprise late change as the Bosnian suffered a broken finger - and Charlie Adam came in for Marko Arnautovic.
Alan Pardew made just one change following Newcastle’s 3-0 win over former Stoke manager Tony Pulis’ Crystal Palace, bringing in Hatem Ben Arfa for the first time since October in place of the suspended Cheick Tiote.
The first real chance dropped to the visitors when Jon Walters was found in space in the area but couldn’t get his shot away before Mohamed Sissoko hit a deflected shot straight into the arms of Sorensen.
Adam came close to scoring two goals in two games when Geoff Cameron found him in the area but his shot was wide of Tim Krul’s right-hand post. The Scotland international then tried again from close range when his left-footed strike flew over.
Stoke did break the deadlock a few minutes later when Assaidi went through three defenders and curled a right-footed shot into the top corner for his third of the season. But the Potters went down to ten men just before half time when Whelan received his second booking after a tackle on Cabaye,
Hughes tried to protest his innocence and was sent to the stands for his appeals.
Things went from bad to worse for Stoke when they went down to nine when Wilson pulled down Loic Remy in the area and was given straight red. Sorensen saved the resulting penalty from Remy but the Frenchman came back to haunt Stoke when Hatem Ben Arfa found him on the break and he unleashed a shot which went underneath the Dane to level the game.
The Magpies took advantage of the extra men in the opening stages of the second half when Gouffran collected the ball from Sorensen’s poor clearance and shot low into the right hand-post for his fifth in successive home games.
Remy secured the points for Newcastle a few minutes later with his second of the game and tenth of the season when he headed home from close range.
Stoke realised that they now had to play for damage limitation and swapped Peter Crouch for Wilson Palacios as a way to defend the onslaught.
Cabaye put the game far beyond Stoke after a neat one-two with Ben Arfa on the edge of the area ended with the Frenchman unleashing a shot beyond the posts from 20 yards to give Newcastle a 4-1 lead.
Atkinson awarded a penalty ten minutes from time for Erik Pieters' foul on Ben Arfa and Cabaye gave the ball to Papiss Cisse and he sent Sorensen the wrong way and the game finished 5-1.
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