Happy Halloween and mackem Slaughter Anniversary.
A very tough game in store for us tonight has been made even tougher by the pre-match news that Cheick Tiote misses out through injury and will be replaced by Danny Guthrie. In terms of playing styles, this is one of the worst fixtures that it could have happened for.
Both of the other injury doubts, Steve Taylor (broken nose) and Leon Best (tonsillitis) are good to go, so we line up:
Krul, Simpson, Raylor, Saylor, Colo (C), Guthrie, Cabaye, Jonas, Obertan, Ba, Best
Former Mag Jonathan Woodgate starts for Stoke.
A win would see us climb up into third, though Stoke are unbeaten at home so it wont be easy. Let's not forget how tough a fixture this was for us last season, but we have bettered most like-for-like fixtures this year so far vs last, so you never know.....
1 - CORNER: Obertan's pass is deflected behind by Pennant. You see them lining up in the 18 yard box and it quickly becomes obvious how big a side Stoke have. Headed out for another corner - Cabaye crosses into the box, cleared out and a decent effort from Ryan Taylor goes wide. The 250th game of his career.....
3 - A Delap long-hoy. It looks like Ba is picking up Shawcross - I don't fancy our odds on that one.
4 - Colo brushes skin-headed Walters head and Walters hits the deck like a small child, looks to the linesman, gets nothing so jumps up and waves a finger at Colo.
Roberto Mancini is in the crowd wearing one of the worst scarf's that I have ever seen in my life.
I know Obertan has yet to convince many Newcastle fans, me included, but this is the type of game that he could really prove his worth. His pace on the break could help to relieve the pressure
12 - GGGGGOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLDemba Ba! Long ball from Krul, headed on by Best, superb ball in from the right delivered by Obertan and headed home by Ba. He cups his ear to the boo boys! 1 v 0.
16 - More boos for Demba. Booing him because the club wouldn't sign him so he went to West Ham instead! He responded in the perfect way a few minutes ago!
17 - A howler from Shawcross as he falls over under no pressure. Ba nicks the ball but Begovic comes out quickly and does well. Shawcross limps off like a 12 year old who has just made a silly error in the playground.
18 - It seems I have been a bit harsh on Shawcross - he's been subbed. Upson on. He has had some shockers vs us in the past so let's hope that continues.
Jonas doesn't look too keen to hang on to the ball so far. I wonder if he is worried about getting roughed up?!
22 - Rory Delap's fourth or fifth long throw from the right. I'm not even sure he has touched it with his feet yet.....
24 - Superb ball over the top from Cabaye looking for Ba. Begovic again does brilliantly coming off his line quickly - get those ones wrong and you are in big trouble.
28 - Another Delap throw from the right. Stoke are very effective at what they do, but it can be a tough watch.
29 - A cross from the right that Krul, under no pressure, should take easily but he drops it behind for a corner. If he had been more central it might well have been an OG. We are under quite a bit of pressure.
I do like that black strip. Might have to buy one.
33 - Only 2 shots in the entire game so far, both from us. 1 on target.
35 - Another long throw from Delap, cleared, long range shot from Etherington easily saved by Krul.
It looks like Wilson might be coming off for Huth. This used to happen to us regularly when we played in Europe every year - the number of sprains and strains that our players picked up was ridiculous.
38 - Cabaye has given away a free kick on the corner of our area. Etherington finds Pennant but he's well covered.
Further to my earlier comment on Jonas - he has yet again proved how helpful he is defensively.
39 - GOLGOLGOLGOLGOLGOLGOLGOLGOLGOLGOLGOL and it is wor Demba again. Left footed diagonal cross from Captain Colo, Besty brings it down well, miscues his shot but Demba slots home!
41 - Wilson off, Huth on. A second later Stoke swing in a great corner and a scramble ends with the ball in Krul's hands.
Nanananananana na na na, Demba Demba Ba, Demba Ba, Demba Demba Ba
44 - Ryan Taylor, who has played very well so far, is left flat out on the floor after a heavy challenge from Walters. It looks quite serious. He finally gets to his feet and will see out the half.
49 - Wilkinson gifts the ball to Best (they've done that a few times tonight), Best shoots wide from distance. Decent effort.
HALF TIME: STOKE CITY 0 DEMBA BA 2
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