By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor
At the Britannia Stadium
Stoke City 1 (Pieters 42)
Newcastle United 0
Newcastle United suffered a fourth successive Barclays Premier League defeat as they went down 1-0 away at Stoke City.
A fluke goal from left-back Erik Pieters was enough to separate the sides at the Britannia Stadium in a game which was full of effort but lacked real quality at times.
Potters front man Peter Crouch should have put himself on the scoresheet, hitting the post and spurning a couple of other good headed opportunities.
And at the other end, Dan Gosling, Mike Williamson and Vurnon Anita all threatened, while the visitors may feel they should have been given a spot-kick when Papiss Cisse was bundled over inside the area.
As it was, Pieters settled the contest just before half-time, sending a misdirected cross from out on the left touchline into the far top corner.
United will be aiming to bounce back as they face Swansea City next Saturday at St. James' Park.
With less than ten minutes on the clock, Stoke created the first chance of the afternoon through leading scorer Crouch.
A neat move down the left saw Marko Arnautovic send an inch-perfect cross onto the England international's head but, having peeled away from Mike Williamson, Crouch could only nod against the foot of the upright.
United responded immediately and Gosling threatened a breakthrough when Shola Ameobi headed into his path, only for the midfielder to hook over the top, under pressure from Asmir Begovic.
The Potters survived a big penalty shout on 24 minutes when Cisse went down under the challenge of Geoff Cameron inside the area. The right-back stepped across Cisse's path as the pair challenged for the ball, but referee Mike Jones waved away the Magpies' strong claims.
At the other end, Fabricio Coloccini deflected a Steven N'Zonzi strike over the top, before the hosts took the lead in fortuitous fashion three minutes before the break.
Left-back Pieters tried to stand up a cross to the far post but mishit his delivery, and succeeded in sending the ball sailing over the head of Tim Krul and into the far top corner.
Newcastle remained unchanged going into the second half, and Stoke should have doubled their advantage on 52 minutes.
Arnautovic skipped past the challenge of Gosling wide on the left before delivering into the six yard box for Crouch, but the tall front man could only nod well off target.
Newcastle had created precious little in the second period but, just past the half hour mark, Williamson almost broke his Magpies duck and dragged his team level in the process.
Cisse's right-wing cross was met by the centre-back and, after seeing his initial header blocked, Williamson fired a half-volley goalwards, only to see that blocked by a superb last-ditch challenge.
On 73 minutes, Alan Pardew made a double switch, introducing Hatem Ben Arfa and Adam Armstrong in place of Gosling and Cisse, but within seconds the home side almost had goal number two, with Charlie Adam sweeping a shot narrowly wide.
The Magpies' best chance of an equaliser came with five minutes of the contest remaining as Ameobi beat a couple of challenges before delivering a deep cross to the far post
Racing in, Anita stretched to meet the ball bt it was slightly out of reach and he could only head off target from close range.
And that was it, as the Magpies slipped to a fourth straight defeat.
Stoke City (4-4-1-1): Asmir Begovic; Geoff Cameron, Ryan Shawcross (c), Marc Wilson, Erik Pieters; Stephen Ireland (Charlie Adam 66), Steven Nzonzi, Glenn Whelan, Marko Arnautovic; Peter Odemwingie (Jonathan Walters 87); Peter Crouch
Subs not used: Thomas Sorensen, Andy Wilkinson, Marc Muniesa, Wilson Palacios, John Guidetti
Newcastle United (3-5-2): Tim Krul; Steven Taylor (Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa 61), Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini (c); Vurnon Anita, Dan Gosling (Hatem Ben Arfa 73), Cheick Tiote, Yoan Gouffran, Paul Dummett; Shola Ameobi, Papiss Cisse (Adam Armstrong 73)
Referee: Mike Jones (Cheshire)
Bookings: Stoke - Pieters (87); Newcastle - Coloccini (75)