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FT: Newcastle 0-1 Stoke City

Newcastle United manager Steve McClaren walks off the pitch dejected after the final whistle at tonight's match at the Britannia Stadium Credit: PA

Stoke forward Xherdan Shaqiri's winner nine minutes from time consigned Newcastle to a sixth straight away loss in the Barclays Premier League and kept them mired in the relegation zone.

The Magpies, back in action after 18 days off, arrived at the Britannia Stadium having not picked up a point on the road since a December 13 win at Tottenham, while they also had been eliminated from the FA Cup with a loss at Watford in January.

A point would have lifted them out of the bottom three, and they were on course to ensure a share of the spoils at the Britannia Stadium before Shaqiri popped up with a moment of magic in the Potters' 1-0 win.

The forward drifted off the right wing and received a pass from Diouf, steadying himself before firing his third Stoke goal beyond a static Elliot.

Newcastle almost mustered an unlikely equaliser when Jonjo Shelvey's cross was met by Doumbia, with Butland springing away to his left to claw the ball out with his left hand.

The Magpies lie second bottom in the Premier League table, equal with Sunderland and Norwich on points, but behind them on goal difference.


Pardew: 'Stoke difficult to beat'

Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew says his side face a tough test when they travel to Stoke in the Premier League tonight.

Speaking ahead of the match, he said: "They're very, very difficult to beat always.

"Tony sets his team up. They're a strong, physical unit. Set-plays they excel at. They're very good defensively, and that's hard for any team to go and break them down. That's something that we need to try and achieve.

"The one [fixture] there last year was one of our big results of the season and obviously we're going to have to try and emulate that."