Stoke City 4-0 Newcastle United
Two goals in four second-half minutes helped industrious Stoke City cruise to a convincing win against Newcastle.
Leading 1-0 after the first 45 minutes, Stoke may have been expecting a strong fightback from a Newcastle side that had improved as the match had gone on.
However, after just one minute of the second half, Steve Harper gifted the ball to Kenwyne Jones, setting up a chain of events which would quickly kill off the game.
With the striker in possession, Harper retreated to his line and Jones laid the ball off to Matthew Etherington whose cross was deflected twice before landing at the feet of Jermaine Pennant, the winger slotting home with ease for his first Stoke goal.
Just minutes later, the game was dead as a contest when Jones was bundled over by Cheik Tiote, and Danny Higginbotham fired the resulting free-kick through the wall and past a stranded Harper.
The visitors may have felt the decision to penalise Tiote was harsh, but they did themselves no favours afterwards with a poorly organised wall.
Those two goals killed the game as a contest, but things could have been very different had Newcastle kept their composure.
Although they trailed to Jon Walters' well-taken header from Pennant's cross, Newcastle were actually the better side after they went behind on 28 minutes.
However, despite pushing forward they failed to seriously test Asmir Begovic in the Stoke goal, with perhaps their best chance falling to Shola Ameobi who bizarrely opted to chest a flicked-on ball, when it seemed to be at the perfect height for a header.
If Newcastle manager Alan Pardew had hoped his side would persevere in this fashion during the second half, then he wouldn't have entertained that idea for any more than five minutes, with his side barely having chance to get the ball into the Stoke half before they were three down.
Newcastle did push on gamely even when the match had gone, but they never looked like mounting a comeback, despite Nile Ranger and Joey Barton drawing good saves from Begovic.
The away side looked better after they switched from 5-3-2 to 4-4-2, but by then it was too late and Stoke were more than happy to let Newcastle pass the ball around, content in the knowledge that they were totally in control of things.
Stoke put the icing on the cake in stoppage time, when Begovic's clearance was flicked on into the path of Ricardo Fuller who provided a good first-time finish from just inside the box.
The scoreline may have flattered Stoke a little, but they were good value for their win which will go a long way to securing their Premier League safety.
For Newcastle fans, the worry is that their recent lack of flair and creativity has now been supplemented by the defensive frailties that have so often haunted them in the past.