Winning at the Britannia Stadium is difficult. It's difficult for Stoke City because they're not actually very good, and it's difficult for the visiting team because Stoke generally refuses to play football, instead indulging in how I imagine Calvinball would look if Calvin was about three times as tall and a thirtieth as bright and Hobbes was even more prone to violent assault. Yes, that metaphor is more strained than the muscles in Rory Delap's neck as he bombs throw-ins towards the opposition box. You'll live.
Anyway, Newcastle United got off to the perfect start, ignoring the whole 'let's not play football' routine to go ahead inside twelve minutes through the figure of Demba Ba, who latched onto Gabriel Obertan's cross to head past Asmir Begovic to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. They'd make it two before the half was up, with Ba at the end of another cross - this time delivered by Leon Best.
Stoke nearly got back into the game thanks to Mike Dean, who bizarrely called a mild tussle between Ba and Peter Crouch a Stoke penalty, but even though Jonathan Walters converted it (a very well-taken penalty, actually) Dean made up for his mistake by deciding that Leon Best falling over in the opposite box was also worth a spot kick, and Ba, on a hat trick, stepped up to make it three*.
*It was a perfect hat trick, actually, one header, one right footed shot and one left footed.
The brief renaissance Stoke had enjoyed after cutting Newcastle's lead in half was destroyed by Ba's third goal, and the game petered out in fairly tame fashion. Tame for Stoke, I mean. Newcastle go to third with the 3-1 win.