Demba raises the Ba for high-flying Magpies

NEWCASTLE striker Demba Ba gave Stoke a taste of what they missed out on with a hat-trick as the Magpies won 3-1 to move within a point of second-placed Manchester United.

The Senegal international would have been a Potters player in January as he had already agreed a move from Hoffenheim before the club pulled the plug on the move after he failed their medical.

Ba always rejected the suggestion he was not fit and subsequently joined West Ham before making his way to St James’ Park in the summer after their relegation. The 26-year-old arrived at the Britannia Stadium with a point to prove and he certainly did that as the visitors registered their first league victory at Stoke since 1985 and inflicted only the hosts’ second home defeat in 2011.

He added: “Today I am very happy to score a hat-trick here because it is a place you come and struggle.

“It’s very important when you have strikers who can run and defend.

“Today we did our best but the team at the back were very strong.”

Of the Potters fans who made jeered him last night, Ba said: “If they want to boo they should boo their board.”

Ba refused to look too far ahead despite Newcastle’s position in the table, saying: “We are just in the first 10 games so it’s a long way to go.”

Ba struck twice in the first half to give his side a comfortable lead.

Newcastle’s 12th-minute opener would not have looked out of place in the Stoke coaching manual.

Goalkeeper Tim Krul’s kick was headed on by Best to Obertan, who found space behind left-back Marc Wilson.

The Frenchman’s inviting cross into the six-yard area picked out Ba who expertly twisted his body to head the ball back inside the near post.

The Magpies doubled their lead five minutes before the interval when Upson could only help Fabricio Coloccini’s lofted pass on to Best on the right of the penalty area and he crossed low for Ba to tap in.

Although Ireland’s Jonathan Walters pulled one back with from the spot with 15 minutes remaining, Newcastle restored their two-goal cushion with a penalty of their own.

It took Ba’s tally to eight goals in his last five Barclays Premier League matches and extended his side’s unbeaten start to the season as they moved up to third.

STOKE: Begovic, Wilkinson, Shawcross (Upson 19), Woodgate, Wilson (Huth 41), Pennant, Delap, Whelan, Etherington (Jones 68), Walters, Crouch.

NEWCASTLE: Krul, Simpson, Steven Taylor, Coloccini, Ryan Taylor, Obertan, Guthrie (Gosling 90), Cabaye (Perch 78), Gutierrez, Best (Sammy Ameobi 86), Ba.

Ref: Mike Dean (Wirral).

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