NEWCASTLE, Sept 17 — Jamaal Lascelles was Newcastle’s star once again as the Magpies captain sealed a 2-1 win over Stoke at St James’ Park yesterday.
Lascelles struck with a second half header to give Newcastle a third successive Premier League victory for the first time since November 2014.
It was the perfect way for Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez, recovered from a post-operation infection, to celebrate his return to the dugout after he missed Lascelles scoring the winner at Swansea last weekend.
Christian Atsu had fired Newcastle ahead before Stoke’s Xherdan Shaqiri levelled after the interval.
Newcastle took the lead with 19 minutes gone courtesy of a flowing move which began when Mikel Merino fed Isaac Hayden.
Hayden slid the ball out to Matt Ritchie, whose cross evaded the Stoke defence and found Atsu to slot home at the far post.
The Magpies might have extended their lead within three minutes, but Lascelles directed his glancing header from a Ritchie corner just wide.
Newcastle goalkeeper Rob Elliot had to claw Shaqiri’s curling effort out of his top corner with the Potters threatening a swift response.
Elliot also managed to beat away Shaqiri’s powerfully-struck 51st-minute snapshot.
But there was nothing Elliott could do to deny Shaqiri six minutes later when he drilled a low effort past the keeper’s out-stretched arm and into the bottom corner.
Elliot did come to Newcastle’s rescue with 64 minutes gone when he turned away Mame Biram Diouf’s goal-bound header from Shaqiri’s cross.
And Newcastle regained the lead four minutes later when Lascelles met Ritchie’s corner with an unstoppable header. — AFP