PETER Crouch denied Newcastle United a victory with a dramatic 90th-minute equaliser at St James’s Park this afternoon.
The Stoke City striker’s late strike cancelled out a goal from Jack Colback earlier in the half.
Crouch beat Tim Krul with a looping header after meeting a deep right-wing cross from Geoff Cameron.
The 34-year-old substitute had scored the only goal of the game in the meeting between the two sides at the Britannia Stadium in September.
Head coach John Carver had named an unchanged United team, and his side had the better of a stop-start first half punctuated by a series of calls from referee Kevin Friend that angered, in turn, both sets of fans on a chilly Tyneside afternoon at St James’s Park.
Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic did well to stop an 11th minute header from Remy Cabella, who met a left-wing cross from Moussa Sissoko.
And Cabella almost got to a cross from Massadio Haidara midway through the half as United found some momentum.
Begovic dived at the feet of Sissoko as the half-hour mark approached – the midfielder had played a clever one-two with Perez – and Newcastle had another chance in the 43rd minute.
Cabella set away Perez, but the forward’s shot across goal bounced just wide of the left-hand post.
United goalkeeper Krul – who had had little to do – stopped a diving header frok Mame Biram Diouf before the break.
Stoke improved after the interval, and Carver replaced Vurnon Anita with Papiss Demba Cisse, and Gabriel Obertan followed him on to the field, replacing Cabella in the 69th minute to muted boos around the stadium.
The breakthrough finally came in the 75th minute thanks to Colback, who drilled a low shot into the bottom left-hand corner after Sissoko rolled the ball to him in the box.
Minutes earlier, Colback had narrowly escaped a second yellow card for a foul on Victor Moses.
But Crouch had the last word, beating Krul with a lofted far post header from a cross from fellow substitute Cameron.
And Newcastle remain 11th in the Premier League table ahead of Wednesday night’s meeting with Crystal Palace – and former manager Alan Pardew – at Selhurst Park.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Krul; Janmaat, Coloccini, Williamson, Haidara; Sissoko, Anita (Cisse, 65), Colback; Cabella (Obertan, 69), Perez, Ameobi (Abeid, 86). Subs not used: Woodman, Dummett, Gouffran, Riviere.
STOKE CITY: Begovic; Bardsley, Muniesa, Wollscheid, Wilson (Cameron, 51); Whelan, Nzonzi; Walters, Ireland (Crouch, 82), Moses; Diouf. Subs not used: Butland, Wilkinson, Palacios, Adam, Sidwell.
Goals: Colback 75, Crouch 90
Bookings: Moses 15, Ireland 23, Whelan 33, Ameobi 35, Colback 53, Muniesa 89
Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicester)