Ba treble lifts Toon to third

2011-11-01 06:49

Stoke - Demba Ba scored a hattrick to give Newcastle a 3-1 win over Stoke on Monday and make sure his team remained unbeaten in the Premier League.

Ba put the visitors ahead 2-0 by halftime before handing Stoke a lifeline by bringing down Peter Crouch in the area, with Jonathan Walters pulling a goal back from the spot in the 75th. However, Newcastle was given its own penalty from a similar situation just five minutes later, and Ba converted the spot kick to put the game beyond reach with a low shot into the left corner.

The victory puts Newcastle in third place with 22 points from 10 games, six points behind leader Manchester City - and just one behind second-place Manchester United.

Ba was close to joining Stoke from Hoffenheim in January, but the club pulled out of the deal after he failed a medical exam - and the Senegal striker made sure to show them what they missed out on.

Ba scored the opener on a quick counterattack in the 12th minute after goalkeeper Tim Krul's long kick was headed on by Leon Best to Gabriel Obertan, who found space behind left-back Marc Wilson. The Frenchman's cross into the six-yard area picked out Ba, who expertly twisted his body to head the ball back inside the near post.

Krul almost gifted the home side an equaliser when he dropped Andy Wilkinson's high cross, but he made up for it with a diving catch to hang on to Matt Etherington's left-foot volley from outside the penalty area.

Ba then doubled the lead five minutes before the interval, tapping the ball in from close range after Best's attempted shot from the right of the penalty area turned into a perfect cross.

Stoke improved after the break, but needed some help from Ba for its goal as well. The striker bumped into Crouch from behind when challenging for a ball in front of goal, and the England forward went down lightly. Walters made no mistake from the spot, thumping a hard shot close to the centre of goal.

However, Ba's fortunes turned again after referee Mike Dean whistled for an even lighter push by Robert Huth on Best in Stoke's area, and the Senegal striker drilled home from the spot for his eighth league goal of the season.