UNITED KINGDOM (AFP) - Newcastle United were plunged deeper into relegation trouble on Wednesday when a late goal from Xherdan Shaqiri allowed Stoke City to claim a 1-0 home win.
The defeat left Steve McClaren's side second from bottom of the Premier League and their night wasn't helped by seeing fellow strugglers Swansea snatch a shock 2-1 win at Arsenal to move six points clear of the drop zone.
Swiss international Shaqiri's goal came 10 minutes from time when his long-range shot, set-up by Mame Diouf, managed to evade Rob Elliot in the Newcastle goal.
It could have got worse for Newcastle, who have now lost six successive away games in the top flight, when Marko Arnautovic hit the crossbar in injury time but the three points comfortably left Stoke in the top half of the table.
In a rousing finish, Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland kept out a Seydou Doumbia attempt with a fine one-handed save.
Newcastle were playing for the first time since their 5-1 thumping at Chelsea last month.
McClaren's side were whisked off to Spain for some winter sun training which was in stark contrast to the freezing rain which swept across Britannia Stadium on Wednesday.
Jonjo Shelvey took over the captaincy after Fabricio Coloccini was ruled out through injury while Jamaal Lascelles was handed just a second Premier League start.
In contrast, Mark Hughes named the same team which won 2-1 against Aston Villa at the weekend.
To add to Stoke's joy, former England striker Peter Crouch came on as a substitute to make his 400th Premier League appearance.
Stoke were on top for large parts of the first half with Elliot twice having to thwart the dangerous Shaqiri.
Moussa Sissoko had Newcastle's best opportunity from a rare attack but Geoff Cameron slid in with a final tackle.
Stoke continued to dominate after the interval but were breathing a sigh of relief when Butland kept out Doumbia from Shelvey's cross in the dying seconds.