Erik Pieters' first Premier League goal secured a 1-0 win for Stoke City as they condemned Newcastle United to a fourth straight defeat.
The Dutchman found the net when his over-hit cross from edge of area looped over the head of the stranded Tim Krul just before the break.
Peter Crouch should have extended the lead, spurning a flurry of headed chances, while Dan Gosling wasted Newcastle's best opening early on.
The result continues Stoke's impressive run at home, where they are now six unbeaten, while heaping more pressure on Newcastle manager Alan Pardew.
Despite a comfortable mid-table position, recent poor performances have left Pardew's future shrouded in uncertainty, with unrest growing among their supporters.
Newcastle came into Saturday's game in wretched form, having conceded 11 goals in a run of three consecutive defeats.
It is a far cry from the position they found themselves in after a 5-1 victory over Mark Hughes' side in December, when Newcastle moved up to sixth and just three points adrift of a UEFA Champions League berth.
And Pardew's men were almost behind inside 10 minutes at the Britannia Stadium. A teasing cross from Marko Arnautovic found Crouch inside the six-yard box but the striker's header hit the post.
Much had been made about the absence of Loic Remy beforehand, with Newcastle only managing one league goal without the Frenchman in their side this season.
However, the visitors were handed a golden chance to improve on that record two minutes later, when a Shola Ameobi flick-on found Gosling inside the area, only for the former Everton man to divert his effort over the bar.
Newcastle began to look more comfortable in possession, with both Ameobi and Papiss Cisse causing problems.
But the hosts responded after 26 minutes, when the lively Arnautovic teed up Steven N'Zonzi and then Peter Odemwingie two minutes later, but neither could hit the target.
And Stoke were rewarded for their efforts three minutes before the break in unlikely circumstances as Pieters' lofted cross from the left eluded everyone, floating over the head of international team-mate Krul and into the top corner of the net.
Arnautovic continued to provide a threat to the visitors and found Crouch again just after half-time, only for the towering striker to loop his header over the bar.
Crouch had another great opportunity just after the hour, getting ahead of Mike Williamson before heading Geoff Cameron's cross straight at Krul.
Adam Armstrong and Hatem Ben Arfa were thrown on for the visitors as they looked to unlock a resolute home defence, but Stoke remained the better side.
Arnautovic raced away once again down the left 15 minutes from time, before squaring to substitute Charlie Adam, who skewed his shot wide.
Vurnon Anita headed over for Newcastle late on after some good work from Ameobi as the visitors searched for an equaliser, but Stoke held on to move to within three points of Pardew's charges.
|3||E. Pieters||42' 87'|
|Coach: M. Hughes|
for S. Ireland 66'
for P. Odemwingie 87'
|Livermore: England hopes shouldn´t hinge on club side|
|MLS Preview: Tough tests for Conference leaders, Revolution still struggling|
|Mathieu not Barca material, says Marquez|
|West Brom claim unimpressive win in Sacramento|
|Neymar: Brazil behind Germany, Spain|
|Vietnamese police confirm match-fixing players|
|Lucescu blames Joorabchian for AWOL players|
|Robinho undecided on future|
|Rush: Still years left in Gerrard|
|Tiago re-signs with Atletico|
|Puyol against Spain overhaul|
|Agger considering his Liverpool future|
|Peruvian Primera Division Review: Juan Aurich bounce back, Melgar draw with Inti Gas|
|Bayern deny interest in Cuadrado|
|New signings on show in Hull double-header|
|Hooiveld strike sinks Swindon|
|Costa departs Valencia|
|Morata suffers knee injury in training|
|K.League Preview: Seoul, Sangju aim to close gap to sixth, Ulsan host Jeonbuk|
|Lewandowski off the mark on Bayern bow|
|Gerrard retirement will boost Liverpool - Carragher|
|World Cup bidding report due in September|
|Evra bids emotional farewell to United fans|
|J.League Preview: Ventforet Kofu look to escape drop zone, Sagan Tosu battle Kawasaki Frontale|
|Salah spared military service|
|Garcia would welcome Torres return|
|Livermore understands Ince decision|
|Cole happy to get away from English press|
|Evra seals Juve switch|
|Bayern stay was Kroos´ ´priority´|
|Scuffet: Udinese right place to continue developing|
|Gerrard retires from England duty|
|Ambitious Pochettino targets title|
|Aspas eager to put ´bad season´ behind him|
|Atletico Mineiro v Lanus: Visitors out to recover from first-leg loss|
|UEFA Europa League Preview: Sligo, Inter Baku out to finish shocks|
|Hughes expects Bojan decision soon|
|Cech on the mend - Holland|
|Pardew eager to honour crash victims|
|Prandelli hits back at critics|
|Negredo breaks metatarsal|
|Rooney eager to impress Van Gaal|
|Palacios´ Qatar move falls through|
|Wenger rules out striker signing|
|Six Shakhtar players refuse to return|
|Six Vietnamese footballers arrested for match fixing|
|Copa Libertadores Preview: Nacional Asuncion, San Lorenzo to host first legs|
|Mata hopeful of title|
|Napoli bullish about Scudetto chances|
|Colombian Primera A Review: Patriotas Boyaca, Deportes Tolima start with wins|
|Subotic thrilled to be back|
|Germain: Monaco can replace Rodriguez|
|Sullivan confident of Carroll improvement|
|Callejon staying put|
|DC United 3 Chivas USA 1: DC end Chivas´ winning run|
|Liga MX Review: Goalkeeping howler costs champions Leon, Monterrey move top|
|Chilean Primera Division Review: Huachipato, Santiago Wanderers opening-day winners|
|Brazilian Serie A Review: Internacional rout Flamengo, Cruzeiro win again|
|Prosinecki keen on South Korea job|
|Woodward promises new United signings|
|Chelsea´s Omeruo set for Middlesbrough return|
|Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying Review: Lesotho, Congo, Benin take first-leg leads|
|Ecuadorian Primera A Review: Deportivo Cuenco shock leaders Emelec, Independiente held|
|Rodriguez spotted in Madrid|
|Niang and Mastalli earn Milan win|
|Jutkiewicz at the double in Burnley rout|
|Crouch denies Gladbach victory|
|Hertha lead Biermann tributes|
|Vidic makes Inter bow in narrow victory|
|Rodriguez eager to leave Atletico|
|Thai Premier League Review: Buriram fail to close gap on Muang Thong, Chonburi gain ground|
|CSL Review: Guangzhou R&F take advantage as rivals Evergrande are held|
|Juventus and Lazio hold Astori talks|
|Lewandowski and Contento back in training|
|Sunderland target Borini joins Liverpool squad for US tour|
|K.League Review: Jeonbuk hammer Sangmu, Steelers march on|
|UEFA Champions League Preview: Buckley warns St Pat´s, Celtic primed to progress|
|Giaretta reveals Pereyra in demand|
|Kramer confirms Napoli talks|
|Nedved insists Juve key men going nowhere|
|Barton is a manager in the making - Redknapp|
|Monk unfazed from friendly setback|
|Holland: Lukaku not set to leave Chelsea|
|Debut nerves for Lambert|
|Woodward: Van Gaal will make United an attacking force|
|MLS Review: Sporting KC win again, Toronto held|
|Wenger: I´ll talk to Wilshere|
|Redknapp almost retired|
|Allardyce: Home form key for West Ham|
|Luis Enrique: ´We can´t draw conclusions yet´|
|Liverpool agree to sell Borini to Sunderland|
|Late Falque penalty spares Spurs blushes|
|Besler, Zusi agree Sporting KC contracts|