Powerful Jones proved a talismanic figure for Stoke as the second half unfolded
By Chris Whyatt
Plucky Stoke grabbed an unlikely away win thanks to James Perch's unlucky late own goal in a match that finally sprang into life at St James' Park.
Kevin Nolan's penalty put Newcastle ahead after a rash Robert Huth error.
But the visitors radically improved in the second half as Kenwyne Jones finally headed home after hitting the woodwork twice in rapid succession.
With both sides pressing for a late winner, Stoke's got the break when youngster Perch accidentally nodded in.
In truth, Newcastle - who came into the match off the back of stunning away wins at Everton and Chelsea - will consider themselves unfortunate to lose, but Tony Pulis' Stoke team were rewarded for adopting a far more ambitious attacking policy after the break.
Pulis disappointed with Newcastle play acting
Their first away points of the season looked unthinkable in a first 45 minutes when neither set of players charged forth in search of a swashbuckling victory, although the hosts clearly had control.
But their team-mates were not quite on the same wavelength.
Wayne Routledge had a decent opportunity to bring the ball down in the box and get a shot off, but his touch was not sharp enough.
With a strangely subdued Stoke sitting back, Chris Hughton's Newcastle won a series of free-kicks in threatening areas.
And although former Marseille winger Ben Arfa was wayward, Nolan's positioning took the eye as he stood behind the wall facing away from his team-mate while staring down the goalkeeper as he waiting hungrily to pounce on any potential rebound.
At the other end, stranded on his own up front, former Sunderland striker Jones was roundly booed every time he touched the ball and struggled initially to exert any influence.
And with a dearth of chances strangling the contest, it took a glaring Stoke mistake to break the deadlock.
With Thomas Sorenson set to easily collect Jose Enrique's deep 40th-minute cross, Huth felled the statuesque Newcastle forward Andy Carroll with an unceremonious body-check which had referee Michael Jones pointing to the spot without hesitation.
Nolan got his reward for the diligence he had showcased and sent Sorenson, another former Sunderland star, the wrong way without fuss.
The visitors may have been given their own penalty just before the break but referee Jones was unmoved when Barton barged into the back of Matthew Etherington as he shaped to shoot, the left-footer declining to fall to the floor.
Pulis wasted no time in going for broke just after half-time, bringing the ineffective midfielder Salif Diao off for forward
and sending Rory Delap on for Glenn Whelan.
And the move paid off as - completely reinvigorated and with a refreshed attitude - they strung some snappy passes together to carve out a decent chance for Ryan Shawcross, who headed wide in the 53rd minute when he might have done better.
From a standing jump, Jones showed his captain how to connect better on the hour mark as he legally shoved Fabricio Coloccini aside to crack a header against the post after Jon Walters' headed knock-on.
Jones was then unlucky to crash another header against the crossbar following Dean Whitehead's expert free-kick.
Set-piece errors costly - Hughton
But the Trinidad & Tobago striker was finally celebrating a crucial equaliser in the 67th minute when Huth, atoning for his earlier error, cleverly headed back across goal to leave Stoke's club-record £8m signing with the simple task of nodding in unmarked from six yards.
Sorensen then saved Carroll's determined 70th-minute volley at the second attempt under pressure from Nolan as the home fans roared on their team after the almost-silent slumbers of the first half.
But the cruel twist in the tale came five minutes from time when Perch put a header past Premier League debutant Tim Krul to condemn his side to their second straight home defeat.
Newcastle manager Chris Hughton: "We were up against a hard-running, very physical side in Stoke who certainly put themselves about.
"We knew this was going to be a tough season and we knew it is a season where we are probably going to lose more games than we win.
"I am realistic enough to know where we are at this moment."
Stoke boss Tony Pulis: "For all Newcastle's play in the first half, apart from the penalty, I don't think they made [goalkeeper] Thomas Sorensen do a lot.
"Having said that, there was no excuse for the way we played. But I thought we were better in the second half.
"I was really disappointed when one of the Newcastle players went down and, I think, simulated an injury. Three passes later, he jumped up and was running around as if nothing had happened."
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