NEWCASTLE boss Alan Pardew saluted "awful" striker Papiss Cisse after watching him snatch a dramatic 2-1 victory over Stoke yesterday.
The 27-year Senegal international claimed three points with his ninth goal of an indifferent season by his standards to complete a comeback which eased the Magpies into 13th place in the Premier League table.
Newcastle are now level on points with Fulham in 10th and, perhaps more importantly, nine clear of the relegation zone.
Pardew said: "Papiss, I think, would be the first to tell you he was awful today. He didn't do anything, really, to influence other than doing well on some defensive issues for us.
"But then the moment comes. It's an eye-of-the-needle pass from (substitute Sylvain) Marveaux, which he has (in his game). The ball pops up and most strikers would snatch at that. But he let it come all the way down and finished it and in the 92nd minute, that's not easy to do, trust me."
Newcastle were the better side on the day, but struggled to open Stoke up despite enjoying the lion's share of the possession, and found themselves behind with just 23 minutes remaining.
Republic of Ireland striker Jonathan Walters confidently blasted a penalty past keeper Rob Elliot.
But Newcastle were back in it within six minutes when, after Stoke midfielder Glenn Whelan had compounded a poor pass by tripping Moussa Sissoko on the edge of the box, Yohan Cabaye curled home an inch-perfect free-kick off the underside of the crossbar.