A tale of two strikers in the Battle of Britannia as Carroll shines again
There was a positive vibe in the air on the way out of the Britannia Stadium but it could still have been so different had it not been for the hunger and desire of Geordie boy Andy Carroll.
The big striker answered our prayers when he leapt off the bench then climbed higher than anybody else to power home a big, big goal that could yet spark a great escape for Newcastle United.
Carroll was clearly up for it and is determined to succeed where plenty of others have failed at St James's Park.
And his approach to the game was a stark contrast to that of Obafemi Martins who left boss Alan Shearer mystified after complaining of a groin injury at 11am ahead of the game.
That meant a re-jig in tactics and while Shola Ameobi, in my opinion, didn't pull up any trees at Stoke, Gateshead lad Andy Carroll more than made up for it.
With the benefit of hindsight, perhaps Carroll should have been introduced earlier.
But on the other hand, Stoke had worked their way into a comfort zone and with 20 minutes left probably thought the game was petering out into their favour.
Well, Newcastle certainly gave them plenty of reasons to feel that way.
Yet Carroll's appearance turned the game upside down from their point of view.
His third goal in a black and white shirt after endless reserve strikes also showed there is much more to come from the big lad.
Watching reserve team football can be a difficult game at times and no matter how well people play in the second string, there is always that nagging doubt at the back of your mind 'can they cut the cloth at first team level?', in Carroll's case it's beginning to look like he can.
Those who don't go to the reserve games are yet to see him unleash his left peg.
A left peg that Iain Dowie described to me the other day as a "rocket launcher", and he's right.
Certainly in reserve games Carroll showed his potential from the word go.
The physical striker gave ex-Everton man and Scotland international David Weir a torrid time at the start of his stint with the big boys a couple of years ago and Weir left Kingston Park asking "who the hell was that?", Carroll made an impact.
Looking back he was more nervous as a teenager doing an interview in the Chronicle down a drafty tunnel at KP but the scary but heart warming thing for Toon fans is, Carroll is still growing.
He still has the potential to go on and be a real star.
We've had plenty of false dawns when it comes to local talent coming through, especially strikers, Brayson, Robinson and Chopra to name a few.
But Carroll has plenty more to unleash from his locker.
And with Alan Shearer in charge, could there be a better man to nurture him through a crucial stage of his development?