Williamson puts Ben Arfa's goal above Crouch's

The Northern Echo: Williamson puts Ben Arfa's goal above Crouch's Williamson puts Ben Arfa's goal above Crouch's

TODAY'S game between Newcastle and Stoke features two players vying for the Goal of the Season honours, but Magpies centre-half Mike Williamson is in no doubt as to which strike should win.

When Peter Crouch volleyed home a spectacular opener against Manchester City last month, he looked certain to claim top spot in the end-of-season rankings.

But a rival emerged when Hatem Ben Arfa dribbled from inside his own half to slot past Bolton goalkeeper Adam Bogdan two weeks ago, and Williamson believes the Frenchman's finish has the edge.

"It's got to be Hatem's," said the Newcastle defender. "We were speaking about that the other day and I said you had to give it to Hatem.

"Maybe that's a biased opinion, but the amount he had to do with the ball was just phenomenal. He showed his pace and touch.

"I'll tell Peter that. His goal was great, but the close control Hatem showed, the change to his body weight was fantastic. He started off in his own half and just went straight down the park. It was phenomenal to watch."

Newcastle need three points this afternoon to aid their push for a Champions League place, with fourth-placed Tottenham due to face QPR in the evening kick-off.

There are also more personal reasons for Williamson to covet a victory over Stoke, as his father is a fan of another Potteries side, Port Vale.

"I was born in Stoke, but we moved very early," he said. "I'm actually a Port Vale fan, or at least my Dad's a Vale fan so I've picked that up from him.

"We moved when I was very young and really, I class myself from Torquay. I was born in Hanley, but couldn't actually give you any directions in that area.

"I think I was five when we left. But it would definitely be nice to win for my dad, and we still owe them for last season when we played down there (and lost 4-0)."

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