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Match Reports

STOKE 2 TOWN 0

8 December 2018

Two quality goals give Potters the points

Town matched the Potters for long periods but two moments of quality proved the difference.

Jack Lankester had demonstrated his promise, twice going close in the first-half but on the stroke of half-time Tom Ince finished off a flowing move with the opener.

Blues started the second-half on the front foot but on the hour Wales international Joe Allen put the home side in command with a classy finish after another slick move.

Jordan Roberts was inches away from a lifeline for Town but Stoke held on without too many alarms.

Town made five changes to the side that went down at Forest last weekend, including a return in goal for Dean Gerken and a first start under Paul Lambert for Jon Nolan.

Gerken was immediately in the action to clear a Jonas Knudsen backpass as Benik Afobe closed him down, the Stoke striker then almost capitalised on a misunderstanding between Matt Pennington and the Town ‘keeper but couldn’t force the ball home, with the Potters players and fans calling for a penalty without any success.

Trevoh Chalobah cleared from Ince’s cross as Stoke looked for an opener, Joe Allen and Ince combining soon after but again Town held firm, while at the other end Freddie Sears found some space down the left but his cross was cleared.



Saido Berahino fizzed a shot just wide but Blues rallied at the other end, Jack Butland was at full stretch to punch clear from Lankester’s corner, the teenager just wide at the near post then Luke Chambers went close at the far post.
Ince fired over, Sears doing the same at the other end as Town began to get a foothold in the game, Roberts then sending a left footer wide.

Lankester was just off target with a curler as Blues matched the Potters blow for blow, the home fans becomingly increasingly frustrated before the first change of the game saw referee Geoff Eltringham replaced by the fourth official.

It took a moment of quality right on half-time to put Stoke ahead, the best move of the opening 45 minutes ending with Ince sliding the ball into the net.

Lankester got the second-half underway with another terrific delivery from a free-kick, Ashley Williams clearing, the Academy graduate then winning another free-kick on the edge of the box that was deflected to safety.

Butland saved from Flynn Downes as Town started the half well, although Gerken had to be alert to keep out Allen at his nearpost.   

Butland grabbed Downes’ cross at the second attempt before Stoke put daylight between the teams with another moment of Premier League quality, Allen finishing superbly after Erik Pieters had set him up on the hour.

Ince threatened an immediate third but Pennington made the block before Town made a first change with Lankester replaced by Gwion Edwards, the substitute picking up a booking inside two minutes.    

Chalobah was high and wide with a 20 yarder as he looked to get Blues back in the game, Stoke showing their strength in depth with Republic of Ireland international James McClean replacing Ince.

Roberts was inches wide with a left footer from the angle, Andre Dozzell joining the action with Nolan making way, followed by Ellis Harrison for Roberts.

Town kept pressing for a lifeline but Gary Rowett’s side saw the game out to maintain their push for the Play-Offs and make it four defeats on the spin for Blues.  

Stoke: Butland, Pieters, Allen, Williams, Ince (McClean 70), Afobe (Crouch 89), Shawcross, Berahino, Clucas (Fletcher 89), Martina, Woods. Subs not used: Federeci, Martins Indi, Diouf, Sorensen.

Town: Gerken, Spence, Chambers, Pennington, Knudsen, Chalobah, Downes, Nolan (Dozzell 71), Lankester (Edwards 64), Sears, Roberts (Harrison 80). Subs not used: Bialkowski, Bishop, Rowe, Nsiala. Booked: Edwards.

Att: 24, 694


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