Stoke City 2-0 Bolton Wanderers
Potters see off Trotters
Goals from Higginbotham and Etherington saw Stoke easily beat Bolton in this mid table clash. Goals either side of half time were enough for Stoke to take all three points which see’s them go 8th in the Barclays Premier League.
Stoke went into the game with some recent shaky home form with previous defeats against Fulham and Blackpool. The Potters were also out for revenge over Bolton who took all three points earlier in the season at The Reebok, this was never going to be a classic despite both teams healthy league positions.
The first half was one of few chances but plenty of midfield battles and hard challenges. Bolton were bolstered by the return of midfielder Stuart Holden but they were second best throughout the afternoon. Pulis kept faith with Tuncay and in the eighth minute that faith was nearly re-paid when he skipped down the right past Knight but his cross come shot neither tested or troubled Jaaskelainen.
Tuncay then floated over a cross in the thirteenth minute but it was too deep for Jones, Tuncay then had a snap shot from outside the box easily saved and then Tuncay tested Jaaskelainen from distance with a chip but he was equal to it.
This was a good spell by Stoke with Huth heading narrowly over the bar in the twenty forth minute following a Delap special. Stoke almost took the lead in the 26th minute after Bolton defender Cahill lost his bearings and whipped a cross from Tuncay over his own bar. From Etherington's corner, Huth escaped his marker, only to head wide of the post.
Stoke should have been 1-0 up when Whitehead whipped over a cross from the right and perfectly picked out an unmarked Jones but he hit his effort into the ground and Jaaskelainen tipped over.
Bolton very rarly threatened in the first half and the best they could muster up was a Holden shot from about 30 yards which went well wide in the thirty second minute. Huth and Shawcross looked more than comfortable at the back with very little Bolton pressure just the usual hustle and bustle from Davies.
Stoke’s pressure finally paid off in the thirty seventh minute when Tuncay’s corner made its way over to the far post where Higginbotham prodded it over the line despite Bolton claiming it hadn’t crossed the line the goal was given.
Bolton were better after the break and could have drawn level, but Begovic was equal to Holden's 20-yard free-kick. Shortly after, Davies did utilise his physicality to muscle his way to a touch on Taylor's corner, but the sting was taken out of it by a melee of surrounding players and Begovic saved with ease.
With Bolton pushing on they were caught short in the sixty second minute when Tuncay released Etherington down the right and his pace saw him race into the penalty before Knight brought him down for a penalty and a yellow card.
Tuncay and Etherington seemed to both want to take the penalty but it was Etherington who grabbed the ball first and wasn’t going to let go. He stepped up and dispatched the penalty despite Jaaskelainen getting finger tips and touching it onto the post the ball treacled in. Etheringtons forth goal of the season seemingly putting the game beyond Bolton.
Stoke were well worth their lead and Tuncay & Etherington continued to cause the visitors problems with some neat touches.
Bolton never really looked liked getting back into the game and the only chance they could create was a drive from the edge of the area from Taylor.
Tunacy nearly got a goal his performance deserved in the eighty forth minute when he cut into the area but his shot was wayward and well wide.
Pulis said after the game:
"The conditions were difficult for the players but I think there was some great football produced by both teams.
"The lads have gone out there, got three points and now we move on.
"We've got 16 games to go and we've got to get to 40 points as quick as possible."
Man of the Match: Tuncay, stellar performance ashame he couldn’t get a goal to top it off.
Stoke: Begovic, Wilkinson, Huth, Shawcross, Higginbotham, Delap, Whitehead, Wilson (Whelan 71), Etherington (Pugh 88), Tuncay, Jones (Walters 81)
Subs: Sorenson, Collins, Faye, Pennant
Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Robinson, Cahil, Knight, Ricketts, Muamba (Moreno 66), Taylor (Petrov 66), Holden (Cohen 83), Davies, Elmander, Davies
Subs: Bogdan, Alonso, Blake
Capo's Match Report: Stoke 2-0 Bolton
Stoke City 2-0 Bolton Wanderers