Stoke up to 8th after beating Norwich

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Stoke City beat Norwich City 1-0 at the Britannia Stadium after a second half goal from Matthew Etherington was enough to separate the sides.

Stoke started well and the aerial threat of Peter Crouch caused the away side problems in defence but the score remained goalless as Norwich dealt with the danger well.

Jonathon Walters had the best chance of the game in the 25th minute when he was played into the box by Dean Whitehead but the Republic of Ireland striker was denied by Norwich ‘keeper John Ruddy.

Robert Huth shot wide after being teed up by Walters on the half hour mark and a minute later Norwich’s first chance of the game came when Anthony Pilkington’s free kick found Grant Holt at the back post but his header went straight at Stoke ‘keeper Asmir Begovic.

Norwich were poor for much of the first half but started to grow in confidence as their midfield got hold of the ball but it was Stoke who ended the half on a high.

Ruddy came to the rescue for Norwich yet again in the last few minutes of the first half when he pulled off a brilliant point-blank save as Peter Crouch looked certain to open the scoring.

Stoke started the second half as they did the first; in command of the game with Norwich on the back foot but the home side still could not get on the score sheet.

Tony Pulis shuffled his deck with 20 minutes remaining and brought on Cameron Jerome and Kenwyne Jones for Walters and Crouch, and within two minutes of those substitutions Stoke got the goal they were looking for.

Etherington picked up the ball from a flicked on header from Jerome before his shot beat Ruddy with a strike the Norwich ‘keeper will feel he should have done better with.

The goal wasn’t without controversy however, as the throw in which resulted in the goal was initially rewarded to Norwich before the referee over-ruled his assistant’s decision.

The rest of the game was all Stoke as they searched for the second goal and Jerome should have found the back of the net in the 84th minute but his effort was blocked by Elliot Ward.

Norwich had a flurry of late half-chances but could not really trouble Begovic and the game ended with Stoke as deserved winners.

Norwich slip to 10th in the league as their loss means back-to-back defeats for Paul Lambert’s side and Stoke leap frog them into 8th in the league table.


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