Stoke set out to reach the competition semi-final - for the first time in 37 years -showing their intentions by fielding a stronger team than in earlier rounds.In the Derby side Kris Commons was making a return to the Brit on a very cold wintery night.Derby were steamrollered by Burnley on Saturday, going 3 goals down in the first 10 minutes.
Stoke started brightly enough but in the first 20 minutes there was not much quality football, though The Potters looked dangerous on the break.They had two opportunities to deploy Rory Delap's threatening throws but Derby defended against them well.As in a number of games this season Stoke lacked guile in the midfield, someone to play a penetrating through ball to set Fuller or Sidibe free on goal.As on Saturday Stoke created/were gifted a number of half chances but were not able to convert.
On 36 minutes Cresswell had the ball in the net from Fuller's pass, but the goal was chalked off by ref Rob Styles seemingly for handball by Creswell.Despite their pressure The Potters did not force a single save from Carroll in the Derby goal. Just on halftime Connolly blocked a goal bound Sidibe shot.
Immediately after the break Kris Commons header rattled the Stoke bar.If a wake up call was needed for the home team this was it, and Stoke certainly upped their effort for a while. Ricardo Fuller was denied a run on goal by a Derby sliding tackle.A headed on ball reached Fuller,but he powered his header over the goal when he should have done better.This was followed by a powerful Commons shot which fortunately was deflected up over the goal for a corner.
Following a Connolly foul on Sidibe Whelan's free kick was cleared for a corner.Shortly after, Sidibe blew an excellent chance from 7 yards out.Derby then were out of luck when a corner was headed across goal by Addison, hitting the Stoke post before going away safely for a goalkick.Then Sidibe's header from a Whelan freekick was brilliantly saved by keeper Carroll.Fuller's follow up was cleared over the bar by a Derby defender.
A tricky Fuller turn was stopped on the edge of the box. From Whelan's splendid freekick Carroll expertly palmed the ball away for a corner.The corner saw Fuller head over the bar.With 3 minutes added time being played the second of two Delap throws dropped to Sidibe who shot over the bar.Ref Styles controversially awarded a penalty to Derby for handball against Griffin. This was converted by Nathan Ellington with 30 seconds to go.
No coming back from that........