STOKE CITY FC 2 EVERTON 0
Some change around in just a couple of days.Against Fulham Stoke treated us to a lethargic start,and a fitful performance.Facing a good Everton side we were strong from the off,the old Stoke,never allowing our visitors to settle on the ball,organised under pressure,and this time taking the chances that came our way.
Kenwyne Jones looked back to his lively best again,especially teamed from the start with Ricardo Fuller.Our Jamaican ace was a constant thorn in Everton's side,unsettling and upsetting them time and again.The mystery was how he failed to notch a hattrick.On several occasions he manoeuvred himself into dangerous positions only for his final touch to let him down,or to drag his shot wide of goal.
Danny Higginbotham deputised ably for the suspended Huth,getting in goal saving blocks,the most notable being right on halftime when he deflected Pienaar's goal bound shot up and over the crossbar.The back four as a whole,well marshalled by captain Ryan Shawcross, hardly put a foot wrong.Delap and Whitehead worked tirelessly back and to in the midfield.
Neither Pennant nor Etherington were as electric as we know they can be.But Ethers did manage one really telling contribution.He wriggled between two defenders out on the left before putting in a delightful cross which Jones headed home for our opener (23 mins).
We had to wait until the 69th minute for our second goal.Jones headed a long ball on hopefully.Fuller challenged for the ball,sufficiently pressuring defender Jagielka that he played the ball into the roof of his own net from just a few yards out.
Stoke then set about protecting the lead,securing an excellent result,which saw us move up to 8th in the table.