STOKE CITY FC 2 FULHAM 0
Murphy really isn't a number one favourite in Stoke.He was his usual annoying,niggling self in this game.Pushing,pulling,fouling,in the refs ear, but not in his book until late on,despite his various misdemeanors throughout.Others,on both sides,were booked for far less far sooner.
The first half was largely a stalemate,punctuated with a few bursts of of class football.Probably the best chance came just before halftime,when Pennant ran at the Fulham rearguard,played an exquisite one two with Crouch,shimmied past Hangeland,but unfortunately dinked the ball wide of Schwarzer's left post.
The second half saw Stoke increase the pace and pressure,and Fulham show less and less ambition.Crucially Murphy's antics wound the home crowd up,and Stoke really went for it,riding the wave of noise.Fulham visibly wilted.
The last ten minutes saw Stoke secure the pointswith two fine goals.First a Pennant cross from the right was headed back by Crouch to Etherington.His shot was going wide until well placed Jon Walters stabbed the ball home.Three minutes from the end Etherington was fouled by Baird out on the left.His freekick was headed home majestically by Delap,coming in from the right.This put the result beyond doubt,the points lifting us to 7th in the Premiership table.
Our defence looked solid with Upson and Shawcross at the centre.Begovic had virtually nothing to do,his biggest worry,watching Riise's freekick smack against the crossbar,before we scored our first goal.Pennant and Etherington looked much better than of late,though Crouch seemed a little quieter.