STOKE CITY FC 1 NORWICH CITY 0
Two successive solid ,if unspectacular home wins see The Mighty Potters return to 8th place in the Premiership.With 36 points in the bag and 11 matches to play we look to be in for another season at the top table,barring major disasters,and miracle runs from the teams below us.
Like Swansea last week Norwich did not really have a look in,though they were much more streetwise than the Welshmen.Pushing,shoving,niggling in the best Stoke fashion,it looked increasingly as if The Canaries would escape with a point,despite Stoke creating a number of good chances.
Our play was creative at times,but our finishing was far from clinical.Three really good chances spring to mind from the first half.Walters,trying hard and with some nice linking touches (but still looking tired in my view) was unfortunate with a strong shot.Some fine one two interplay put Whitehead in,clear on goal,but he scuffed a weak shot,which the Norwich keeper had little trouble saving.Crouch was given a rough ride by the Norwich defenders,throughout his time on the pitch.He found himself free just the once in the 6 yard box.He rifled a fine shot,which most days would bring him a goal.On this occasion he was frustrated as the keeper pulled off a brilliant reflex save.
The second half saw mounting Potter pressure,but again mounting frustration.Something of a stalemate,until Manager Pulis rang the changes upfront,replacing Walters and Crouch with Jerome and Jones.From a disputed Stoke throw in on the left,Jerome nodded the ball into Etherington's path.He powered into the Norwich box,eluding two defenders,before lashing the ball left footed into the net past Ruddy at his near post.
Still Stoke were not finished.Receiving the ball on the right Kenwyne Jones fed a superb ball to Jerome,in centrefield.Had the striker hit the ball with his left foot he may have converted the chance,but as he tried desperately to get the ball onto his right foot for a shot he was closed down.