Potters in comfortable win
Wanderers waste late chances as City make them pay
By Hayley Paterson. Last Updated: 15/01/11 5:51pm
Opener: Higginbotham celebrates his first of the season
Danny Higginbotham scored his first goal of the season and Matthew Etherington added another from the penalty spot as Stoke beat an industrious Bolton side 2-0 at the Britannia Stadium.
The full-back scrambled home a Tuncay corner at the far post after Jussi Jaaskelainen failed to hold on to the defender's goalbound stab.
Zat Knight then went into the book for a late second-half challenge on Etherington in the box after the winger outpaced him.
The 29-year-old picked himself up to convert the resulting penalty as a frustrated Jaaskelainen could only watch his left-hand parry come back off the post before it went into the net.
Wanderers had plenty of late chances to claw back some consolation, in particular Rodrigo, who wasted a volley at the far post following great play from fellow substitute Martin Petrov as City held on for the win.
The tension was high at the Britannia Stadium as 11th placed Stoke faced a Bolton outfit who had already defeated the Potters with a last-minute Ivan Klasnic strike.
Before the kick-off Tony Pulis had news he could have done without after his £7.1million transfer target - Hoffenheim striker Demba Ba - failed a medical.
However the Potters boss will have been pleased with his forward Tuncay who, despite looking likely to exit Stoke in search of first-team opportunities, started the game brightly and was involved heavily in both goals.
Bolton were bolstered by the return of midfielder Stuart Holden, but the American could do little about Wanderers slipping to their fifth successive defeat on the road. The 25-year-old also received a knock late in the second half and was taken off by Coyle as a precaution.
It was City who enjoyed the lion's share of possession in the first half and Tuncay signalled their intentions when he skipped away from Knight down the right flank but failed to test goalkeeper Jaaskelainen with his weak effort.
Tuncay, who posted his top 10 goals on Facebook this week in what was deemed a way of engineering a way out of the Britannia Stadium, continued to find plenty of joy on the flanks early on attempting to pick out Kenwyne Jones in the 13th minute, however he put too much on his cross.
The Turkish forward then tested Jaaskelainen from distance with a chip but the 35-year-old shot-stopper was equal to it.
In what was a good spell from the home side, Robert Huth consistently managed to get on the end of Rory Delap's specialist throws, however failed to convert any.
Holden saw a tame effort go wide of Asmir Begovic's post as Bolton tried to regain a bit of possession from a dominant Stoke outfit.
And indeed it was the home side who made the breakthrough in the 37th minute through that man Tuncay.
Bolton failed to clear their lines as Johan Elmander flicked on Tuncay's inswinging corner from the left into Higginbotham's path.
The 32-year-old got to the ball ahead of Sam Ricketts and made enough contact to stab it goalwards. Jaaskelainen could only scramble the ball once it was over the line however and the goal was given.
Following the interval Elmander disappointedly headed wide of the post from a Ricketts cross in a move which signalled to Stoke that Bolton were by no means out of the game.
Holden then saw his 20-yard free-kick clawed away by Begovic before Stoke's main man Tuncay placed his effort over the bar having evaded the challenge of Knight in the 54th minute.
Wanderers began to build up some patient attacks and Kevin Davies was unfortunate to not make more of a brilliant Knight ball as the formidable force of Huth made a crucial block.
The visitors then found themselves 2-0 down when Tuncay released Etherington down the right and the winger outpaced Knight.
As the Englishman found himself moments away from pulling the trigger, Knight lunged for the former West Ham midfielder, bringing him down in the box for a clear-cut penalty.
Etherington picked himself up and converted the spot-kick despite Jaaskelainen getting a hand to the effort in the 63rd minute.Despite efforts from substitutes Rodrigo and Tamir Cohen, Bolton looked dispirited in their attempts at a comeback as City claimed a much-deserved win.
|Stoke City||Team Statistics||Bolton Wanderers|
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|6||Shots on Target||5|
|7||Shots off Target||6|
Barclays Premier League
|9||West Ham United||27||39|
|13||West Bromwich Albion||27||30|
|17||Queens Park Rangers||26||22|