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Barclays Premier League

Britannia Stadium (ATT 26,809) 15th January 2011 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: M Oliver

Stoke Stoke City vs Bolton Wanderers Bolton

Stoke 2

D Higginbotham (37)
M Etherington (pen 63)


Bolton 0

Potters in comfortable win

Wanderers waste late chances as City make them pay

By Hayley Paterson.   Last Updated: 15/01/11 5:51pm

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Opener: Higginbotham celebrates his first of the season

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.

Man of the match: Tuncay gets my vote. The Turkish forward looked lively throughout and was instrumental in both goals. Attempt of the match: Stuart Holden fired a decent free-kick into the top corner but Asmir Begovic pushed the American's effort wide. Save of the match: Begovic was called into action a couple of times late on and parried a Tamir Cohen chance from close range. Talking point: The loss just adds to Owen Coyle's woes who struggled to even fill a bench today due to international call-ups and injuries, will he be adding to his squad in this transfer window? Goal of the game: More to do with the play which led to Etherington being fouled in the box before he converted the spot-kick. Tuncay released the winger in the first instance on the right with the sweetest of through balls.

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.

Lion's share

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.

Main man

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 CityTeam StatisticsBolton Wanderers
11st Half Goals0
6Shots on Target5
7Shots off Target6
3Blocked Shots1
0Yellow Cards2
0Red Cards0
60.3Passing Success65.9
63.2Tackles Success88.9
45.6Territorial Advantage54.4

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Barclays Premier League
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2 Manchester City 38 79
3 Arsenal 38 75
4 Manchester United 38 70
5 Tottenham Hotspur 38 64
6 Liverpool 38 62
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9 Stoke City 38 54
10 Crystal Palace 38 48
11 Everton 38 47
12 West Ham United 38 47
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