Etherington clips Canaries
Potters edge past Canaries at the Britannia
Last Updated: March 3, 2012 8:36pm
Stoke moved up to eighth in the Premier League table after Matthew Etherington's second-half strike earned them a 1-0 victory over Norwich at the Britannia Stadium.
The Potters dominated for large periods of a scrappy contest and were eventually rewarded for their persistence on 72 minutes when Etherington pounced on Cameron Jerome's flick-on to fire past John Ruddy at the near post.
Ruddy had earlier kept Norwich in the game with a stunning point-blank save to deny Peter Crouch three minutes before half-time.
Paul Lambert's Canaries struggled to cope with Stoke's high tempo and direct style, with only Grant Holt threatening with a first-half header which Asmir Begovic easily saved.
The defeat means Norwich, who drop down to 10th after their third successive reverse in all competitions, have now failed to win on seven visits to the Britannia Stadium.
The only change to the Potters' starting line-up from the Swansea game saw defender Robert Huth return after serving a three-match suspension, replacing Matthew Upson.
Norwich's first XI showed three adjustments from their 2-1 defeat to Manchester United, manager Lambert bringing in midfielder Jonny Howson for his Canaries debut, as well as Elliott Bennett and Russell Martin, with Simeon Jackson, David Fox and Adam Drury the men making way.
Walters made the game's first attempt on goal in the ninth minute, getting the better of Kyle Naughton and unleashing a fierce strike which goalkeeper Ruddy initially parried before gathering.
Six minutes later, Huth came forward to get on the end of Ryan Shotton's cross but the German could not direct his header on target.
Referee Michael Oliver waved for play to continue when Shotton went down in the area under the attentions of Naughton, and then penalised Crouch for committing a foul as the forward jumped to head the ball at Ruddy.
Howson picked up a booking for a challenge on Glenn Whelan, before Walters slipped in Whitehead, who could not get sufficient power on his effort to trouble Ruddy.
Stoke were forced to make a substitution in the 25th minute, with Andy Wilkinson having to come off for Jermaine Pennant, and Huth then swung a wild attempt into the stands.
Norwich had offered little going forward, but called Begovic into action on the half-hour mark when Holt met a free-kick with a header at the far post.
Holt hacked a shot wide from outside the box five minutes later, but it was the Potters who went close just before the break, Crouch having a header blocked by Bradley Johnson and then a shot kept out by Ruddy.
Lambert changed things around at half-time, substituting Anthony Pilkington for Jackson.
Crouch tried to connect with an Etherington cross but was beaten to the ball by Naughton, with Ruddy punching away the resulting corner, and at the other end a tame shot from Bennett rolled through to Begovic.
Crouch flicked a header wide before Holt won a free-kick in a useful position which was taken by Andrew Surman and caught by Begovic.
Pulis refreshed his attack by replacing Walters and Crouch with Jerome and Kenwyne Jones, and within three minutes the hosts finally broke Norwich's resistance.
From a throw-in - which replays suggested perhaps should have been given to the Canaries - Jerome headed the ball to Etherington, who touched it past Elliott Ward before firing beyond Ruddy.
The lively Etherington then delivered a cross which looped wide off Jones' head.Martin got in the way of a shot by Jerome in the final 10 minutes, but Stoke had done enough.
|Stoke City||Team Statistics||Norwich City|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|5||Shots on Target||3|
|6||Shots off Target||2|
|53.7||1st Half Poss.||46.3|
|43.1||2nd Half Poss.||56.9|
Barclays Premier League
|15||West Bromwich Albion||15||15|
|17||West Ham United||15||13|