Stoke safely through
Potters too good for Robins
Last Updated: 26/08/08 11:32pm
Whelan: Claimed opening goal
Stoke booked their place in the third round of the Carling Cup after a hard-fought 3-2 victory at Cheltenham.
Glenn Whelan opened the scoring with a 51st-minute free-kick before Richard Cresswell doubled Stoke's lead three minutes later.
Ashley Vincent pulled one back for the League One outfit but Jon Parkin restored Stoke's two-goal cushion, meaning Alex Russell's late reply was merely a consolation.
Stoke had lost six times at their first hurdle in the competition since the turn of the century and during that period had been beaten five times by lower-graded opposition.
Manager Tony Pulis indicated where his priorities lie this season by making 10 changes from the starting line-up which had gained a memorable 3-2 win over Aston Villa on Saturday with only left-back Carl Dickinson remaining.
And the substitutes bench included only two players of any senior team experience in Dominic Matteo and Jamaica international Demar Phillips.
But after a goalless first half, the visitors stepped up a gear during the second 45 minutes and ran out comfortable winners with Whelan impressive in midfield.
Cheltenham, 50 places below their opponents in the league ladder, began brightly and Ben Gill had a fierce low 20-yard drive blocked.
But Stoke soon began to settle down with their drastically revamped line-up.
Home goalkeeper Shane Higgs was called into action for the only time in the opening 45 minutes when Ryan Shawcross found himself in space some 10 yards out but his shot flew straight at the Town goalkeeper.
Then a long-range header from Jon Parkin flew only a couple of feet wide after he seized onto a right-wing centre from Cresswell.
Vincent Pericard did have the ball in the Cheltenham net after 35 minutes, after collecting a pass from Whelan, but he was adjudged offside.
Cresswell had half a chance three minutes before the interval after Pericard had managed to pick him out but he was off-balance when sending a low shot past the post.
Cheltenham made a positive start to the second period and goalkeeper Steve Simonsen was forced to palm away at full stretch a fierce cross-cum-shot from Vincent at the expense of a corner.
The game finally had some urgency about it and after 51 minutes midfielder Whelan put Stoke ahead with a pinpoint free-kick.
The danger signs were there for Cheltenham when Pericard was brought down 20 yards out in a central position by Shane Duff.
Up stepped Whelan and his curling free-kick beat the despairing dive of Higgs and flew into the top corner of the net.
Then three minutes later a route one piece of football saw Stoke double their lead.
Simonsen's long clearance was flicked on by Pericard and Cresswell outpaced 38-year-old Jerry Gill before slipping the ball past Higgs.
But Cheltenham refused to buckle and in the 57th minute they were given a lifeline by Vincent who slipped the ball around Lewis Buxton and then drilled a low shot past Simonsen via the left-hand post.
Craig Armstrong became the first player to be yellow-carded for a challenge on Cresswell.
Substitute Andy Gallinagh produced an important challenge to deny Cresswell the chance of a second goal after he had cut inside the Cheltenham box.
But Parkin ensured victory for Stoke when he converted a left-wing cross by Pugh with 12 minutes remaining.Russell scored with a rasping 20-yard drive seconds before the final whistle for Cheltenham.
|Cheltenham Town||Team Statistics||Stoke City|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|4||Shots on Target||4|
|3||Shots off Target||8|
Capital One Cup
Tue 26th Aug - Second Round
Cheltenham2 - 3Stoke City
Burnley3 - 0Oldham
Rotherham0 - 0Wolves
Crewe2 - 1Bristol C
Swansea2 - 1Hull City
Ipswich2 - 1Colchester
Wigan4 - 0Notts Co
Coventry2 - 3Newcastle
Cardiff2 - 1MK Dons
Hartlepool3 - 1West Brom
Leeds4 - 0C Palace
Watford2 - 1Darlington
QPR4 - 0Carlisle
Preston0 - 1Derby
Southampton2 - 0Birmingham
Reading5 - 1Luton Town
Bolton1 - 2Northamptn
Middlesbro'5 - 1Yeovil