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Barclays Premier League: Stoke City 1, Norwich City 0

17:23 03 March 2012

Matthew Etherington scores the winning goal for Stoke. Picture: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images

Matthew Etherington scores the winning goal for Stoke. Picture: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images

©Focus Images Limited www.focus-images.co.uk +447814 482222

A second-half goal from Matthew Etherington was enough to condemn Norwich City to their second Premier League defeat in a row.

Etherington struck after 72 minutes at the Britannia Stadium when he rifled a left-foot shot past goalkeeper John Ruddy at his near post, after a throw-in had been flicked into his path by substitute Cameron Jerome.

There was some doubt over whether the throw should have been given Stoke’s way in the first place, but the goal gave the Potters second successive home win, which on possession and chances they probably felt they deserved - but it was not a great spectacle for a crowd of more than 27,000, and it was a poor advert for the Premier League.

The Canaries, for their part, failed to really trouble home goalkeeper Asmir Begovic and did not really threaten often enough to grumble about the outcome.

Ex-Canary Peter Crouch almost gave Stoke the lead late in the first half when he had two efforts blocked, but Ruddy was not overworked either and it looked as if Paul Lambert’s men might go home with a point until Etherington struck.

Following their FA Cup exit against Leicester and home defeat by Manchester United, it made it a hat-trick of defeats for City.

There were three changes to the Canaries’ starting eleven from the 2-1 defeat by United six days earlier.

Midfielder Jonny Howson, who signed from Leeds in January, was given his City debut just four days after playing 90 minutes in a reserve game against Wolves, while there were recalls for Russell Martin and Elliott Bennett.

David Fox and Simeon Jackson were relegated to the substitutes’ bench, while Adam Drury missed out on a place in the 18.

Ryan Bennett, Lambert’s other January capture, from Peterborough, was named among the substitutes after finally teaming up with Norwich.

Stoke made one change after the 2-0 home win over Swansea, Robert Huth returning in defence after suspension at the expense of former Norfolk schoolboy and World Cup defender Matthew Upson.

Before kick-off, members of Stoke’s 1972 League Cup-winning squad were presented to the crowd on the 40th anniversary of their Wembley win over Chelsea.

Stoke kicked off and won a corner in the opening minute, Naughton heading clear from Etherington’s kick.

A foul by Shawcross on Holt gave City, wearing their green second kit, their first free-kick after six minutes, but Surman’s ball was floated too close to Begovic, who made a clean catch.

A slip by Naughton let Walters in for a powerful shot from the right, but Ruddy was able to reach up and knock it down, grabbing the ball on the bounce.

A fine pass by Howson enabled Bennett to break and he got the better of Wilson, but his cross was too strong for the incoming Pilkington.

Shotton tried out his long throw from the right touchline and when the ball was cleared back to him, he crossed for Huth, but the defender headed wide.

Another long throw found the head of Crouch, but Ruddy saved his effort fairly comfortably.

Howson was shown the yellow card after 21 minutes for bringing down Whelan after Bennett’s return pass left him short.

Whitehead missed Stoke’s best opening yet midway through the half when Shotton played him through but his shot lacked the power to beat Ruddy, who saved, diving to his right.

Stoke made an enforced change with just 25 minutes gone as Wilkinson, who seemed to have taken a knock, made way for Pennant, with Shotton switching to right-back.

Huth blazed over after Crouch and Walters teed up the chance but there had been little to seriously trouble either ’keeper.

Holt got in a far-post header from a free-kick by Pilkington, but straight at Begovic.

Holt let fly again when he chested down Naughton’s free-kick, but his effort was well off target.

With just over two minutes to go to the break, Crouch very nearly gave Stoke the lead with two attempts at goal in a matter of seconds. First his header from Shotton’s cross was blocked by Johnson’s foot, but the ball came back to Crouch off Ward and this time Ruddy made a fine point-blank save from his follow-up shot.

• Half-time: Stoke City 0, Norwich City 0

City made a change at the break with Jackson replacing Pilkington.

It was a humdrum start to the second period with Stoke still relying on their long throw routine and City making little impact.

Bennett brought a save out of Begovic after 54 minutes, following a pass by Howson, but his 20-yard shot lacked power and Surman may have been better placed for a pass.

Holt needed attention after being winded by a challenge from Whelan, but his discomfort drew little sympathy from the home crowd.

City won a free-kick for a foul on Holt, but Surman’s curling effort was no problem for Begovic.

With just over 20 minutes to go, Stoke made a double change up front with Jerome and Jones replacing Walters and Crouch.

And with 72 minutes gone, the home side got the breakthrough they had been seeking when Etherington scored with a fine finish.

A throw-in on the left was flicked on by Jerome and Etherington negotiated Ward’s challenge and rifled a left-foot shot past Ruddy from a tight angle.

Howson departed the action with 15 minutes to go when Lambert added a third striker to the mix in Wilbraham.

Jackson had a shot blocked as City tried to find a way back into the contest.

Fox replaced Johnson as City’s final change with 11 minutes to go.

Russell Martin produced a vital block on Jerome after 84 minutes as Stoke looked to wrap up the points, and Begovic did well to gather a cross under pressure from Holt as they pressed again.

Naughton fired into the crowd in the final minute, which rather summed up City’s afternoon.

Bennett was booked in stoppage time for a challenge on Whelan.

• Result: Stoke City 1, Norwich City 0

• Stoke City: Begovic, Wilkinson (Pennant, 25), Shawcross, Huth, Wilson; Shotton, Whelan, Whitehead, Etherington; Walters (Jerome, 69); Crouch (Jones, 69). Subs (not used): Sorensen, Upson, Pennant, Diao, Fuller.

• Norwich City: Ruddy; Russell Martin, Ward, Whitbread, Naughton; Pilkington (Jackson, 45), Howson (Wilbraham, 75), Johnson (Fox, 79), Surman; Bennett; Holt. Subs (not used): Steer, Ryan Bennett, Hoolahan, Morison.

• Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland)

• Attendance: 27,483

• Goals: Stoke: Etherington (72)

• Bookings: Norwich: Howson (21), Bennett (90)

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37 comments

  • Pathetic!...You got it wrong Mr Lambert.! Stoke were so poor! Why on earth did Hoolahan, have to sit this one out? If you don't want to play him for some reason, then his replacement has to be up to the mark!

    Report this comment

    Pa Snipps

    Saturday, March 3, 2012

  • PS. I see the vote shows Whitbread is cutting it for a lot of Canary fans now. Interesting that Fox`s 14 minutes on the pitch got him 24% of the vote.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Monday, March 5, 2012

  • Spoiled my Saturday good and proper that did.

    Report this comment

    Swiss Canary

    Saturday, March 3, 2012

  • match instantly forgettable,support magnificent.

    Report this comment

    Peter Watson

    Saturday, March 3, 2012

  • Foxometer down to 11%. Still not bad for 14 minutes. Pro rata 73%, the same as Zak!! Not even counting 1st half added time. How Motsonesque is that? Hope he plays v Wigan. And Hoolahoop, too. Ref. points prediction, I wish I could have found an available Rabbi now. Asked around locally but they all thought I was trying to buy some sort of Brassica they grow in these paaarts, the turnips. Now worried that my soothsaying has fallen into the wrong hands. Or worse....

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Tuesday, March 6, 2012

  • Meds; IL I still T! 47 points is my guess. OTBC.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Sunday, March 4, 2012

  • Cutty, I'm loking no further than Wigan at home, then Wolves. 6 points there are we sure should be safe for stage 4 of PL's 5 year project! (better than AVB's at least) With Fulham thrashing Wolves today, Blackburn finally scrapping for their lives, and Villa capable of spoiling any party, we still have an awful run in.

    Report this comment

    Soglio Star

    Sunday, March 4, 2012

  • Brewer, are you sure that those odd bits of anatomy lying around were not the result of Ryan Shawcross' tackling? Champion the Wonderhorse is certainly not the only pusher & shirt puller in the box, but for some reason he seems the most obvious.

    Report this comment

    Swiss Canary

    Sunday, March 4, 2012

  • I think that we can say it is official, even if the churchman has accidentally dropped it at Madame Whiplash's emporium.

    Report this comment

    Swiss Canary

    Monday, March 5, 2012

  • I agree with you, goldie. Surprised that we started with Howson. I`m sure he`ll be fine, but an "off the bench" job may have been better for starters. Never mind. Yes, Wonderhorse was a bit naughty with the shirt pulling again. PL will have to rein him in. (Hope the little bit of whimsy at the end there did not detract from what was a serious response to your patently valid points, with which I concurred). OTBC. ILWT.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Sunday, March 4, 2012

  • Wigan, Wolves, Everton and Aston at home, Blackburn and Fulham away, Got to be 9 points in that lot. OTBC.

    Report this comment

    cutty

    Sunday, March 4, 2012

  • I don't pick the team, PL knows what he is doing, I can only go by what I see on the TV (SKY RTE & BBC). Was at the FA cup match bit of a downer however I like the way Norwich play when Wes and Fox play in midfield. Just sayin!

    Report this comment

    RoadWarrior

    Sunday, March 4, 2012

  • I suppose it seems a rather odd team selection, specially starting with Howson and without Fox. Lambo must have had a cunning plan, but even he can`t get it exactly right every time. If Stoke had not got that faux throw-in and we`d sneaked a useful point at a difficult venue, most of us would have been quite happy, I imagine. I must endorse what Preston Canary says about Zak Whitbread. He does look a class act now. I, too, am a convert.Hopefully the Whitbread Trophy for Persistent Injury will be awarded elsewhere now. Preferably not to one of our squad. Preferably not awarded at all! My points total estimate remains at 47. Plenty! Fingers crossed. OTBC.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Monday, March 5, 2012

  • Hoolahan sat it out this week because at the moment he is not good enough for the starting XI, fairly ineffective last week when he came on.

    Report this comment

    Bruce87

    Saturday, March 3, 2012

  • Can't wait to see Match of the Day tonight mum. Do you think we'll be on first? Can I stay up please?

    Report this comment

    Bill Punton's bald patch

    Saturday, March 3, 2012

  • It`s because he`s the most obvious. Probably.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Sunday, March 4, 2012

  • With Zak on 72%, Foxy now pro rata Man of the Match by the Mad Motson Method @ 73%!

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Wednesday, March 7, 2012

  • Ethered yet again!! What did I say wrong?? Only contributing to the comments of Meds, Tartan & others.And it`s not even a PD column!

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Sunday, March 4, 2012

  • Need to start grinding out some clean sheets. The bottom three can not quite make their minds up to break away. Next week a big game as Wigan ae starting to look desperate. I'd take a draw for most of the remaining fixtures from a squad that is beginning to take shape. Get fit everyone for last big push

    Report this comment

    Pondlife

    Saturday, March 3, 2012

  • Just got back. Had to stay in Stoke (if you know what I mean!) Even managed to get my oat cakes this morning!! A good day out and excellent night in. Shame it was ruined as usual by the football. Awful team selection by Shambert (no Wessi) and yet another ridiculous error by Cruddy (beaten at the near post). 3 defeats in a row now, pathetic. Shambert Out ! Clark In ! Listen to me NcNally, I'm Ged and I'm the Voice of the Fans.

    Report this comment

    Ged Steroo

    Sunday, March 4, 2012

  • I have to say that was possibly one of the worst games of football I have ever seen. I have to say that I felt Lambert got the team selection wrong for this one. Howson didn't look up to speed (Not surprisingly), Bennett played in the Hoolahan role behind Holt. I know he has played that position before for Brighton, but he was ineffective on Sat, either because of the position or because of the physicality. I like him, but for me he is an out and out winger. I don't think it was Surman's sort of game either as both him and Bennett are quite lightweight. 1st half we seemed to get pinned back by the throw and I was also unsure whether the air currents in the stadium have an effect. I wass right behind the goal and it wasn't windy at all, but when you looked at the shirts of the players they were getting whipped by the wind and clearances were struggling to get the distance. We also got sucked into playing their game with the ball in the air. 2nd half we got it down a bit better, but it was only when Fox came on that we really started to dictate the pace of the game. On a positive note, I felt the defence did very well and Whitbread I thought was outstanding. There was one very well timed tackle in the 1st half on the edge of the box. I was a doubter about him for a long time, but not any more. Bring on Wigan and lets get these points on the board. OTBC

    Report this comment

    Preston Canary

    Monday, March 5, 2012

  • Ged, I'm a real NCFC fan and let me tell you something, you certainly aint the voice for me you dumb little piece of suffolk sh*te! You are a sad little man if you have to constantly spend your time making pathetic statements on a Norwich site, you wouldn't find any of us on your Ipsh*t Town site so why do you have to keep turning up on ours? get a life man!

    Report this comment

    mickncfc

    Sunday, March 4, 2012

  • Negative comments re the Stoke game seem more appropriate than the general feeling of negativity that comes over from reading some of the postings attached to the EEN articles lately. Hello, we are still 10th in the table at the mo....some professionals in the game are saying that 35 points could well be enough BUT I've got no doubts we will achieve 40 plus before not too long. Come on, quickly renew your membership to ILWT before he gets fed up with all the moaning & walks!

    Report this comment

    Meds

    Saturday, March 3, 2012

  • i read in the papers this week after , stoke played swansea ,that the stoke supporters would not stand for their team playing like swansea.my god would they rather watch that rubbish.

    Report this comment

    bluelight

    Saturday, March 3, 2012

  • I don`t bet. Certainly not with btb. I did that prediction, with more detail, sealed in a stamped and dated-by-posting envelope and left it in the hands of a local churchman. Couldn`t find a Rabbi. Apparantly they`re trustworthy. See the bandwagon (herd?) effect has reduced Foxy`s share of the MoM vote to 14% or thereabouts.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Monday, March 5, 2012

  • It would appear to be unlucky to wear that green change strip when playing away to teams in red and white stripes (Sunderland and now Stoke). I myself am painted in the same blue tartan as our 1990's effort. Apparently that sets a new premiership record of 28 away matches in a row without a clean sheet, but of course that doesn't really matter if you can generally score more at the other end.

    Report this comment

    Tartan Canary

    Saturday, March 3, 2012

  • Zakometer still rising.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Monday, March 5, 2012

  • Would like to see a settled back four (injuries permitting) for the run in. We have too many one footed players; Hoolahan's big weakness is that he rarely uses his right foot. When he does it surprises everyone but has resulted in goals. Naughton Martin Drury and Surman all need to practise with the "other " foot.Bring back Charlie Crickmore

    Report this comment

    Pondlife

    Saturday, March 3, 2012

  • Hewson should have been given a run out for last 20 mins if we were winning not put on straight away. Big difference but too late when foxy came on and started passing the ball around. Saw Holty hasn't learned from the last penalty he gave away. 3 minutes on MOTD clearly showed holt holding shirts again in the penalty area.

    Report this comment

    goldie

    Sunday, March 4, 2012

  • I watched the match on a dodgy stream thro` a PC. Those Green shirts against a grassy backdrop did not make for good definition! Looked like pairs of shorts, with odd bits of disembodied anatomy close by, floating about. Quite eery, really. Pity the Stoke players were still able to see our boys OK! As Tartan Canary implied, this change is a must when there is a severe risk of getting yellow & green confused with red & white stripes. Apparantly, it has something to do with money(shock-horror); the change strip must be used a minimum number of times. Is this true? I still hope my pre-season points-total guess of 47 comes to pass. Meds, I`m with you. ILIST. OTBC.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Sunday, March 4, 2012

  • I'll tell you what, Elliott Bennett must be really good in training.

    Report this comment

    Lobbo

    Saturday, March 3, 2012

  • In a way, Pondlife, the bottom 5 have sort-of broken away. We now stand 13 points clear of them. Then it`s 8th - 15th in a queue. Nearly there!!

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Sunday, March 4, 2012

  • Perhaps billythebookie will give you odds on the 47 points MB.

    Report this comment

    Swiss Canary

    Monday, March 5, 2012

  • I think Stoke brought us down to their level. They play horrible football where they just rely on throw ins all the time, I'm glad I don't support a team that play anti football.

    Report this comment

    ImDrunky

    Sunday, March 4, 2012

  • Just got back...from the sofa watching MOTD. Wish I'd gone to bed early - as we we're on for all of 3 minutes dunno if Howson was any good or not...let's not complain about a bad decision on a throw in as Stoke were unlucky not to get a penalty. Looked like a dire game - let's pick up 3 points from Wigan and call ourselves safe - now is not a time to have a barren spell with that tough run in. Onwards and upwards OTBC.

    Report this comment

    Mr Henry

    Saturday, March 3, 2012

  • Absolutely nothing to add to whats been said already. Stoke more streetwise & we were a little niave perhaps. If this is the way Stoke play I`m staggered that they have a crowd of any description. Lets move on a get 3 pts next week against Wigan

    Report this comment

    stayingup

    Saturday, March 3, 2012

  • Just one to consign to the record books, and move on. Next weeks match vs Wigan is important, as is the home game with Wolves, then we can relax. (let's just hoep those green shirts stay in the kit bag now until pre season camp in Germany).

    Report this comment

    Soglio Star

    Sunday, March 4, 2012

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