Stoke City 2-0 Bolton Wanderers

  • January 15, 2011 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton's hunt for a league win in 2011 goes on as goals from Danny Higginbotham and Matthew Etherington gave Stoke City a 2-0 victory over Owen Coyle's side at the Britannia Stadium.

Higginbotham broke the deadlock on 37 minutes after bundling a corner from Tuncay over the line from close range, before Etherington converted from the spot just after the hour after he had been fouled by Zat Knight.

Both sides were slow out of the blocks on a windy afternoon in the Potteries, with the hosts having the better of the early exchanges, forcing Wanderers into clearing a couple of throw-ins from Rory Delap.

Matt Taylor had Bolton's first half-chance on 12 minutes, opting to shoot on the half-volley from all of 40-yards. To no surprise, it landed in the stands behind Asmir Begovic's goal.

City replied immediately and Tuncay saw a cross-cum-shot evade everybody inside the area moments later. Tuncay was next to try his luck, but Jussi Jaaskelainen made a comfortable save low to his right.

Midway through the half, Robert Huth saw headers from a couple of corners sail over the crossbar, before Jaaskelainen was brought into his first meaningful save of the afternoon on 27 minutes.

Dean Whitehead's cross from the right flank picked out an unmarked Kenwyne Jones. He sent a volley goalwards, only to see the Wanderers goalkeeper tip the ball over his bar and behind for a corner.

Wanderers came close to breaking the deadlock on the half hour as Jaaskelainen sent a free-kick narrowly wide of Begovic's goal from inside his own half. The swirling wind inside the stadium obviously gave the Finn the confidence to strike.

Stuart Holden dragged a shot wide a minute later and Huth, once again, headed over from a Delap throw before Tony Pulis' side took the lead eight minutes before the break.

Tuncay's corner was flicked on by Johan Elmander and Higginbotham's gamble at the back post resulted in the ball just about crawling over the line, despite Jaaskelainen's best attempts to deny him on the line.

After the break, Elmander got his head to the ball at the right end. However, his effort went well wide of goal after Sam Ricketts had done well to provide a cross from the right.

When Andy Wilkinson fouled Taylor in the 51st minute, Holden sent the resulting free-kick goalwards, but Begovic made a superb save in his top left-hand corner to deny the Trotters an equaliser.

Tuncay curled an effort over the bar five minutes later but from their next attack, Stoke had the points in the bag.

After being played through by Tuncay, Etherington beat Knight for pace and won a penalty after being upended inside the box by the big centre-half. Etherington stepped up to take the resulting spot kick and, despite Jaaskelainen's best efforts, saw the ball cross the line via the aid of a post.

Moments after that goal, Taylor saw a deflected strike well saved by Begovic, his last action of the game as Martin Petrov came on to replace him just a minute later, with Rodrigo Moreno also coming on for Fabrice Muamba.

The introduction of Rodrigo looked like it may spark Bolton into life as he brought Begovic into a stop from distance in the 69th minute.

Ricketts brought Begovic into action again and Kevin Davies headed wide as Wanderers searched for a route back into the game, but it wasn't happening for the visitors.

Tamir Cohen, on for the injured Stuart Holden, brought another save out of Begovic in stoppage time as the Stoke goalkeeper claimed a clean sheet, with the Potters running out 2-0 winners.

The defeat means Wanderers remain in seventh spot in the Premier League, ahead of their conconquerors on goal difference. Next up for Coyle's men is the visit of Chelsea to the Reebok Stadium on Monday week.

Stoke City: Begovic, Wilkinson, Shawcross, Huth, Higginbotham, Delap, Whitehead, Wilson (Whelan 71), Etherington (Pugh 88), Jones (Walters 81), Tuncay
Subs Not Used: Sorensen, Collins, Pennant, Faye
Goals: Higginbotham 37, Etherington 63(pen)

Bolton Wanderers: Jaaskelainen, Ricketts, Cahill, Knight, Robinson, M Davies, Muamba (Rodrigo 66), Holden (Cohen 83), Taylor (Petrov 66), K Davies, Elmander
Subs Not Used: Bogdan, Blake, Alonso
Booked: Knight, Muamba

Attendance: 26,809
Referee: Michael Oliver

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Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
19 Milton Keynes Dons 26 25
20 AFC Wimbledon 25 24
21 Tranmere Rovers 24 22
22 Southend United 25 10
23 Bolton Wanderers 23 7
View Full Standings >>


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