Campbell and Pearce put paid to plucky Stoke

Nottingham Forest 2 Stoke City 0
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The Independent Online
JON CULLEY

Nottingham Forest 2 Stoke City 0

A gallant effort by First Division Stoke, unlucky not to have eliminated their Premiership opponents when they first met, ultimately came to naught as Forest secured a fourth-round home tie against Oxford in relative comfort in last night's replay at the City Ground.

Goals in each half by Kevin Campbell, later withdrawn with a hamstring injury, and Stuart Pearce from the penalty spot accurately reflected Forest's superiority, which was in contrast with the match at the Victoria Ground, when Stoke to a large degree outplayed them.

Indeed, had it not been for Pearce, driving home an equaliser with nine minutes left, Stoke would have been relishing the prospect of supplementing their promotion challenge with a cup run.

But last night Forest served notice swiftly that they intended to take a decisive grip, forcing Stoke to adopt a defensive footing. They donned their best passing boots and gained reward with a cleverly worked goal after only 16 minutes.

Steve Stone and Des Lyttle combined near the right touchline to make space for Scot Gemmill, whose deep cross was directed neatly by Ian Woan to the feet of Campbell, the striker losing his marker with a skilful turn before shooting home from 12 yards.

To their credit, Stoke responded positively to the setback. Graham Potter drew a save from Mark Crossley from long range before a dangerous low cross by Ray Wallace flashed across goal, a whisker in front of Simon Sturridge's outstretched foot.

Forest, inclined to rest on their laurels, made more than one potentially costly error, notably when Crossley spilled a cross driven in by Nigel Gleghorn, which Pearce bundled to safety. Lyttle tidied up after another scare when Crossley punched away a rising drive by Sturridge.

A recovery looked within Stoke's range until Stone took it upon himself to run at them nine minutes into the second period, setting off inside his own half and covering 60 or 70 yards past a string of defenders, before Lee Sandford brought him down a yard inside the box. Pearce's kick put the result beyond doubt.

Nottingham Forest (4-4-2): Crossley; Lyttle, Cooper, Chettle, Pearce; Stone, Gemmill, Bart-Williams, Woan; Campbell (Lee, 55), Roy (Phillips, 81). Substitute not used: Clark.

Stoke City (4-4-2): Prudhoe; Clarkson, Sigurdsson, Cranson, Sandford; Keen, Wallace, Gleghorn, Potter; Peschisolido (Gayle, 70), Sturridge. Substitutes not used: Drayer, Beeston.

Referee: D Gallagher (Banbury).

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