Muscular Stoke give Brighton a bruising

Stoke City 3 Brighton & Hove Albion 0: Potters' set-play prowess prevails as League One leaders left to lick wounds

A near full-strength Stoke side breezed past the League One leaders Brighton as if they were taking a stroll along the seafront at Hove. Three goals in the space of 29 minutes during a one-sided first half sealed the Premier League club's place in the quarter-finals for the second year running.

The strains of "Sussex By the Sea" died in the throats of 3,000 Brighton supporters, giving way to a triumphalist "Delilah" from the other three sides of the ground, as Stoke's set-piece prowess produced goals for John Carew and Ryan Shawcross. In between came another, superbly worked effort from Jon Walters.

As a clash of footballing philosophies – Stoke's muscular, direct approach against Brighton's ground-level passing game – it was a non-event because power so swiftly overwhelmed poise. "Fingers crossed we get a home draw," said the Stoke manager Tony Pulis, and indeed, even the top clubs will not relish a last-eight date in the Potteries.

"The players' attitude was fantastic," added Pulis. "The one disappointment was that it was only 3-0 at half-time – Walters could have had a hat-trick. We gave Brighton the respect they deserved with the team we put out. They have been smashing in their division. You can take your foot off the pedal so easily, but it wasn't until the last 10 minutes that they got around our box."

His Brighton counterpart, Gus Poyet, offered a candid assessment, admitting: "They're stronger than us, they're bigger and they're technicallybetter. They're also the best at set-plays." Poyet had seen a £9m goalkeeper, Sunderland's Craig Gordon, struggle in the air against Stoke a fortnight earlier, which perhaps made him err on the side of generosity when asked whether his own last line, Peter Brezovan, could have done better. "For sure," he replied, "but I invite you all to get the gloves, go out there and go for crosses [against Stoke]!"

Many better sides than Brighton have been undone by a torpedo throw-in from Rory Delap – Arsenal, for example, have repeatedly conceded goals from that source on their visits to the Potteries – but having the 6ft 6in Brezovan must have given Poyet's team hope that they might fare better. The Slovak, alas, got both his positioning and his punch horribly wrong in the 14th minute, allowing Carew an embarrassingly simple opener from a back-header.

Stoke's second was also a header, but came from open play and followed a fine move. The right-back Marc Wilson is still unbeaten after 12 FA Cup appearances, having sat out Portsmouth's defeat in last season's final because of injury. After supplying Jermaine Pennant, Wilson overlapped to take the return. From his cross, Walters stole in front of Gordon Greer to execute a deft glancing header and Brezovan could only wave at the ball as it flew in.

Greer soon cleared off the line from a chipped shot by Walters after a less than convincing clearance by Brezovan, but another set-piece delivery from the right shortly before half-time left Brighton with an insurmountable task. The marking was non-existent as Pennant's corner kick was first headed on by Walters and then in by Shawcross near the far post.

Brighton continued to pass the ball neatly but there was a lightweight look about them compared with Stoke. Thomas Sorensen was a virtual spectator in the home goal and may even have felt a pang of disappointment on the hour when Howard Webb correctly refused Elliott Bennett's appeal for a penalty after he fell under Robert Huth's challenge.

Sorensen's first save worth the name did not come until 12 minutes from time when the substitute Fran Sandaza's angled shot came out off his legs. When the Brighton contingent cheekily crooned, "What's it like to see a pass?", the locals' riposte of,"It's just like watching West Brom", said it all. Stoke have lost only once in 26 meetings against the other Albion, who are also purists, and who are, coincidentally, the next visitors to Britannia Stadium.

Attendance: 21,312

Referee: Howard Webb

Man of the match: Pennant

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmWhat makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes hobby look 'dysfunctional'
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week