Shawcross hails Stoke style

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The Independent Online

The Stoke City defender Ryan Shawcross feels it is about time his side started to earn praise for the more attractive elements of their play.

Shawcross benefited from the Potters' most infamous tactic as he put his side decisively ahead in Wednesday night's FA Cup fifth-round replay win over Manchester City by heading home a Rory Delap throw-in. But Tony Pulis's men also scored well-worked goals through Dave Kitson and Tuncay in their stunning 3-1 extra-time success over the expensively assembled visitors at the Britannia Stadium.

Shawcross now hopes such play is not overlooked when people come to assess the merits of the Stoke side. "They took their goals well and it shows the calibre of players we have got," he said yesterday. "Mine was a bit more direct but you have to go for them. I think we showed what a good football team we are. We get tagged for kicking and heading it, but we have got some very talented footballers, big international players."

Shawcross was involved in the night's most controversial moment when the visiting striker Emmanuel Adebayor was sent off late in normal time. Craig Bellamy had just cancelled out Kitson's 79th-minute opener when Adebayor was adjudged to have raised his arms too high in trying to shrug off a Shawcross challenge.

The decision seemed soft and Shawcross was criticised for his reaction, but his team-mate Ricardo Fuller defended him. "Ryan is an honest lad, a hard-working lad and he wouldn't do anything to get anyone sent off, so I think he [Adebayor] deserved it," Fuller said.

Shawcross also insisted he had done nothing untoward. "He caught me in the face," the 22-year-old said. "I went down but got straight back up. It is an unfortunate thing but the referee made his decision. We won 3-1 and that is all we are concentrating on."

Stoke took advantage of Adebayor's dismissal to book a quarter-final date with Chelsea by dominating extra time. Shawcross put the hosts ahead five minutes into the first additional period before Tuncay sealed the win with a fine individual effort four minutes later.

Shawcross felt his goal had made up for the one he had harshly had ruled out in the Premier League draw against the same opponents last week. "It is a fantastic result," he said. "The fans got behind us and it is a big win after the disappointment of the last game against them."

The Football Association is investigating an incident during the second half of Wednesday's game when a missile appeared to be thrown at the visiting goalkeeper Shay Given. The referee Steve Bennett briefly halted play to collect the object and hand it to the fourth official.

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