Stoke City 1 Coventry City 0: Griffin swoops out of fog to inspire Stoke

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The Independent Online

Ricardo Fuller was given a surprise lesson in the art of finishing by Andy Griffin as Stoke City recorded a deserved third successive home victory.

The striker squandered numerous chances to kill off disappointing Coventry City and was then given a red card in a fog-shrouded game magnificently settled just on the hour by Griffin - back at his first club on three months' loan from Portsmouth.

"It was a fantastic finish,'' said the Stoke manager, Tony Pulis. "As a lad who came through the ranks here, he's absolutely delighted.''

Stoke were relieved that visibility remained just about adequate after worsening alarmingly at kick-off.

Not that Fuller will be convinced all the effort was worthwhile. Four times in the opening 35 minutes he finished wastefully, most notably when spooning over from Carl Hoefkens' low centre. And his awful night was compounded by a straight red card for an elbow at Michael Doyle following a free-kick decision.

Fuller's unwarranted win bonus had been sensationally secured, though, only three minutes earlier.

From a throw-in, Griffin took aim from 30 yards with his right foot and arrowed magnificently just inside Andy Marshall's top left-hand corner.

Coventry, now beaten seven times this season by the odd goal, were fortunate to escape so lightly, with Elliott Ward nodding off the line from Luke Chadwick's header and Marshall saving superbly from the substitute Vincent Pericard.

Stoke City (4-4-2): Simonsen; Hoefkens, Duberry, Higginbotham, Griffin; Chadwick (Brammer, 86), Diao, Russell, Hendrie; Fuller, Sidibe (Pericard, 90). Substitutes not used: Bangoura, Wilkinson, Sweeney.

Coventry City (5-3-2): Marshall; Duffy, Page, Ward, Hall (Hutchison, 82), Clarke; Birchall (Tabb, 61), Hughes, Doyle (Adebola, 70); John, McKenzie. Substitutes not used: Andrews, Cameron.

Referee: C Boyeson (Yorkshire).

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