Stoke City 1 Ipswich Town 0: Lawrence converts detractors to big idea

Having spent much of the campaign fending off criticism from opposition managers, who have a habit of staring down at the desk in the press room at the Britannia Stadium and shaking their heads after their teams have been asked to defend set pieces and long balls, the Stoke midfielder Liam Lawrence thinks that teams in the Championship have a new-found respect for the division's leaders.

Certainly a defender told, "You mark the big lad," will be sent into a state of confusion against Stoke, but Lawrence's impressive strike from 25 yards, which earned a fifth straight victory for Tony Pulis's team, shows there is more to this side than Rory Delap's ability to take really long throws.

It will be a tag they will struggle to shift but Lawrence, 26, feels the tide of opinion is turning. "We were surprising people up until about six or seven games ago," he said. "People were moaning about how we play and they've taken a step back and decided we're not that bad.

"I think we've turned a few people's minds around. People were saying we're only a big side who go route one and long ball but, as you can see, we score from all over. Being compared to Wimbledon of old has put us in that category, but I don't think anyone here will be moaning if we go up doing that."

Pulis warned, however, "If we treat the last 12 games any differently than we have the first 34, we will end up with our pants pulled down and have our backsides slapped. The players are working exceptionally hard and we have got to keep that up until the last ball is kicked."

Ipswich have promotion ambitions of their own and Alan Lee should have opened the scoring for the visitors, but he shot wide from close range after neat work from Jon Walters in the early stages. The Suffolk side were resolute but Lawrence seized on Dan Harding's weak clearance to drive into the corner of the net for his 13th goal of the season, just before half-time.

The Ipswich manager, Jim Magilton, was sent to the stands following a disagreement with the referee, Michael Jones, over the multi-ball system, which leaves the number of balls around the pitch at the home team's discretion.

Stoke were clinging on, but Ipswich had only a fierce drive from Velice Sumulikoski, which was tipped away by Steve Simonsen, to show for their efforts. Pulis admits he will look into the way multiple balls are administered at the Britannia Stadium. "We've got little kids doing it and some of them do sit on the ball, rather than throw it back," he explained.

However, the Ipswich midfielder Tommy Miller feels the system should be abolished. "The system sometimes works for the home teams but not the away teams," he said. "I think it should be standard or not done at all."

Goal: Lawrence (42) 1-0.

Stoke City (4-4-2): Simonsen; Griffin, Shawcross, Cort, Dickinson; Lawrence, Delap, Whelan, Cresswell; Sidibe (Diao, 82), Fuller. Substitutes not used: Wilkinson, Parkin, Gallagher, Fulop (gk).

Ipswich Town (4-4-2): Bywater; Bruce, Naylor, De Vos, Harding; Norris (Garvan, 76), Sumulikoski, Miller, Quinn (Haynes, 46); Walters, Lee (Counago, 72). Substitutes not used: Colgan (gk), Wright.

Referee: M Jones (Cheshire).

Booked: Stoke City Lawrence, Delap.

Man of the match: Lawrence.

Attendance: 23,563.

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

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'