Double delight as Huth helps Stoke get back to basics

Stoke City 3 Sunderland 2

Some Stoke fans have been questioning their manager's judgement lately. First for allowing the popular Tuncay Sanli and the frustrated Eidur Gudjohnsen to leave the club, then for picking a line-up at Liverpool in midweek that, in their assessment, seemed to lack ambition.

If ever a performance could be offered as vindication, then this was it. With no apologies for reverting to the tried and trusted Stoke formula, Tony Pulis saw his team mount an aerial barrage of such ferocity that Sunderland, even though they twice took the lead on a ground where they had not scored in the Premier League, still cracked in the end.

The winner came late – in thethird of four added minutes – but somehow it was inevitable that the stream of free-kicks and throw-ins towards Stoke's towering targets in the penalty area would conjure a home victory.

Their three goals were all scored within the six-yard box; one after a typical Rory Delap throw, the other two coming from free-kicks by Jermaine Pennant, whose delivery could not have been more finely honed. They were ugly goals, two controversial and possibly illegal. But to Pulis they were things of beauty.

Steve Bruce, not surprisingly, was less enchanted. Kieran Richardson, continuing his goalscoring run, had put Sunderland in front after two minutes, driving the ball past Asmir Begovic after Asamoah Gyan had met Phil Bardsley's threaded ball with an air-shot. When John Carew equalised after 32 minutes, scoring his first for Stoke and his first for anyone in 15 games, the goal probably should not have stood.

The former Aston Villa striker had only Anton Ferdinand ahead of him when Robert Huth challenged Craig Gordon in the air but Stephen Child, the assistant referee who did not see that Louis Saha was offside when he scored for Everton against Arsenal in midweek, failed to notice.

Then, after Gyan had restored Sunderland's advantage three minutes into the second half – outmuscling Huth after the impressive debutant Sulley Muntari had chipped a clever pass into his path – Carew got away with another infringement, the ball evidently brushing his arm as he lunged at Pennant's inswinging free-kick. Huth applied the final touch and referee Lee Probert saw nothing wrong.

Bruce reserved most of his ire for his defenders and for Gordon, who had a shaky afternoon, but felt he had a raw deal from the officials. "Craig needed to be stronger, to stand up to the challenge and that goes for the defenders, too," he said. "But you need the officials to do their jobs properly and they haven't done it."

There was no excuse for Stoke's third, thumped in by Huth stealing in on the blind side at the back post, but by then the damage was done – and, in so far as popularity goes, for Pulis, perhaps repaired.

Attendance: 26,008

Referee: Lee Probert

Man of the match: Pennant

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project