No joy for Jaaskelainen as Stoke scramble home

Stoke City 2 Bolton Wanderers 0
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The Independent Football

Jussi Jaaskelainen has had better afternoons but no blame is attached to Bolton's long-serving goalkeeper for his team's fifth consecutive away defeat. Owen Coyle's side were often on the ropes against a Stoke team intent on avenging two late-goal defeats and were submerged by Stoke's assertive, direct approach. It was just their misfortune, when they needed every bit of assistance, that Jaaskelainen's luck was out.

As Stoke messily went ahead in a 37th-minute goalmouth scramble, the last touch came off the Finn's knee as he tumbled backwards and though the ball came to rest in his arms, he was a foot behind the line. The Stokefull-back Danny Higginbotham did enough to lap up the congratulations as the referee's assistant flagged the goal.

Then, as Stoke were awardeda 63rd-minute penalty for Zat Knight's trip on Matthew Etherington, Jaaskelainen guessed correctly that Etherington would put the spot kick to his left and got a hand to the ball, only to see it go in off the post. By contrast, the Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic barely made an error, countering Bolton's second half resurgence with saves from Stuart Holden and Matt Taylor and Coyle's substitutes, Rodrigo Moreno and Tamir Cohen.

"Owen has had it over us the last couple of games where we have played really well but they have won and I was praying it didn't happen again," Stoke's manager, Tony Pulis, said, recalling that goals inside thelast two minutes had landed the points for Bolton in each of their past two meetings.

Not helped by a blustery wind, this exchange lacked quality but Tuncay Sanli stood out and it was his corner that created the first goal and his pass that left Knight with little option but to bring down Etherington.

Stoke's purchase of the Senegal striker Demba Ba for £7.1m from Hoffenheim will not go ahead after he failed a medical but a loan deal remains a possibility.

Attendance: 26,809

Referee: Michael Oliver

Man of the match: Tuncay

Match rating: 5/10