Stoke take hard-fought win over Everton

Everton 0 Stoke 1

Stoke gained some welcome relief from their Europa League hangovers with a hard-fought win over Everton at Goodison Park.

Tony Pulis' side recorded victory after a European outing for only the second time this season.

Defender Robert Huth's first goal of the campaign early on proved to be enough as Everton missed the chance to pick up a third successive Barclays Premier League win for the first time in 22 months.

They were not without their chances, however, and should have had a penalty just before half-time and could easily have had another after the break.

Ultimately, with teenager Apostolos Vellios making only his second start for the club up front in place of the absent Louis Saha, they did not pose enough of a threat in the opposition penalty area despite dominating the second half.

Stoke, who due to their European commitments had already played nine matches more than their hosts, improved on their woeful away record this season - ending a run of four successive defeats on the road.

There was a low-key start to the game after tributes were paid to former Toffees captain and Wales manager Gary Speed, who died last weekend.

Both teams walked out to the Welsh national anthem as opposed to the familiar Z Cars theme tune.

Speed's father Roger was among a number of his son's former team-mates invited on to the pitch to join in a minute's applause before kick-off, while mascots wearing the kits of Wales and all the clubs represented by the midfielder joined the group around the centre-circle.

Stoke defender Jonathan Woodgate, a former team-mate at Newcastle shared an embrace with Speed senior, before taking up an unfamiliar right-back position.

There was little in the early exchanges with Diniyar Bilyaletdinov bundling a shot so wide it failed to go out after a flick on by Apostolos Vellios, making only his second Everton start.

The Russian's next intervention, however, led to the opening goal.

His weak header from Matt Etherington's 15th-minute corner dropped to Dean Whitehead on the edge of the penalty area and he drilled in a shot which Huth turned past Tim Howard from close range.

Prior to kick-off, they had taken just four points and scored just three goals in six matches.

But it was no surprise the winner should come from a corner, as nine of their 14 league goals this season have been from set-pieces.

Bilyaletdinov, having been kept out of the side for most of the campaign, seemed to be involved everywhere with one hanging cross being clawed out under his own crossbar by goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen.

It was Stoke, though, who seemed to be posing the greater goal threat and when Glenn Whelan's left-wing corner was flicked on both Ryan Shotton and Ryan Shawcross, with the latter also seeing a header tipped over by Howard.

Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini was convinced he should have had a penalty on the stroke of half-time when he nodded Bilyaletdinov's corner wide.

The Belgium international claimed he was being held by Shawcross and television replays suggested he was right.

Everton had another penalty shout in the 67th minute when Huth opted to leave Leighton Baines' chipped pass and Tim Cahill nipped in front of Sorensen.

The two collided, with the Denmark goalkeeper seemingly failing to connect with the ball, but referee Mason - possibly influenced by an injury to Sorensen - awarded only a corner.

Despite the chorus of disapproval from the majority of Goodison Park, the injury appeared to be a genuine one as, only a couple of minutes later, the dazed goalkeeper left the field on a stretcher.

His replacement Asmir Begovic, deposed as first choice this season, was not exactly tested in the remainder of the game.

The closest Everton came to threatening was in the 86th minute but even then John Heitinga failed to get his head on Baines' cross from six yards out.

Seven minutes of added time failed to provide an equaliser and Everton's mini-revival of back-to-back wins came to a shuddering halt.

PA

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Supporting role: at the Supreme Court, Rhodes was accompanied by a famous friend, the actor Benedict Cumberbatch
booksPianist James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to stop the injunction of his memoirs
Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan
filmDheepan, film review
Sport
Steven Gerrard scores for Liverpool
sport
News
peopleComedian star of Ed Sullivan Show was mother to Ben Stiller
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

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?