Stoke take hard-fought win over Everton - Premier League - Football - The Independent

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
News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
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

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week