Stoke vs Hull match report: Super sub Peter Crouch heads in fourth goal in four to hand Potters win

Stoke City 1 Hull City 0

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The Independent Football

Outspoken Stoke manager Mark Hughes reignited his long-running feud with match officials by turning his anger on referee Neil Swarbrick for failing to punish Hull’s Maynor Figueroa with a red card after a challenge on Stoke midfielder Steven Ireland, which left the player needing 15 stitches in a leg wound.

Hughes said team-mates and members of Stoke’s coaching staff were taken aback when Ireland revealed the severity of the damage when he came off at half-time and said Swarbrick’s decision not even to show Figueroa a yellow card was “astounding”.

The Stoke manager said the incident overshadowed what should have been a result to celebrate after Peter Crouch came off the bench to head home the only goal of the contest, taking his side to 39 points in the Premier League table.

“Steven has been on the end of an horrendous challenge that should have got their lad a straight red card,” Hughes said.

“If you see the video, it is quite shocking. How the referee and his assistant have not seen the severity of the challenge I do not know.

“Everyone can see it is a poor challenge. The assistant is standing only 10 yards away and he fails to see it.  How the referee has not sent the lad straight off is astounding.

“There has been a debate over the Ashley Barnes challenge on Nemanja Matic in the Chelsea-Burnley match, but for me this was worse.

“The only reason that Steven Ireland has not got up and chased after the lad is that he has not been in a position to do it because of the injury. When he rolled down his socks and revealed the gash in his calf, people were taken aback.

“The referee was poor throughout the game and I would say that even if we had lost the game. They are professional referees, it is not part-time. They need to do their job.”

Hughes, who questioned referee Kevin Friend’s “bravery” for failing to send off Newcastle’s Jack Colback only three weekends ago, met referees’ chief Mike Riley last autumn in an attempt to make his feelings known about falling standards and he is now likely to seek a similar opportunity to air those views.

Crouch scored the decisive goal only 61 seconds after taking the field, heading home a cross from Ireland’s second-half replacement, Charlie Adam.

In another criticism of Swarbrick and his team, Hull manager Steve Bruce claimed that the goal should have been ruled offside.

“I’ve seen the replay and Crouch is half a yard offside,” Bruce said. “When it is a 60-yard pass into the box, you expect the officials to get these things right.”

Hughes, however, argued that Crouch was level with the last Hull defender before he outjumped Paul McShane to loop the ball over goalkeeper Allan McGregor.

The goal enabled Crouch to equal Alan Shearer’s record of 46 headed goals in the Premier League, taking his overall tally to 95 in the top-flight.

His strike leaves Hull still looking anxiously over their shoulder at the relegation places.

Stoke City: (4-2-3-1) Begovic; Bardsley, Wollscheid, Wilson, Pieters; N’Zonzi, Whelan; Walters, Ireland (Adam, 45), Moses; Diouf (Crouch, 70).

Hull City: (3-5-2) McGregor; Dawson, Bruce, McShane; Elmohamady, Livermore, Huddlestone, Meyler (Quinn, 62), Figueroa (Hernandez, 78); Aluko (N’Doye, 56), Ramirez.

Referee: Neil Swarbrick.

Man of the match: Adam (Stoke).

Match rating: 6/10.