Whitehead puts a smile back on Pulis's face with dramatic winner

Stoke City 3 Birmingham City 2

Tony Pulis finally shed his frown but only after watching his Stoke team enjoy a night free of contentious moments. They did manage to squander a two-goal lead, instead, though before Dean Whitehead scored his first Premier League goal for 85 games with five minutes left to secure the club's first points in more than a month.

Ricardo Fuller marked his first start since the second week of the season by playing a part in all three goals, the first scored by Robert Huth, the second a cracker from his own left foot.

But Birmingham hit back with two in two minutes before Whitehead had the last word, poking home his first top-flight goal since April 2008 after Matthew Etherington's low cross had deflected to him off Scott Dann.

Stoke manager Pulis feels his team are consistently dealt rough justice by the law enforcers on the field, and the irony of Mark Clattenburg's appointment last night – his first appearance since allowing Nani's controversial goal for Manchester United against Tottenham last month – was not lost on him.

But he clearly accepts that four Premier League defeats in a row cannot be blamed entirely on bad decisions and the line-up he put out was shaped to revert to what Stoke do best.

Marc Wilson, Jon Walters and Tuncay Sanli were all jettisoned. Back came Fuller, fully recovered now from a dislocated shoulder, as well as Rory Delap, recalled after a three-game absence as the long throw came back into play, and Birmingham found themselves subjected to a ferocious first-half bombardment from which they were lucky to escape only a goal down. Alex McLeish was disappointed that Birmingham's comeback (Fahey volleyed past Begovic after picking up Danny Higginbotham's sliced clearance before Jerome glanced home a header from Seb Larsson's cross) came to naught. "It was a brilliant comeback but losing to a soft goal made it bittersweet," McLeish said.

Pulis's relief was palpable. "I thought we'd blown it but my lads are very resilient and never give up," he said. "We needed that win."

Stoke City (4-4-2): Begovic; Huth, Faye, Higginbotham, Collins; Pennant (Whelan, 72), Delap, Whitehead, Etherington (Wilson, 90); Jones, Fuller (Walters, 90). Substitutes not used Sorensen (gk), Gudjohnsen, Tuncay, Wilkinson.

Birmingham City (4-4-2): Foster; Carr, Johnson, Dann, Ridgewell; Larsson, Ferguson, Gardner, Beausejour (Fahey, 60); Jerome, Zigic. Substitutes not used Doyle (gk), Bowyer, Phillips, Derbyshire, Parnaby, Hleb.

Referee M Clattenburg (Tyne and Wear)

Man of the match Fuller

Match rating 7/10

Attendance 26,381

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Sport
Arsenal signing Calum Chambers
sportGunners complete £16m transfer of Southampton youngster
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

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on