Stoke continued their unbeaten start to the new year with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over 10-man Blackburn at the Britannia Stadium.
The hosts went at their opponents from the first whistle and, after Rory Delap had peppered the Blackburn box with some of his trademark long throws, the Potters took an early lead.
Liam Lawrence swung in a corner to the near post which Martin Olsson rose to head away, but the clearance fell straight to Danny Higginbotham, who struck superbly through a crowd of players, across goalkeeper Paul Robinson and into the bottom right-hand corner.
Two minutes later it looked as if Stoke had doubled their advantage as the ball bounced over the line after a ricochet in the box, but Ricardo Fuller was adjudged to have fouled Pascal Chimbonda in the build-up.
Blackburn's Christopher Samba had a header cleared off the line before Dean Whitehead miskicked from close range in first-half added time - but moments later Mamady Sidibe slotted in Matthew Etherington's cross to extend the Potters' lead.
Life got even more difficult for the visitors four minutes later as they were reduced to 10 men, Samba dismissed after a blatant tug on Fuller and it was 3-0 in the 67th minute as Etherington played a one-two with Lawrence, turned inside substitute Michel Salgado and placed the ball beyond the goalkeeper's reach.