Stoke City 2 Bolton 0: Beattie worth his weight in goals
05 March 2009 02:23
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Goals from James Beattie and Ricardo Fuller sealed a vital win as Stoke continued their impressive home form.
Beattie scored his fifth in seven games after his £3.5million move from Sheffield United and Fuller netted 17 minutes from time to move Tony Pulis's side to two points clear of the relegation zone.
Stoke have now lost just once at home in their last 10 matches, and that loss was against Manchester United. With games to come at the Britannia Stadium against three of their immediate rivals during the next few weeks, there is a growing air of confidence that they will avoid relegation.
Beattie opened the scoring, giving the hosts something to cling on to, and when Fuller lashed home the second, there was little chance of any late capitulation. And Pulis praised the former England striker, saying: 'James is a larger-than-life character. Sometimes you need a challenge like this one to get you going.
'He's a good lad to have around the place. He never stops.'
Beattie opened the scoring in the 14th minute when Andy O'Brien headed the ball straight to Glenn Whelan who, in turn, headed the ball back over the defender for the striker to thump past Jussi Jaaskelainen.
Bolton were possibly the better side for the rest of the first half and Matt Taylor had three efforts saved by Thomas Sorensen. But Stoke held firm and a Rory Delap long throw led to Stoke's second after 73 minutes. It skimmed off Gary Cahill's head to Whelan, whose shot was parried by Jaaskelainen and Fuller slammed the rebound home from six yards.
Pulis added: 'It was a difficult game. Bolton made it hard work for us, but when you come here to play then you have to work hard for that crowd. The support we get around the ground helps us every time we play here.'
Substitute Ibrahima Sonko smashed a header against the crossbar from Liam Lawrence's corner in the final few minutes. That would have given the scoreline a far more onesided look than was merited.
But Bolton boss Gary Megson was not looking for any sympathy at the final whistle. 'We gave them a goal that needed to be seen to be believed,' he said.
'You won't see a worse goal than that conceded anywhere in the country tonight, never mind the Premier League.'