• Date: Sat 06 February 2010
  • Venue: Britannia Stadium
  • Ref: Bennett, S
  • Attendance: 27,386
Stoke City

Stoke City

Higginbotham (8)

Sidibe (45)

Etherington (67)

3 - 0

Stoke City vs Blackburn Rovers

Team Lineups

Stoke City

Thomas Sorensen
Danny Higginbotham
Robert Huth
Ryan Shawcross
Andy Wilkinson
Liam Lawrence
Dean Whitehead
Rory Delap (Glenn Whelan, 90)
Matthew Etherington
Ricardo Fuller (Sanli Tuncay, 79)
Mamady Sidibe (James Beattie, 81)

Blackburn Rovers

Paul Robinson
Christopher Samba
Gael Givet
Ryan Nelsen
Brett Emerton
Martin Olsson
Pascal Chimbonda (Michel Salgado, 65)
Morten Gamst Pedersen
Steven N'Zonzi (Steven Reid, 73)
Nikola Kalinic
Franco di Santo (Keith Andrews, 60)

Match Report
Matthew Etherington topped a virtuoso performance with a magnificent goal as rampant Stoke City strode to an easy 3-0 victory over a disappointing Blackburn Rovers side. Etherington, whose recent form has been noted by England boss Fabio Capello, earned a standing ovation for his sublime finish in the 67th minute. The left winger exchanged passes with Liam Lawrence before turning inside Gael Givet and caressing a left-foot shot beyond Paul Robinson from 14 yards. It resembled the land of the giants as two of the biggest teams in the Premier League locked horns at a packed Britannia Stadium. And Stoke were soon rewarded for an early barrage of set-plays when Danny Higginbotham fired them ahead from an eighth-minute corner. Martin Olsson headed Lawrence's delivery high into the air and Higginbotham, left totally unmarked, drilled in a low, left-foot volley from 12 yards. Stoke continued to force most of the pace, but Franco di Santo squandered a terrific opportunity to equalise in the 20th minute. Morten Gamst Pedersen floated in an inch-perfect cross for the striker who headed over from six yards when it looked easier to score. Blackburn did up the ante as half-time approached, forcing five corners in rapid succession and almost levelling from the third. Pedersen's out-swinger was met with a towering header by Chris Samba and it took a clutch of Stoke defenders to smuggle the ball off the line. Samba and Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross were both booked for mauling each other off the ball and there were several similar heavyweight tussles in this war of attrition. But Shawcross played a major part when Stoke doubled their lead after Rory Delap's long throw was only partially cleared in first-half stoppage time. Etherington lifted the ball back into the danger area where Shawcross flicked on and Mamady Sidibe stole a march on Givet to force in a low shot at the far post. It was all Stoke at the start of the second period and Shawcross almost put the game to bed when his header from an Etherington corner forced a fine reaction save from Paul Robinson. But it was as good as over when Samba, beaten by a splendid piece of skill from Ricardo Fuller, pulled the striker's shirt to earn a second caution and an early bath just before the hour. Fuller and Higginbotham, whose header was cleared off the line by Olsson, went close to a third before Etherington's piece of magic ensured Stoke's unbeaten run was extended to six games. It could have been more, with Higginbotham threatening twice more before Stoke took their foot off the pedal to coast home.
Live Text Commentary
Full time
 

Steve Bennett puts Rovers out of their misery. They lose for the ninth time in 13 away matches this season and see Stoke go above them in the table.

90
Yellow Card
 

Keith Andrews is booked.

90
Substitution
 

Rory Delap is replaced by Glenn Whelan.

89

Three minutes of added time will be played.

87

Rovers have created little in this second half and have been well-beaten.

84

Stoke have another corner. Beattie nearly gets a clear header, but Salgado clears behind.

81
Substitution
 

James Beattie comes on for Mamady Sidibe.

79
Substitution
 

Sanli Tuncay replaces Ricardo Fuller.

77

This match is over as a serious contest as both teams start to go through the motions.

74

Stoke win yet another corner and Higginbotham shoots wide from the edge of the area.

73
Substitution
 

Steven Reid comes on for Steven N'Zonzi.

73
Yellow Card
 

Ricardo Fuller is booked for shirt-pulling.

68
Goal
 

That wraps up the points for Stoke. Matthew Etherington evades Michel Salgado and curls a shot past Paul Robinson.

67

Robinson makes another decent save from a Stoke corner. Ricardo Fuller thought he had scored there.

65
Substitution
 

Pascal Chimbonda makes way for Michel Salgado.

64

Rovers win a free-kick on the edge of Stoke's area. Brett Emerton fires over. Rovers are staring at another away defeat here.

62

Stoke win another corner. Danny Higginbotham nearly gets his second, but Martin Olsson clears off the line.

60
Substitution
 

Franco di Santo is replaced by Keith Andrews.

59
Red Card
 

Christopher Samba receives a second booking and Rovers' tough task is now even harder.

57

Franco di Santo is pushed forward to support lone striker Nikola Kalinic as Sam Allardyce seeks a way back into this game.

55

A corner for Stoke. Paul Robinson keeps Rovers in the match, saving superbly from Ryan Shawcross' header.

53
Yellow Card
 

Steven N'Zonzi catches Dean Whitehead with a late challenge and receives a yellow card.

51

The quality of this contest is not improving as the fouls continue to stack up.

48

Brett Emerton gets into a decent position down Stoke's left flank, but his final pass is a poor one.

47

There are no interval changes from either manager.

Second half
 

The second period is underway. Rovers were the better team for long periods before the break but they must improve their defence from set-pieces and take their chances at the other end.

Half time
 

The half time whistle goes - Stoke are flattered by the scoreline, but Rovers pay the price for missing the better chances.

45
Goal
 

Mamady Sidibe scores his first league goal of the season as Rovers fail to clear an Etherington cross. Gael Givet is caught out - he should have picked Sidiby up.

44

Stoke have not built on their early goal - Rovers have had the better chances in a scrappy half.

43

Chimbonda clears behind to give Stoke a corner. Martin Olsson clears.

42

Stoke are down to 10 men as Andy Wilkinson's head injury needs more treatment.

40

Steven N'Zonzi strides forward from midfield but his effort is always rising and sails over.

37

Stoke finally clear to relieve a spell of heavy pressure.

36
Yellow Card
 

Ryan Shawcross is also cautioned.

36
Yellow Card
 

Christopher Samba is booked for a shoving match with Ryan Shawcross.

36

Rovers win a fifth corner as the pressure builds from Rovers.

35

The third corner in quick succession is cleared off the line from Samba's effort.

35

Sorensen punches behind when he could have caught the cross. Dean Whitehead clears behind for another corner, but Pedersen's delivery is again put behind, this time by the keeper.

33

The match is not being helped by constant infringements - this is a scrappy affair.

31

Brett Emerton fouls Matthew Etherington as Stoke make a quick break., but the referee keeps his cards in his pocket.

29

The match is lacking fluency as both teams struggle to produce a series of passes.

26

Andy Wilkinson suffered a cut to the head and is taken off the field for treatment.

25

Pedersen, Blackburn's own long throw specialist, delivers into the box but the whistle goes for a foul on Thomas Sorensen.

22

Stoke win another corner but Pedersen hacks clear after the ball bounces around the box.

20

Rovers have a good chance to equalise - Morten Gamst Pedersen whips in an excellent cross from the left but Franco di Santo heads over when unmarked.

19

Matthew Etherington has a chance to shoot from a free-kick 20 yards out, but he curls well over.

17

Thomas Sorensen gathers an aimless long ball from Rovers that poses no threat to the hosts. They need to do better than that if they are to draw level.

15

Ryan Shawcross and Ryan Nelsen battle for a long ball and the Stoke man gets the final touch as the ball flies over Paul Robinson's crossbar.

13

Martin Olsson goes down in the Stoke box but the penalty appeals are waved away.

11

Ricardo Fuller bundles the ball into the net but he is penalised for a foul.

11

Stoke win another corner as the hosts' maintain their early pressure.

9
Goal
 

Rovers fail to clear the corner and Danny Higginbotham hits a sweet left-footed first-time volley through a crowd of players.

8

Stoke win a corner after Pascal Chimbonda is caught in possession in his own half.

7

Delap gets a chance to deliver a trademark long throw, but Samba clears. He and Ryan Nelsen have important jobs to do today.

5

Blackburn win the first corner of the match. Morten Gamst Pedersen's delivery is headed clear by Delap.

3

Stoke have started brightly as Rovers struggle to retain possession.

2

Franco di Santo fouls Rory Delap in a dangerous area. Liam Lawrence's delivery is cleared by Christopher Samba.

Kickoff
 

Steve Bennett gets play under way in the Potteries.

Awaiting Kickoff
 

Tony Pulis, in charge of his 300th game as Stoke boss, makes four changes from the team that drew at Sunderland, whilst Blackburn have one alteration from the side that played West Ham, Franco di Santo replacing El Hadji Diouf.

Awaiting Kickoff
 

Goals might be in short supply at the Britannia Stadium today - these teams shared a goalless draw in their last meeting and both recorded 0-0 draws in their last league matches.