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  • Higginbotham (8), Sidibe (45), Etherington (67)
  • Date:2010-02-06
  • Kick-off:15:00
  • Venue:Britannia Stadium
  • Attendance:27386
  • Referee:Bennett, S

Live Commentary

90mins

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.

90mins

Keith Andrews is booked.

90mins

Rory Delap is replaced by Glenn Whelan.

89mins

Three minutes of added time will be played.

87mins

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

84mins

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

81mins

James Beattie comes on for Mamady Sidibe.

79mins

Sanli Tuncay replaces Ricardo Fuller.

77mins

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

74mins

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

73mins

Steven Reid comes on for Steven N'Zonzi.

73mins

Ricardo Fuller is booked for shirt-pulling.

68mins

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

67mins

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

65mins

Pascal Chimbonda makes way for Michel Salgado.

64mins

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

62mins

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

60mins

Franco di Santo is replaced by Keith Andrews.

59mins

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

57mins

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

55mins

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

53mins

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

51mins

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

48mins

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

47mins

There are no interval changes from either manager.

45mins

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.

45mins

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

45mins

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.

44mins

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

43mins

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

42mins

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

40mins

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

37mins

Stoke finally clear to relieve a spell of heavy pressure.

36mins

Ryan Shawcross is also cautioned.

36mins

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

36mins

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

35mins

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

35mins

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.

33mins

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

31mins

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

29mins

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

26mins

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

25mins

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

22mins

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

20mins

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.

19mins

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

17mins

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.

15mins

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.

13mins

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

11mins

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

11mins

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

9mins

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

8mins

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

7mins

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

5mins

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

3mins

Stoke have started brightly as Rovers struggle to retain possession.

2mins

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

0mins

Steve Bennett gets play under way in the Potteries.

0mins

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.

0mins

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.

Match Preview

Stoke City and Blackburn Rovers meet at the Britannia Stadium with both sides looking for a win to push even further clear of the relegation dogfight.

The Potters have slipped down the Premier League table as a result of a run of just one win in nine games, with their most recent outing a drab goalless draw at Sunderland on Monday evening.

However, boss Tony Pulis was content with the performance at the Stadium of Light, saying: "We're now unbeaten in five games and starting to get clean sheets. Now we must keep that kind of form going against Blackburn on Saturday."

Pulis made just one move into the transfer market on deadline day, bringing in Portsmouth goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, although he will have to wait for his debut after Thomas Sorensen impressed against the Black Cats.

Central defender Abdoulaye Faye was forced off at Sunderland due to back spasms, with Pulis upbeat about the chances of the defender recovering in time to face Rovers. If not, Andy Wilkinson is likely to deputise.

Rovers head to the Potteries in good heart following two wins and a draw in their last three games, as run which has eased the fears of a relegation scrap at Ewood Park.

Boss Sam Allardyce did little business on transfer deadline day, instead placing his faith in the players who have impressed in recent weeks.

That includes Croatian striker Nikola Kalinic, who has netted three times in his last three games.

Allardyce recently told the Lancashire Telegraph: "I'm very comfortable with the squad, we're improving. We've put ourselves in a reasonable position in the league, but we have to go further than that and continue to pick the points up."


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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.

Stoke City

Blackburn Rovers

Corners

127

Fouls

1420

Goal attempts

Shots off target

53

Offsides

12

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