Stoke City 2 Wigan Athletic 0: Match report
The Potters made Wigan their 10th victims with two goals in six minutes by Ricardo Fuller and James Beattie. The breakthrough came with 21 minutes remaining when Fuller persisted in face of what Wigan manager Steve Bruce complained was "five attempted tackles" to fire home and enter double figures himself. Beattie headed the second, his seventh since leaving Sheffield United in January, after Matthew Etherington beat goalkeeper Richard Kingson to a 50-50 ball and lofted it goalwards. Related ArticlesManchester United v Arsenal: In picturesPremier League tableTelegraph player raterPremier League highlightsHow the title was wonRound-up: Newcastle and Middlesbrough relegation troubles deepenSo much for Stoke's lazy pre-season billing as "this season's Derby". Easily the most successful of the promoted trio, they have lent colour and atmosphere to the Premier League, if not the most attractive style of play, and this win took them above Wigan to the dizzy heights of 11th place. Tony Pulis, whose return as manager left many Stoke fans underwhelmed, was rapturously acclaimed during a post-match lap of honour. He declared himself "absolutely delighted" by a fifth win in eight matches, adding: "I'm told we're 11 points clear of the bottom three. The chairman will be doing somersaults." Steve Bruce, his Wigan counterpart, praised Pulis for "a fantastic job" but suggested that his own team, who have now lost six out of seven, had switched off after reaching 40 points. "I've tried everything I can, from pats on the back to rollicking and I've failed," he said. "We were running on empty in the second half after our midweek exertions against Manchester United." Bruce argued, justifiably, that Wigan merited an early penalty after Abdoulaye Faye cut down Paul Scharner. A swirling wind militated against good football, assuming either team had been capable, and Wigan's South Korean midfielder Won-Hee Cho, with a 25-yard shot that Thomas Sorensen tipped over, was alone in testing either keeper until Stoke got the party started.
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