Stoke 3-1 Norwich: Jon Walters and Joselu on target against 10-man Canaries
By Charlotte Marsh
Last Updated: 13/01/16 10:52pm
Stoke earned a hard-fought 3-1 win against Norwich in the Premier League on Wednesday evening, with the Canaries playing for more than an hour with 10 men after Gary O'Neil's red card.
The midfielder was dismissed for a reckless tackle on Ibrahim Afellay on the half an hour mark, with all four goals coming in the second half.
Jon Walters struck for the Potters three minutes after the restart, but there was brief hope for Norwich after Johnny Howson equalised with a stunning goal.
However, Stoke were too strong for the depleted Canaries, with Joselu adding a second before Ryan Bennett's headed own goal rounded off a comfortable victory for the hosts.
Mark Hughes' men now move up to seventh in the Premier League table - three points from fifth - while Norwich stay in 15th place on 23 points.
Norwich settled the quicker at the Britannia, but it was Stoke who tested the goalkeeper first after Marko Arnautovic let fly at the Declan Rudd after some great hold up play from Joselu, but the goalkeeper got down well to keep him out.
The visitors showed some great patience in their build-up play in the opening period, with their first effort coming courtesy of Howson, who tried his luck from 30 yards out - only to see the ball fly over Jack Butland's bar.
Dieumerci Mbokani was a work horse for Norwich throughout the game, and he was gifted a run at goal after a mistake from Afellay, who eventually got back to clear after the Norwich striker failed to make a quick decision.
Arnautovic was involved in two big opportunities as Stoke got on top. The first chance came just after the 20 minute mark as Walters got in front of his defender to latch onto the cross but could only poke wide, with Joselu rifling an effort into the side netting minutes later.
But there was no time to reflect on missed chances as another peculiar mistake - this time from Butland - saw a skewed goal kick at the feet of Wes Hoolahan, who happily took aim but could only put it wide of an open net.
However, the England shot-stopper certainly atoned for his mistake not long after, making a great save from Bennett at close range.
The turning point of game came just after 30 minutes when O'Neil was shown a straight red card for a poor challenge on Afellay.
It was an unnecessary tackle as the Stoke man was ushering the ball out of play, but O'Neil had other ideas as he flew into a crunching tackle on the winger, with staff and players alike up in arms as referee Neil Swarbrick produced the red card.
The final 15 minutes of the half saw Stoke in control, Walters having the best chance from distance that flew over the crossbar while Arnautovic scuffed a cross in the box that was eventually cleared.
It didn't take long for Stoke to get on the scoresheet after the break, with Walters firing home just three minutes after the restart.
Arnautovic on the left picked out his teammate at the back post - who had once again evaded his defender - poking home from six yards to give the Potters the lead.
But the goal of the game award had to go to Howson for his brilliant equaliser just six minutes later as Vadis Odjidja-Ofoeon controlled Hoolahan's cross on the edge of the box, chesting the ball into the path of his team-mate, who rocketed his shot through a packed box into the top corner.
The equaliser gave Norwich a second wind, but Stoke were still having the better of the chances as Erik Pieters got away from Nathan Redmond on the left, flashing a cross into the box but no one was there to latch onto it.
The Potters were back among the goals not long after, and man-of-the-match Joselu got the plaudits after some brilliant team build-up, with Afellay playing the ball into the path of the striker who hit the ball coolly past a leaping Rudd.
There was nearly an instant third for the hosts, with Pieters again causing problems of the left as he whipped in another cross, but Bennett made a vital interception to concede the corner.
Norwich could also have had another equaliser, as the impressive Mbokani found Redmond on the edge of the box, but he fired wide of the post.
Stoke were pushed all the way by their visitors but they eventually got their third 12 minutes from time and it was another assist for Afellay, as he sweetly struck a free-kick that found the head of Bennett, sending the ball past his own goalkeeper.
Peter Crouch entered the fray for the final 10 minutes of the game and he was in the mood for a spectacular goal, forcing a superb save from Rudd as he hit Afellay's incoming corner on the volley and while he was ready to wheel away for the celebration, the Norwich goalkeeper denied him his first Premier League goal of the season.
The big striker attempted a bicycle kick a few minutes later but failed to connect, with Cameron Jerome and Redmond both going close for another Norwich goal in the closing stages but the game ended in a comfortable home victory.
Stoke: Butland (6), Johnson (7), Shawcross (7), Pieters (7), Wollscheid (6), Walters (7), Whelan (6), Afellay (8), Arnautovic (8), Joselu (9), Bojan (6).
Used subs: Odemwingie (6), Crouch (6), van Ginkel (6).
Norwich: Rudd (7), Martin (6), Bennett (6), Bassong (6), Brady (7), Odjidja (7), O'Neil (4), Tettey (6), Howson (7), Hoolahan (7), Mbokani (8).
Used subs: Jerome (6), Jarvis (6), Redmond (6)
Man of the match: Joselu