Stoke 4-0 Rochdale: Potters cruise through
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 23/08/17 10:13pm
Stoke eased into the third round of the Carabao Cup with a comfortable 4-0 victory against Rochdale at the bet365 Stadium.
The tie came 20 years after Rochdale were the first visitors to the newly-opened then-Britannia Stadium in another League Cup tie but there was little nostalgia on show on Wednesday night.
It was a 1-1 draw in 1997 but that would never be the case this time round as a team containing the likes of Kurt Zouma, Bruno Martins Indi, Joe Allen, Bojan and Peter Crouch raced into a 3-0 half-time lead.
Two goals from Joe Allen either side of a Crouch strike had the tie won before the break and Ramadan Sobhi completed the scoring late on with his first goal for the club.
Stoke, with eight changes from the Premier League win against Arsenal at the weekend, looked dangerous every time they attacked, particularly down the left with debutant Josh Tymon overlapping from full-back.
It was from the opposite side, though, that the opening goal arrived after 16 minutes when Erik Pieters' fine cross was met by Allen, captain for the night, who scored with a diving header.
Rochdale felt they had strong claims for a penalty when Pieters tangled with Ian Henderson but referee Scott Duncan did not agree. Matt Done then worked Lee Grant with a header as the League One side began to gain some encouragement.
However, Tymon's latest raid down the left soon had the visitors panicking again and only a good block by Kgosi Ntlhe prevented Ramadan from scoring.
But Stoke did not have to wait long for their second goal as Ramadan and Allen linked up neatly for Crouch to finish from close range just before the half hour mark.
The third goal came after a quick break down the right as Pieters again set up Allen, who applied the finish.
Stoke appeared to take their foot off the gas after the break and Rochdale came close to getting a goal back when Grant had to get down to save from substitute Steven Davies.
Summer signing Tymon almost got a deserved goal midway through the second half but the youngster's chip over the goalkeeper struck the crossbar.
Teenager Harry Souttar's defence-splitting pass sent Ramadan through one-on-one after 80 minutes and the Egyptian rounded the goalkeeper before rolling the ball in from a tight angle.