Stoke 2-1 Derby: Tom Ince scores winner for Stoke in ill-tempered clash
Potters grab an unlikely winner as Rams midfielder Bradley Johnson appears to bite Joe Allen
By Blake Welton
Last Updated: 28/11/18 11:22pm
Tom Ince scored the winner as 10-man Stoke recorded a hard-fought 2-1 win over Derby in an ill-tempered encounter at the bet365 Stadium.
Sam Clucas opened the scoring for the Potters in the 24th minute, slotting calmly past Scott Carson after a delightful through-ball from Joe Allen.
But with the momentum in Stoke's favour, Peter Etebo needlessly saw red for a late challenge on Richard Keogh with Allen and Bradley Johnson also booked for their part in the resultant melee.
Derby appeared to be making their numerical advantage count early in the second period when a Harry Wilson free-kick restored parity before Ince grabbed an unlikely winner.
Stoke City made three changes with Cuco Martina, Erik Pieters and Peter Etebo starting.
Meanwhile, Derby made five changes - Jayden Bogle and skipper Curtis Davies returning to the fold.
Ahead of the game much of the focus was on Stoke boss Gary Rowett facing his former side, and, after being forced to walk past a Derby away support gesturing and brandishing inflatable snakes, Clucas' opener would have felt particularly sweet.
It was nothing more than the hosts deserved, who expertly weathered Derby's initial onslaught as Tom Lawrence threatened Jack Butland's goal from distance in the early exchanges.
However, tempers soon spilled over when Etebo was dismissed for a recklessly high and ugly challenge on defender Keogh, sparking a massive melee involving both sides.
The main talking point from which was Johnson's apparent 'bite' on Allen in the with the Derby midfielder escaping with just a caution alongside the Wales international.
Derby started the second period on the front foot and were soon deservedly level through a sumptuous Wilson free-kick.
At that point, Stoke looked to be up against it but showed real character to not only dig in but claim all three points as Ince slotted home from Clucas' square ball.
The results means Derby drop out of the play-off places while Stoke move up to 12th in the table.
Stoke City: Butland (7), Martina (7), Williams (8), Shawcross (7), Pieters (7), Woods (7), Allen (8), Etebo (2), Ince (8), Berahino (8), Clucas (8)
Subs: ,Afobe (NA), McClean (NA) Edwards (NA)
Derby County: Carson (7), Bogle (6), Keogh (7), Davies (6), Malone (7), Johnson (5), Mount (6), Bryson (7), Lawrence (7), Wilson (7), Marriott (6)
Subs: Tomori (7), Waghorn (6), Huddlestone (6)
Man of the match: Sam Clucas – Stoke City
Gary Rowett: "It's an unbelievable performance when you look at it - it took a lot of discipline to get pulled back to 1-1 and down to 10 men.
"We could have lost heart but we kept strong and took the game to Derby.
"I thought we picked and chose our moments to come forward well and passed the ball out of defence a lot better Derby for large parts of the game.
"For me, we did it under great determination and it's the biggest performance of our season - we needed to win, we did and I am really pleased and in some ways we deserved the result."
Frank Lampard: "It's disappointing to lose against 10 men, particularly after getting back in the game with a good goal.
"But we let them back into it and it was a mistake for their goal - the cross shouldn't have come in but when it does Ince gets free and if you make mistakes you lose games, it's as simple as that.
"After that we needed a bit more creativity to get through them, be a bit sharper in our passing and have a little bit more imagination.
"We're punching a little bit when you compare the investment Stoke have had for a newly-relegated Premier League team, but we have some good young players and tonight will have been a learning curve for them."
Man of the match - Sam Clucas
Having only recently returned to full fitness, the flame-haired Stoke midfielder epitomised his side's gutsy spirit throughout.
Never letting his head drop despite Derby's numerical advantage, the 28-year-old was also an integral attacking outlet and the chief architect for Ince's winner.
Stoke will face Reading at the Madejski Stadium while Derby host Swansea at Pride Park, both in the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday, December 1 (kick-off 3pm).