Jones helps fire Potters to win
A battling Stoke got their New Year off to a good start with a hard-fought 2-0 win over Everton.
Last Updated: 01/01/11 6:47pm
A battling Stoke side got their New Year off to a good start with a hard-fought 2-0 win over Everton at the Britannia Stadium.
Kenwyne Jones stood out with a hand in both goals and as part of an attack that made life very difficult for the Everton defence.
A great piece of skill on the left touchline sent Matthew Etherington clear on 23 minutes and his floated cross was found by a towering header from Jones, beating Tim Howard convincingly.
Life could have been very different for Stoke, who were lucky to not go down to 10men on 31 minutes after a rash sliding challenge from keeper Asmir Begovic on Louis Saha just outside his penalty area. Referee Andre Marriner judged the high tackle to only be worthy of a yellow card.
Stoke were able to add a second in bizarre circumstances at the 69 minute mark. A floated free-kick was headed on by Jones and, after Ricardo Fuller and Phil Jagielka missed the next header, the ball rolled in after hitting the Everton defender's leg.
Stoke defended resolutely and Everton were unable to create many clear-cut chances. Everton boss David Moyes will be very aware of the difficulties his side are facing in front of goal as the only real chance of the game for the Toffees fell to Tim Cahill who headed wide from an acute angle.
Trouble for Toffees
Moyes had been hoping Jagielka, who also scored an own goal against Manchester City, could shake off a thigh injury to play.
The England defender proved his fitness to replace Tony Hibbert - who also scored an own goal in the Toffees' last game against West Ham - while Saha was restored in attack.
That meant Cahill was no longer deployed as a lone striker but did play most of the game up front.
Saha, without a league goal in 11 months, looked determined to make the most of his recall and burst into the area inside the first minute.
He went down as Ryan Shawcross appeared to kick him in the midriff but referee Andre Marriner saw nothing untoward.
Saha sparked the next decent Everton attack with a smart turn and pass for winger Seamus Coleman but Stoke dealt with the Irishman's cross.
Cahill led another Everton charge and fed Steven Pienaar inside the box but Begovic easily claimed the South African's shot.
Stoke should have taken the lead after 10 minutes when Jones headed a long Begovic punt through to striker partner Fuller.
The Jamaica striker headed forwards himself to beat Sylvain Distin and open up the defence but then dragged his low shot wide.
Touch of quality
The opener came after 23 minutes as Jones diverted another long ball into the path of Etherington and raced into the area.
Etherington skipped around Phil Neville on the left and picked out Jones with a perfect cross which the former Sunderland forward powered into the net.
Everton went close to an immediate reply but Saha snatched at a difficult chance.
The visitors had a better opportunity moments later when Leighton Baines found space to cross for the unmarked Cahill but the normally lethal Australian, despite a tight angle, surprisingly headed across goal.
Marriner had a difficult decision to make when Begovic rushed out of goal and brought down Saha just outside his area but a yellow card was the verdict.
Mikel Arteta fired the resulting free-kick straight into the wall and Baines also had a shot blocked soon after.
Saha and Pienaar combined to create another opening but the latter's shot was deflected over by Higginbotham.
Everton applied more pressure at the start of the second half but Pienaar shot well wide when he mishit a volley.
Stoke continued to pose a threat and Jones released Etherington down the right but Everton got back in numbers.
Moyes attempted to freshen up his side just after the hour by removing Arteta and Neville and sending on Victor Anichebe and Leon Osman. Jermaine Beckford was on for Saha soon after.
But within moments the Toffees' task had doubled after Jagielka's stroke of misfortune.
Everton were caught as Higginbotham sent a long free-kick into the box which Jones flicked straight up in the air.
Jagielka tried to get in the way as the ball dropped towards Fuller six yards out but got his feet tangled and it bounced off his leg and past Howard.
Everton could have replied within a minute after Cahill was brought down by Shawcross but Baines curled his free-kick narrowly wide.
But Stoke finished the stronger and the visitors were given a let-off when Fuller looked to latch onto another long ball but stumbled on the edge of the area.Dean Whitehead then volleyed over from a corner as Everton again narrowly avoided conceding a third.
|Stoke City||Team Statistics||Everton|
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|1||Shots on Target||2|
|4||Shots off Target||6|