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Match Report


Posted Sat 26 Nov 11 at 14:40 PM

Report: Stoke City 3 Rovers 1

The Britannia Stadium hasn't been a happy hunting ground for Rovers and that continued with a disappointing 3-0 defeat.

Rovers haven't registered a point at Stoke's home ground since the Potters' return to the Premier League and it was more of the same this Saturday.

The only notable point in an otherwise forgettable first half was Jermaine Pennant's brilliant 28th minute free-kick that was glanced home by Rory Delap.

Rovers had defended well but not posed much of a threat, neither had the home side in truth.

The visitors should have drawn level shortly after the restart when trickery from Ruben Rochina in the penalty area saw him tee up Mauro Formica, but the young Argentine missed the ball when five yards out.

And when Glenn Whelan's shot deflected past Paul Robinson moments later it was a missed chance that Rovers would regret.

Peter Crouch added Stoke's third, collecting Thomas Sorensen's long punt to steer past Paul Robinson, a poor goal to concede.

Rovers did grab a goal with five minutes to go, and a fine one it was as well, Ruben Rochina lashing home from outside the area, but it was mere consolation on a disappointing afternoon for the Lancashire club.

Rovers made just the two changes from the 3-3 draw with Wigan last time out. Both revolved around suspensions, Jason Lowe back in after serving his, replacing the hamstring Salgado. Whilst David Dunn served his one-match ban, meaning a return to the starting eleven for Argentine striker Mauro Formica.

As ever it was cold at the Britannia as the lunchtime game got underway, and for the first half the football on offer certainly didn't offer any warmth.

Not that Rovers were bothered as they started the match strong in the tackle and strong in the air, determined not to be bullied by their opponents.

The Rovers back four were all performing well to thwart any threat from the home side. The Stoke fans becoming frustrated with the football offered up.

Rovers hadn't created anything of note themselves either, more content to soak up the long balls forward and then look to pick their way through when in possession.

Until the 28th minute, and aside from the odd high ball into the box, neither side had threatened. But after Steven Nzonzi had caught Peter Crouch five yards from the edge of the box, Jermaine Pennant took the resulting free-kick and unfortunately for Rovers it was one of those near unplayable deliveries that left Rory Delap with the simple process of glancing the ball home.

It was tough on Rovers, they'd done well to restrict Stoke up until that point.

Steve Kean's side came out of their shell after that, an ambitious effort from Morten Gamst Pedersen flashed wide, whilst after good defending by Gael Givet Rovers broke forward with men over, but Ruben Rochina was perhaps a little selfish to shoot from distance, his effort deflecting wide.

From the resulting corner kick Rovers would go even closer, Pedersen's ball was delivered long to the back post, Scott Dann rose to head goalwards but the diminutive Glenn Whelan was there to head away on the line.

The clearance fell as far as Junior Hoilett but he steered the ball wide of goal.

Rovers ended the half on the attack, but from a clearance Rochina drove through the crowded box but straight into the grateful arms of Thomas Sorensen.

Both sides missed great chances to register further goals inside the first ten minutes after the restart.

Mauro Formica was the guilty party for Rovers, wasting Ruben Rochina's great work in the area to somehow miss the ball completely when just six yards out from goal.

Robert Huth was equally wasteful for the home side, a superb ball into the area from Matthew Etherington saw the German rise above Grant Hanley but somehow he powered his header wide of goal when it seemed easier to score.

Alas for Rovers, Stoke weren't to regret their miss as they grabbed their second goal of the day on 58 minutes.

Etherington's centre from the left found Jonathan Walters and with his back to goal he teed up Glenn Whelan to strike from outside the area, Scott Dann flung himself to block but the ball deflected off the defender beyond Paul Robinson and into the back of the net.

Both sides made changes for differing reasons, Rovers brought on Jason Roberts to add more threat up front, whilst Stoke looked to shore up what they had as Dean Whitehead replaced Jermaine Pennant.

But those changes matter little as Stoke added a third, and if ever there was route one, it was this as Thomas Sorensen sent the ball long sailing over the Rovers defence for Peter Crouch to slip the ball past Paul Robinson.

A poor goal all round for Rovers to concede.

The goal of the day came with four minutes remaining when Ruben Rochina registered Rovers' first goal at the Britannia Stadium, the Spaniard clipping a delightful effort beyond Sorensen.

And had Sorensen not pulled off a stunning one-handed save to deny Rochina a couple of minutes later who knows how the game had panned out.

But it was all too little too late as Rovers revival on the road came to an end in disappointing fashion.

STOKE CITY: Sorensen, Wilkinson, Shawcross (c), Huth, Wilson, Pennant (sub Whitehead 71 mins), Whelan, Delap, Etherington, Walters, Crouch (sub Jones 83 mins).

Subs: Begovic (GK), Higginbotham, Fuller, Upson, Jerome.

ROVERS: Robinson (c), Lowe, Hanley, Dann, Givet, Rochina, Nzonzi, Pedersen, Hoilett, Formica (sub Roberts 68 mins), Yakubu.

Subs: Bunn, Petrovic, Blackman, Goodwillie, Vukcevic, Henley.

Attendance: 26,686

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