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Stoke open with easy victory

2 - 0



Attendance: 27,385


Stoke opened up their season with a comfortable 2-0 victory over newly promoted Burnley. A header from Ryan Shawcross and an unfortunate own goal from Clarets defender Stephen Jordan gave Stoke a fully deserved victory.

There wasn`t much change from the side that we last saw win at the Britannia stadium last May. New signing Dean Whitehead was the only player unknown to the Potters faithful as he took up his place alongside Rory Delap in the Stoke midfield, with Glenn Whelan rested after his match for the Republic of Ireland in mid week. James Beattie and Ricardo Fuller were the chosen strikers as the pre-season form of Dave Kitson wasn`t enough to earn him a starting berth.

In Burnley`s team was former Stoke academy product Martin Patterson who was aiming to remind his former side what he can offer in the premier league.

The game started in a scrappy fashion and it was Burnley who had the better of it as Robbie Blake struck a firm effort from 25 yards that was well saved by keeper Thomas Sorensen. Although Burnley looked capable of scoring, at the back they looked panicky when Liam Lawrence and Matthew Etherington swung in deliveries aimed at the physically imposing James Beattie.

Stoke took advantage of the Burnley defence and took the lead after 20 minutes. Liam Lawrence won a free-kick off Clarke Carlisle just outside the area on the by-line. Lawrence dusted him-self down and swung in a deep ball towards the far-post where Ryan Shawcross was lurking. The young centre half out jumped the Burnley rearguard and gently nodded the ball back across goal leaving Brian Jensen stranded as the ball nestled in the bottom corner.

The home side realized they were on top and knocked the ball around with a renewed confidence after the opening quarter of the match.

Rory Delap was, as per usual, in the heart of the action with his daunting throw-ins. These caught the Burnley defence out time and time again and it was inevitable that Stoke doubled their lead. A quicker flatter delivery from the Delapidator was unfortunately flicked past his own keeper by Stephen Jordan.

Strangely there was a sense of irony drifting around the Britannia Stadium as almost a year to the day, the mighty Potters themselves were 2-0 down away at Bolton in their first premier league game.

Just as things couldn`t get any worse for Burnley they almost did on the stroke of half-time when a Ricardo Fuller header looped over Brian Jensen and would have found the net but for Clarke Carlisle`s dramatic goal line clearance.

Burnley manager Owen Coyle must have given his players the hairdryer treatment at half-time as his players came out fighting during the second half. Wade Elliot almost scored a tremendous goal from 30 yards as the Clarets piled on the pressure.

Again, scrappy play set in for the rest of the half as neither team kept the ball for a prolong period of time. The introduction of Dave Kitson saw him earn a standing ovation and he almost delivered his first competitive goal since his move last summer.

After evading the off-side trap Kitson with his back to goal turned and crashed a shot that cannoned the top of the cross bar and went over. Despair for the former Reading man who is still on the prowl for that first bit of luck.

Burnley chucked on Fernando Guerrero and Chris Eagles towards the end but neither could penetrate a typically stubborn Potters defence, lead at the heart by man of the match Ryan Shawcross.

Ricardo Fuller still looked to heap misery on Burnley`s debut match as he worked tirelessly throughout the match and almost scored a stunning individual goal. Sub Richard Cresswell almost grabbed his first league goal for the club for the first time in an over a year as his acute shot just went by the post.

As the whistle sounded at full time a less spectacular affair came to an end as Stoke managed to grab all three points without applying their best football. Job done.

Star Player

Ryan Shawcross- Showed why top English clubs are chasing his signature as was the stand out performer during a mediocre afternoon. Took his goal well, hopefully we will be seeing more of them!

Player Ratings

Stoke: Sorensen, Wilkinson, Ab Faye (c), Shawcross, Higginbotham, Lawrence, Whitehead, Delap, Etherington (Whelan 76), Beattie (Kitson 67), Fuller (Cresswell 87). Subs not used: Simonsen, Cort, Pugh, Griffin.

Burnley: Jensen, Mears, Carlisle, Jordan, Kalvenes, Alexander (Thompson 82), Paterson (Guerrero 72), Elliot, McCann, Blake ( Eagles 72), Fletcher. Subs not used: Penny, Gudjohnsson, McDonald, Eckersley.

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Writer:Charlie Bennett
Date:Saturday August 15 2009
Time: 8:50PM


good result for what could of been a tricky one
16/08/2009 09:54:00
The game did remind me of our first game against Bolton last season. Not much in it until we opened the scoring. Burnley remind me a lot of last season's West Brom - very pretty but they do need to buy a few players who you would not want to meet in a dark alley!
16/08/2009 10:04:00
Agree. v similar baptism of fire for Burnley as for Stoke last season. But I'm not sure they have the ability to improve. Their 'big' signing, Fletcher, was totally dominated by Ab Faye - but then who isn't?!
16/08/2009 11:52:00
It was a case of job done and where Fltcher is concened Burnley's hopes rest on a unproven talent whereas we signed proven seasoned pros
16/08/2009 12:27:00
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League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
C Leicester City 36 22 11 3 77 30
2 Spurs 36 19 13 4 70 39
3 Arsenal 36 19 10 7 67 25
4 Man City 36 19 7 10 64 30
5 Man Utd 35 17 9 9 60 12
6 West Ham 35 15 14 6 59 17
7 Southampton 36 16 9 11 57 14
8 Liverpool 35 15 10 10 55 11
9 Chelsea 35 12 12 11 48 7
10 Stoke 36 13 9 14 48 -14
11 Everton 35 10 14 11 44 6
12 Watford 35 12 8 15 44 -6
13 Swansea 36 11 10 15 43 -13
14 WBA 36 10 11 15 41 -14
15 AFC Bournemouth 36 11 8 17 41 -20
16 Crystal Palace 36 10 9 17 39 -10
17 Newcastle 36 8 9 19 33 -25
18 Sunderland 35 7 11 17 32 -18
19 Norwich 35 8 7 20 31 -26
R Aston Villa 36 3 7 26 16 -45
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