Kitson fires Potters to Victory
Dave Kitson scored his first premier league goal for Stoke as they hung on for victory against Sunderland. Kitson struck just before half-time after a Liam Lawrence corner wasn`t cleared by the Blackcats.
Only Kitson retained his place from the game at Leyton Orient in mid-week. He partnered Ricardo Fuller upfront as James Beattie missed out due to a leg injury picked up at Birmingham. Dean Whitehead yet again missed out as Glenn Whelan and Rory Delap started in central midfield. On the bench were both new signings Robert Huth and Tuncay.
In the Sunderland team was former Potter Kenwyn Jones, who Stoke have reportedly shown interest in this week, and on the bench Danny Collins who looks set to join us this week.
Steve Bruce`s side made the brighter start as both forwards Jones and Darren Bent proved to be a nuisance as they shaded a very competitive first period.
The Potters fans had their hearts in their mouths as Bent evaded the off-side trap and latched onto a perfectly weighted through ball. As the former Spurs man bore down on Thomas Sorensen, Abdoulaye Faye tracked back superbly and timed his last ditch tackle to perfection to deny him an inevitable goal.
Last ditch defending seemed to be keeping the home side in the game as former Sunderland player Danny Higginbotham brilliantly denied Bent from 6 yards. Although Sunderland had been already spectacularly thwarted by the defence, Sunderland seemed to have the better of the Potters and looked like they could score at any time.
Stoke hit back and almost took the lead as Rory Delap`s troublesome throws nearly saw Ryan Shawcross nod City into the lead. Sunderland looked at sixes and sevens against Stoke`s most dangerous weapon as Rory kept on launching in those vicious missiles.
The pressure almost got to Sunderland as defender Nyron Nosworthy, who numbed the threat of Ricardo Fuller all afternoon, headed tentatively back towards keeper Craig Gordon only for Liam Lawrence to steel in and nearly give Stoke a lead.
As Half-time drew nearer Darren Bent almost curled a spectacular effort past Thomas Sorensen. Stoke yet again hit back but this time they took the lead. Yet another Lawrence corner deceived the defence and although they attempted to clear Kitson swivelled and crashed home a half volley to send home fans wild. At last Dave is up and running in Stoke colours at the Brit and in the Prem.
Tony Pulis sent his men out for the second half and they went straight for the jugular to kill of Sunderland. Glenn Whelan had a shot deflected wide before his fellow countryman Liam Lawrence had volley cleared off the line.
Matthew Etherington, who didn`t enjoy his most productive of afternoon`s, chipped a delightful ball across the box for Lawrence who headed inches wide of the near post.
As the game started swaying from penalty box to penalty box Ricardo Fuller decided to come alive. Fuller latched onto a perfect ball through from the impressive Kitson and drove the ball fiercely over the cross bar.
Kitson, who was by far having his best game for Stoke, almost doubled the lead as he rose to meet another Delap special only to see it fly over the bar.
Dean Whitehead was thrown on against the side he captained for 3 years in-place of Matthew Etherington but the crowd could sense the arrival of Tuncay.
The thousands of Stokies got their wish granted as the Turkish captain made his Potters debut. He made an immediate impact after winning the ball in his own half he ploughed over the half way line before searching out Kitson who chipped a ball into the box too far ahead of the flying Whitehead.
Just before the end Pulis handed Robert Huth his debut and he helped the Potters see off the remaining threat of Sunderland. The 3 points sees Stoke 4th in the table on 7 points.
After next weeks international break, Stoke entertain Chelsea at the Brit in what promises to be a more difficult affair.