Crystal Palace controversially beat Stoke
21st March 2015 3pm
The Potters slipped to a disappointing second league defeat in a row following an entertaining game against Crystal Palace.
A crazy 5 minute spell of defensive lapses shortly before half time combined with a couple of debatable decisions by referee Andre Marriner ultimately cost Stoke leading to a 2-1 loss.
Mark Hughes made four changes from the 1-0 loss at West Brom with Bardsley, Moses, Walters and Whelan replaced by Cameron, Arnautovic, Diouf and Ireland respectively. The introduction of Ireland led to Charlie Adam playing in a deeper role and it was something he seemed to relish putting in his best display for a number of months.
It was Adam who had the first opportunity when a neat interplay left him free on the edge of the box, but his effort curled just wide of the post. But the breakthrough wasn't long in coming when Adam stood over a free kick from 30 yards. His shot cannoned off a Palace leg and left Diouf free 12 yards out to poke home and put the Potters into the lead.
Stoke dominated the 20 minutes that followed without ever really threatening to add to their early advantage, but did at least look to be cruising defensively against the dangerous Palace wingers.
But all that changed in the 39th minute when a long ball caused confusion between Shawcross and Begovic, and it was Bolasie who nipped in first before being upended by the Bosnian and referee Marriner pointed to the spot. It was a contentious decision but the ball should have been cleared much earlier in the move.
Glenn Murray stepped up to confidently smash the ball into the roof of the net to draw the sides level at 1-1 but worse was to follow for the shell shocked Potters.
A long punt upfield was won by Murray who proved to be a real handful for Wilson all day, Pieters reacted far too slowly an allowed Zaha to nip in to slide the ball under Begovic and put the visitors into a 2-1 lead at the break which surprised most in the ground.
Into the second half and it was the visitors who were threatening. Puncheon skied a good chance from 12 yards before Scott Dann hit the post with an effort from 12 yards, but they managed to weather the storm.
The next chance fell to Ireland who expertly controlled a tame shot from Arnautovic before Speroni sprinted off his line to deny the Irishman with a great save, but the biggest talking point would follow shortly after.
The ball fell to Diouf in the box who steadied himself before driving his shot at goal, but saw his shot 'blocked' by Joel Ward, who seemed to use both hands before falling on the ball, but to the bemusement of everyone in the ground referee Marriner waved away the protests.
A lot of Stoke's best moments were coming through Adam and he again threatened when his free-kick was pushed over the bar. The same man looked even more aghast when his brilliant cross from the left snuck across the 6 yard box while his teammates just watched on.
Mark Hughes threw on John Walters in an attempt to get the equaliser, who put his weight around as you would expect but a chance wouldn't fall for him.
The last chance would fall to Shawcross from a corner, but his looping header would land on the roof of the net to signal a disappointing result on a day which had looked so promising early on for the Potters.