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Stoke hopes dealt blow

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Stoke City

Carrow Road


Attendance: 24,293


A 31st minute goal from Darren Huckerby sank a Stoke ship that had hardly looked threatening and their misery was compounded four minutes from time when Andy Griffin was shown a red card for a 'violent conduct'. The defeat combined with Griffin's likely three match ban could spell the end of this season's promotion challenge.

Stoke started the match fielding the same eleven that had performed well at Sunderland, but if this was the team in body, they were not at Carrow Road in the same mind as on Tuesday. Jon Parkin had a very poor performance, which saw him lose his place at half time to Ricardo Fuller. Gab Zakuani also had to make way for Lee Martin as Tony Pulis attempted to give the Potters some forward momentum.

Pulis was furious with the referee over Griffin's red card. He complained that Youseff Safri had stayed down to get Griffin sent off, even though the defender had, in his mind, got to the ball. He told the press after the game: 'Youseff Safri was so badly hurt he got up a few minutes later and ran over to take their next free-kick. That sort of thing goes on a lot these days, it's not just him, and it's something I find very disappointing.'

Stoke remain five points off a play-off place with seven games to go. It's still possible, but with Griff now looking out for three of those and that 'run of form' Pulis keeps hoping for not yet materialised, it's looking difficult.

Norwich City: Warner, Hughes, Shackell, Doherty, Drury (Fotheringham 23), Croft (Chadwick 76), Safri, Etuhu, Lappin, Huckerby, Martin (Dublin 80).
Subs not used: Gallacher, McVeigh.

Stoke City: Simonsen, Zakuani (Martin 46), Fortune, Higginbotham, Griffin, Hoefkens, Russell, Diao (Eustace 51), Lawrence, Parkin (Fuller 46), Sidibe.
Subs not used: Hoult, Dickinson

Star Player

Some good work again from Steve Simonsen saved the Potters from further blushes and he can't be blamed for the well taken goal from Huckerby.

Writer:Chris Baldwin
Date:Sunday March 18 2007
Time: 3:30PM

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