Stoke back on winning ways
The home fans had come to witness Neil Warnock's first home match as manager. If they'd expected an instant turnaround from the Eagles they were to be disappointed, instead they were to witness a great performance from a Potters' team still smarting after a rare defeat last Saturday and keen to get back on to winning ways.
Two goals from Richard Cresswell (also his first for the club) were just desserts for the striker that has been content to play out of position since joining the club at the start of the season. Tony Pulis decided to juggle the line-up with Mama Sidibe still injured and Jon Parkin's lack-lustre performance against the Owls last weekend, by bringing back Carl Dickinson in defence, allowing Dominic Matteo to return to midfield. Clint Hill was named as a substitute after cracking a rib a few weeks ago.
The first half was fairly forgettable, but the Potters had two good chances with a shot from Ricardo Fuller and a great run from Cresswell which ended with the player running out of space, allowing Palace to clear their lines.
With the start of the second half the game suddenly livened up. After just four minutes Stoke were ahead, Liam Lawrence's free kick found Cresswell's head and the striker was able to nod the ball home from six yards. However, the victory celebrations were short-lived, two minutes later Palace striker, Dougie Freedman got the Eagles back on level terms. The game was now on and it was the Potters who regained the initiative just ten minutes later with another Cresswell strike after a good shot from Lawrence had hit to the post to rebound straight to Cresswell, who fired the ball into the back of the net. With fifteen minutes remaining, Stoke made the match comfortable with Ryan Shawcross getting his fifth goal of the season after Rory Delap's shot had rebounded off the bar in a goalmouth melee.
Great result, which takes the Potters up to fifth place in the Championship, equal on points with West Brom who are in second position.
Crystal Palace: Speroni, Lawrence, Hudson, Cort, Craig, Fletcher, Watson (Fonte 46), Martin (Green 64), Scowcroft, Morrison, Dickov (Freedman 35)
Subs not used: Idrizaj, Hughes
Stoke City: Simonsen, Wilkinson, Shawcross, Zakuani, Dickinson, Lawrence, Delap, Matteo, Eustace, Cresswell (Hill 90), Fuller (Parkin 56)
Subs not used: Hoult, Sweeney, Phillips
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