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Stoke City v Crystal Palace – August 24th 2013

Stoke City v Crystal Palace – August 24th 2013

Ryan Shawcross (left) wheels away in celebration after his goal for Stoke against Crystal Palace

Stoke fought back from a goal down against Crystal Palace to provide manager Mark Hughes with a win in his first home game in charge of the club.

The Potters went behind in the Premier League match when Marouane Chamakh out-muscled Ryan Shawcross, cut inside Robert Huth and slid home his shot. But in four second half minutes Charlie Adam stroked in a left-footed effort and Shawcross scored on the turn.

And Stoke went close to adding to their lead when Steven Nzonzi hit the post. The Potters showed they are still a work in progress as Hughes tries to bring both a more cultured approach and goals to their play.

However, although Premier League newcomers Palace acquitted themselves well, the hosts’ renowned grit and determination are both still in evidence and those qualities were the basis of their victory. Hughes was given a generous welcome by the Britannia faithful on his way to the dug-out at the start of the match and he might have had an early goal to celebrate had Peter Crouch’s finishing been better.

Crouch, who had managed just three goals in 32 games coming into the match, headed Matthew Etherington’s far-post cross over from six yards. The miss was punished when Damien Delaney sent a long ball forward for Chamakh, who showed more strength than Shawcross to win possession and then cut inside Huth before beating keeper Asmir Begovic with a low shot.

The assured finish from the Moroccan forward belied the goal-scoring reputation of a player who found the net only twice in seven games for Arsenal last season. The goal sparked a flurry of action and a Crouch header hit the underside of the bar and bounced the wrong side of the goal-line for the home side.

Having survived that scare, the visitors almost added to their lead when Dean Moxey took advantage of some hesitant defending to drill an angled shot just wide of the far post, while Jose Campana sent a free-kick fractionally high.

Stoke’s best chances were falling to Crouch but he continually struggled to apply a finishing touch, with the forward producing another wayward header from close range when he met an Etherington corner. Crouch did, however, play a part in the equaliser. He controlled a cross well and, along with team-mate Jon Walters, helped the ball on to Adam, who produced a calm finish.

A tiring Palace soon conceded the winner when they again failed to clear their lines and Shawcross sent a shot in on the turn from eight yards. New Palace loan signing Jason Puncheon had a strike gathered at the second attempt by Begovic but Stoke could have added to their lead, with Nzonzi denied by the post.

Stoke manager Mark Hughes:

“Premier League points are like gold dust and this was important for us. I’m a new manager working really hard with a new group of players. “In fairness to them, they have worked their socks off to try to implement what we are trying to do.
“We will get better – we weren’t great [against Crystal Palace] and we can play better, I think we all accept that. But the important thing was to get a positive result.”

Crystal Palace boss Ian Holloway: “I thought we gave a good account of ourselves. I was very pleased, especially with the first half. You could see in the second half we ran out of steam. “There were lots of positives for me. We passed it quite nicely at times. We just need a break for everybody to start believing in themselves. “It is a tough division, the Premier League. It finds out your weaknesses and we have still got a few.”

LINEUP, BOOKINGS (3) & SUBSTITUTIONS (6)
Stoke City
01 Begovic
03 Pieters
04 Huth
17 Shawcross Booked
20 Cameron Booked
12 Wilson
15 Nzonzi
16 Adam (Whelan – 74′ )
19 Walters Booked
26 Etherington (Pennant – 70′ )
25 Crouch (Jerome – 86′ )
Substitutes
29 Sorensen
05 Muniesa
28 Wilkinson
06 Whelan
07 Pennant
09 Jones
33 Jerome
Crystal Palace
01 Speroni
02 Ward
19 Gabbidon
21 Moxey
27 Delaney
06 Campana (Garvan – 63′ )
08 Dikgacoi
13 Puncheon (Phillips – 76′ )
15 Jedinak
16 Gayle
29 Chamakh (Williams – 63′ )
Substitutes
25 Alexander
28 Ramage
10 Garvan
20 Williams
09 Phillips
11 Dobbie
18 Wilbraham
Ref: Marriner
Att: 25,270

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