Former Tottenham player Matthew Etherington hit a brace to end his former employee’s 11 match unbeaten run and give Stoke a third straight victory. The victory sees Stoke rise to 8th in the league.
Tony Pulis named an unchanged side as Andy Wilkinson failed a late fitness test which meant Jonathon Woodgate continued to deputise at right back, whilst local boy Ryan Shotton kept his position on the right flank. Tottenham made one change from last week, as Rafael Van Der Vaart replaced Jermain Defoe.
Stoke came out of the blocks flying as Ryan Shotton long throw was header half clear by Assou-Ekotto, Matthew Etherington hit a volley from just inside the penalty, only for the league`s oldest player to get down to his left and palm the ball away.
Stoke`s bright start was soon rewarded in the 13th minute as an overlapping Ryan Shotton managed to get a deflected cross into the box which ballooned into the air, and Jonathan Walters won the header and the resulting flick on found Crouch who was pushed wide but was able to fight against both Gallas and Friedel and the get the ball back across the face of goal via a deflection from the goalkeepers leg and into the path of Matthew Etherington who made no mistake this time by smashing the ball home with his weaker foot. GOAL: 1-0
Spurs tried to find an equaliser and Aaron Lennon skinned Ryan Shotton too easily but Woodgate covered the youngster but lunged into the challenge and took Lennon out. The tackle resulted in a booking for Woodgate. The freekick then resulted in some maintained pressure, with a number of corners and throw in`s, in the Stoke half. The ball did finally make it to Luka Modric who let rip from 30 yards, and with the ball looking destined for the bottom corner, Danish goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen got down well to his right to tip the ball wide.
With the half time whistle coming ever closer, Peter Crouch won yet another header against Assou-Ekotto, who he dominated all first half. The Stoke striker then found the energetic Shotton, who then nut megged Assou-Ekotto, but was stopped in his tracks by Gallas. From the resulting long throw, Jonathon Walters won yet another header and the ball found its way to the far past, and with the Tottenham defence static, Matthew Etherington rushed in and scuffed a shot off his heel, but the ball ballooned over the stranded Friedel and Kaboul and nestled into the net. GOAL: 2-0: Half Time
Harry Redknapp made a bold double substitution at half time which saw a change of personnel and change of formation for Spurs. Jermain Defoe and Sebastien Bassong came on for Aaron Lennon and Benoit Assou-Ekotto. Tottenham went 3-4-1-2 as Kyle Walker moved out to the right wing.
No such action happened in the second until the clock struck the hour mark, Defoe managed to spread the ball out to Kyle Walker who whipped in a great ball with pace, but agonizingly missed both Scott Parker and Emmanuel Adebayor, which allowed a combination of Woodgate and Shawcross to clear Stoke`s lines. The resulting corner was taken short by Gareth Bale into Luka Modric who goes around Whelan with a step over, only for the Irish international to leave his leg out and for the Croatian to go over it. Chris Foy pointed to the spot and Emmanuel Adebayor sent the Stoke goalkeeper the wrong way. Game on. GOAL: 2-1
Tottenham sensed a way back into the game and continued to pressure the Stoke backline. Ever consistent Modric once again found space in the midfield and threaded a ball to Scott Parker who drives a shot towards to the top corner from 25 yards for only the experienced Sorensen to pull out a world class save to thwart the Tottenham captain. From the resulting corner which was taken by Modric, Stoke captain Ryan Shawcross seems to bundle over Kaboul, but Chris Foy waves away the appeals. Looking back on it, Shawcross gets very lucky. Emmanuel Adebayor did nearly equalise though as the ball was still alive from the corner, and the Togolese cut inside from the left and tried to curl the ball inside the far post, but the ball just drifted wide. Kaboul continued to protest to the referee and was booked for dissent after humorously suggesting the referee needs glasses.
Spurs were definitely on top, and the Britannia Stadium faithful were wondering whether their team could hold on. Modric once again made space for himself at the edge of the area, but not for the first time Sorensen was once again on hand to stop the Croatian. Tottenham`s pressure was now becoming relentless, and once again Modric was the architect as he whipped the ball across the face of the goal with the outside of his boot, but Sorensen grew a couple of inches to take the ball out of the path of the oncoming Defoe, but the ball fell to Kaboul on the edge of the 6 yard box who smashes the ball goal bound only for Shawcross to block off the line, the ball was then pinballed around inside the penalty and the ball finally fell to Adebayor who put the ball into the back of the net. The goal was chalked off though for offside. Replays once again show that Stoke were very fortunate as Shawcross appeared to handle the ball on the line and that Marc Wilson was keeping 3 Tottenham players on side.
This latest setback didn`t dishearten the Spurs players though as they once again came at Stoke as England International Parker ran down the left wing and got to the byline and managed to pull the ball back to Defoe for only his shot to be blocked by Dean Whitehead`s midriff. The ball did seem to glance Whitehead`s arm afterwards, and I`ve seen them given before, but it would have been harsh.
In a rare Stoke attack Jonathon Walters got the wrong side of Kaboul who then brought down the Irish international. Chris Foy showed the Frenchmen his second yellow, who had to go for an early shower. Stoke then made a substitute by bringing on Delap for Woodgate. This saw Shotton move to right back, Whitehead to right midfield and Delap to slot in at centre midfield.
Stoke nearly doubled their lead as Etherington`s scintillating corner was headed by Shawcross who got in front of his marker at the front post, but Friedel managed to parry the ball over the bar for another Stoke corner. The following corner was almost an action replay as once again the Stoke captain wins the header at the front post but this time smashes his effort onto the bar.
Stoke then brought on their 4th former Tottenham player to play any part in this fixture, as Wilson Palacios replaced goal hero Matthew Etherington. Harry Redknapp final throw of the dice saw Giovanni Dos Santos replace Dutchman Van Der Vaart.
The substitute was too late though and Stoke came out victors.
Stoke City 2 (Etherington 13, 43) Tottenham Hotspur 1 (Adebayor PEN 60)
I`ve got to admit Stoke got a lot of the rub of the green and if I was a Tottenham fan would be very annoyed at the performance of the officials, but Stoke came out of the blocks flying and managed to grab two scrappy goals before half time which was enough to send the fans home happy.
Sorensen, Woodgate (Delap), Shawcross, Huth, Wilson, Shotton, Whelan, Whitehead, Etherington (Palacios), Walters, Crouch
Friedel, Walker, Kaboul, Gallas, Assou-Ekotto (Bassong, Lennon (Defoe), Modric, Parker, Bale, Van Der Vaart (Dos Santos), Adebayor