Date: 31st August 2008 at 5:02pm
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Stoke’s new found confidence continued through to the Riverside as they showed all the grit and strength that had been evident in the win last weekend against Villa. For most of the first half they comfortably held Middlesborough at bay and created chances at the other end, but it was an unnecessary two-footed challenge from Amdy Faye that killed off what could have been a productive afternoon on Teesside.

Faye’s 36th minute red card allowed the home side a free kick on the edge of the penalty area and Alves put it right into the top left corner of the net giving Thomas Sorensen no chance.

For the second time in two away games, Stoke have been undone by an unstoppable goal from the home side. But, in contrast to the match against Bolton, this time their heads did not drop despite being down to 10 men. Stoke battled back and Fuller should have had a penalty awarded after it appeared that he had been pulled down and the home side failed to make the most of their numerical advantage. It took a dubious decision from the referee to give Boro their next golden opportunity. On the hour mark, Seyi Olofinjana was adjudged to have brought down Alves in the penalty area and Downing stepped up, but justice was done as he struck the penalty kick against the crossbar.

With twenty minutes remaining, the Potters handed themselves a chance to come away with at least a point as Liam Lawrence’s cross was bundled into the net by Boro defender, Hoyte as he was being pressured by Dave Kitson. But with the Potters just needing to continue their resolute defending for just five more minutes, they were undone by Andy Wilkinson who unwittingly played Tuncay onside who had no problem putting the ball past Sorensen.

Middlesbrough: Turnbull, Hoyte (Taylor 72), Wheater, Huth, Pogatetz, Aliadiere, Shawky (Digard 61), O’Neil, Downing, Alves (Mido 76), Tuncay
Subs not used: Steele, Riggott, Emnes, Adam Johnson

Stoke City: Sorensen, Griffin, Cort, Abdoulaye Faye, Dickinson (Wilkinson 67), Lawrence, Olofinjana, Amdy Faye, Delap, Kitson (Cresswell 83), Fuller (Sidibe 74)
Subs not used: Simonsen, Whelan, Diao, Buxton