Belfast Telegraph

Etherington on the spot for Potters

Stoke secured an emphatic 2-0 Barclays Premier League win against Bolton on the day their proposed move for Hoffenheim's Senegal striker Demba Ba broke down.

Goals from Danny Higginbotham and a Matthew Etherington penalty were enough to seal the points.

Higginbotham made the breakthrough by scoring at the back post while Etherington converted his spot-kick after being tripped by Zat Knight.

Stoke spelled out their intentions as early as the eighth minute when Tuncay Sanli skipped away from Knight down the right, but he failed to test goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen, his cross-cum-shot going wide of the post.

Tuncay tried to pick out Kenwyne Jones in the 13th minute, but he put too much weight on the cross and the ball drifted out of play. Then Tuncay tested Jaaskelainen from distance with a chip that his opponent was equal to.

The home side were enjoying a good spell, with Robert Huth heading narrowly over the crossbar in the 24th minute following a Rory Delap throw-in.

Stoke made the breakthrough in the 37th minute following a corner from Tuncay. Bolton failed to clear their lines, with striker Johan Elmander heading the ball across his own area. Higginbotham took advantage, marking his return to the side by forcing a shot home at the back post.

Elmander and Stuart Holden came close but Stoke hit back and Tuncay got away from Knight in the 54th minute, only for his effort to go over the crossbar.

Bolton, however, were showing signings of improvement and Knight released Kevin Davies with a superb long ball that forced Huth to make a crucial block.

In the 62nd minute, Stoke made it 2-0. Tuncay sent Etherington racing clear and the winger was tripped by Knight as he broke into the box. Etherington dusted himself down to take the penalty and although Jaaskelainen deflected the ball onto the post, it trickled over the line.

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