FA Cup: Stoke class is simply too good for Rochdale
Rochdale 1-4 Stoke City
Bojan Krkic and Victor Moses scored breathtaking goals at Rochdale as Stoke avoided joining the long list of Barclays Premier League teams to exit the FA Cup at the fourth-round stage.
After watching the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City bow out of the competition over the weekend, Sky Bet League One Rochdale were in the mood to cause another shock.
But Mark Hughes' side, the fifth highest-ranked team left in the cup, avoided an upset with a 4-1 win last night.
Bojan put the Potters ahead with an early first-time volley, but his evening ended soon after as he hobbled off with an injury.
His replacement Stephen Ireland doubled Stoke's lead at the start of the second half and Moses then set up a fifth-round tie at Blackburn with a dipping shot from an acute angle.
It could have been a different story had Dale taken their chances at the end of the first half when they had Stoke on the ropes.
But Dale could only muster a late consolation through Rhys Bennett and Jon Walters sealed the comprehensive win with Stoke's fourth in stoppage time.
Republic of Ireland international Walters admitted Stoke were in complete control of this tie.
Walters said: "It was always going to be tricky, but after the Bojan strike it was a professional game and we killed it.
"Before the game we knew what we needed to do," he said. "We did well in this competition a few years ago, but now we have Blackburn away in the next round and that's an interesting game for us.
"We are full of confidence and will take this into the league."
Rochdale: Lillis,Rafferty, Eastham, Lancashire,Tanser,Bennett, Vincenti (Noble-Lazarus 58), Dawson,Camps (Allen 63),Henderson, Done (Andrew 55).
Subs not used: Diba Musangu,Rose,Joel Logan,Bunney.
Goal: Bennett 78
Stoke: Butland, Bardsley, Shawcross, Wollscheid, Wilson, Nzonzi (Sidwell 46),Whelan, Arnautovic, Bojan (Ireland 32), Moses (Adam 75), Walters. Subs not used: Pantilimon, Cabral, Mavrias, Graham.
Goals: Bojan 4, Ireland 52, Moses 62, Walters 90
Bookings: Rochdale: Vincenti, Bennett.
Stoke: Bojan, Wilson, Sidwell, Bardsley.
Man of the match: Moses
Match rating: 6/10
Referee: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire)