Stoke City 1-0 Norwich City
Last Updated: Sat, 03 Mar 2012 17:18
A Matthew Etherington strike midway through the second half gave Stoke City a narrow 1-0 win over Norwich City at the Britannia Stadium
The home defence was boosted by the return of Robert Huth after a three-match ban, with Matthew Upson making way, while January recruit Jonny Howson was handed a debut in the Canaries midfield.
Stoke started the brighter but were unable to forge too many openings against a stubborn Canaries backline.
Midway through the first half Dean Whitehead shot tamely at John Ruddy when well placed, before the hosts were forced to make a change, with Andy Wilkinson being replaced by Jermaine Pennant.
Just before half-time the home side had the best chance of the half, as a Pennant cross caused chaos in the Norwich defence and, when the ball dropped, Peter Crouch's effort smacked against the alert Ruddy.
The visitors brought on Simeon Jackson at half-time to bolster their attacking options, but still Norwich struggled to make any headway.
Stoke also found chances hard to come by and midway through the half Tony Pulis opted to make a double change, bringing on Cameron Jerome and Kenwyne Jones.
A couple of minutes later they found the all-important opening goal, as Etherington broke into the area onto a Jerome flick-on, beat his marker and slotted the ball past Ruddy at his near post.
Seven minutes from time Stoke should have added a clinching second goal, but Jerome delayed his shot and allowed Elliott Ward to make a block.