Crouch header sees off Hull

Date published: Monday 24th August 2015 1:39

Crouch header sees off Hull

In a poor game where clear-cut chances were few and far between, Crouch’s 71st-minute looping header from Charlie Adam’s pin-point cross beat Allan McGregor and found the far corner.
The striker had only replaced Mame Biram Diouf less than two minutes earlier, with the match-winner equalling Alan Shearer’s record of 46 Premier League headed goals. 
Victory is Stoke’s sixth in 11 league games, while Hull’s recent unbeaten run has been halted at three games.
Sone Aluko, one of three Hull changes from last week’s win against QPR, came closest for the visitors in the first half by dispossessing Philipp Wollscheid on the touchline before dragging his shot across goal from a tight angle.
Stoke, unchanged from their late win over Aston Villa, saw Stephen Ireland have an early shot blocked by Alex Bruce and Steven N’Zonzi drag a low effort well wide as the hosts looked to try to impose themselves.
Jon Walters flick from Victor Moses’ low, driven corner on the half-hour mark needed to be cleared at the far post by Jake Livermore, with the resulting set-piece seeing Phil Bardsley charged down in a goalmouth scramble by a combination of Aluko and Livermore. Play continued as the hosts appealed for a penalty, with Ireland’s scuffed volley into the ground bobbling kindly to McGregor.
The home crowd became increasingly frustrated as Erik Pieters was cautioned for a challenge on Gaston Ramirez and Moses was booked for catching Tom Huddlestone with a trailing arm as the pair challenged for a header. 
Adam replaced the injured Ireland at the interval and brought an immediate reaction for the Potters, seeing a low strike from distance go just wide before bending a free-kick inches wide with McGregor at full stretch. 
Crouch found the net for the fourth match running to give the hosts the lead, before striking wide minutes later after N’Zonzi headed the ball across goal.
Hull introduced Dame N’Doye and then Abel Hernandez in pursuit of an equaliser and won a series of corners, but the closest they game to an elusive goal was when Marc Wilson charged down Paul McShane’s close-range shot in injury time.  
SOCCER SATURDAY VERDICT – CHARLIE NICHOLAS
“The first half was pretty dismal and very little happened. There were only two attempts on target during the whole game and the second one was a goal. Adam came on at half-time and changed the tempo of the game. He got in the pockets of space and within five minutes, he had two really good efforts. They both went wide but you could just feel something was different.
“It was a really windy day, which you always get at the Britannia. Adam waited for Crouch to get into position and he just pitched the ball in the air so the big fella could get there in time and hit the target. Other than that, it wasn’t brilliant, not to be enjoyed. Jelavic was out, N’Doye was on the bench and Hull offered very little. The next two games could be massive for them – Sunderland and then they’re away to Leicester.”
Player Ratings
Stoke: Begovic (6); Bardsley (6), Wollscheid (5), Wilson (7), Pieters (6); N’Zonzi (7), Whelan (7); Walters (6), Ireland (6), Moses (6); Diouf (6).
Subs: Adam (7), Crouch (7).
Hull: McGregor (6), Figueroa (6), McShane (7), Bruce (6), Meyler (6), Huddlestone (5), Livermore (5), Dawson (6), Aluko (6), Ramirez (6), Elmohamady (5).
Subs: Hernandez (6), N’Doye (6), Quinn (5)
Man of the Match: Charlie Adam

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