Premier League - Stoke edge out Blackburn
Fri, 01 Oct 16:55:00 2010
Stoke City edged out Blackburn 1-0 in a fiercely contested Premier League encounter at the Britannia Stadium.
A clinical finish from former Rovers trainee Jon Walters in the 48th minute separated the sides with the visitors unable to muster a response.
Neither side was able to force a breakthrough in a first half which lacked no amount of endeavour, but a touch of class to break the deadlock.
The Potters picked up more points in September than any other side in the league, and it was the hosts who began the game at a furious intensity to gain the edge early on.
Blackburn have now failed to score in their last four matches against Stoke, but Brett Emerton almost picked out an empty net in the 14th minute after Thomas Sorensen was caught in no man's land, only for Ryan Shawcross to clear off the line.
Rory Delap was a persistent threat with his trademark throw-ins, and the Irishman hit the post after hurling the ball in from the right touchline - the goal would not have counted, but it was a scare for Paul Robinson, who was comprehensively beaten.
The home fans thought Matthew Etherington had given their side the lead just before half-time after the winger took a long ball from Sorensen down with an exquisite touch, then found the side netting with a low drive.
Stoke have the best record of any side in the league on second-half performances alone, and the Potters were in front just four minutes after the break.
Kenwyne Jones won a towering header to flick the ball into the path of Walters, who kept his composure supremely to finish with aplomb and give his side the lead.
The forward signed from Ipswich over the summer made another fine run on the hour mark, and combined with the excellent Etherington who saw his rasping effort parried away by Robinson.
The winger was involved again in the 72nd minute with a sublime free kick which beat the Blackburn wall and looked to be heading for the far corner of the net, only for Robinson to tip the ball behind.
Jones caused havoc in the Blackburn box all afternoon, and an incisive delivery from Etherington picked out the forward at the back post six minutes later, only for him to head wide.
It is now 10 points out of 12 for Stoke, who kept their first clean sheet of the season to continue their fine form and assume seventh spot in the table.Dan Quarrell / Eurosport