Premier League - Huth heroics give Stoke win

Sat, 05 Feb 14:42:00 2011

An injury-time goal from Robert Huth saw Stoke City come from behind to beat Sunderland 3-2 in a topsy-turvy Premier League match at the Britannia Stadium.

Huth, whose error let Asamoah Gyan put Sunderland 2-1 up, got on the end of Jermaine Pennant free-kicks in the 84th and 93rd minutes as Sunderland and keeper Craig Gordon in particular failed to deal with the home side’s infamous set pieces.

Kieran Richardson had earlier given Sunderland the lead, with John Carew levelling on his home debut for Stoke - arguably from an offside position.

There was also a dose of controversy about Huth's late double - he appeared offside for the first and Sunderland felt there were fouls on Gordon in both melees.

The result leaves Sunderland sixth, although Liverpool can overtake them if they win at Chelsea on Sunday.

Stoke, meanwhile, creep into the top half of the table, four points behind Sunderland.

An unsurprisingly direct first half opened superbly for Sunderland, who took a second-minute lead when Kieran Richardson lashed in his fourth goal in three Premier League games after the ball spun fortunately from Gyan’s mis-kick.

But Stoke fought back and, after a Rory Delap delivery caused havoc, Huth almost levelled but fired at Gordon before poking the rebound over.

A Pennant corner gave the hosts another chance, Huth’s flick-on landing for Danny Higginbotham, who smashed his far-post finish into the side netting.

Eventually the home side levelled, Delap’s Olympian antics at play again but Carew looked offside when he prodded the ball over the line after Gordon was beaten to the ball by Huth.

Huth had arguably fouled Gordon, and there may have been a handball from Ryan Shawcross in the melee but - with the six-yard box crowded and the whole incident passed in a second - it was understandable that referee Lee Probert was unable to blow.

Two minutes into the second half Huth was guilty of an atrocious lapse in both concentration and decision making, allowing a long ball to drop over his shoulder and bounce in the box, then letting Gyan shrug him off and drill a low finish into the bottom right.

Huth’s aerial prowess and strength should have allowed him to easily win both duels but he failed dismally, undoing Stoke’s good work to come back into the match.

Much like the first half, Stoke responded well and much like the first half it was a combination of accurate set-pieces and weak goalkeeping that helped them draw level.

Scotland keeper Gordon was having a nightmare with balls from wide, spilling one Delap throw but saved by Bardsley, and dropping a Pennant corner but saved by Anton Ferdinand.

Sunderland were having more of the ball but rarely threatened as the game progressed, Jordan Henderson’s speculative shot after a short corner testing but not beating Asmir Begovic at his near post.

On 79 minutes Gordon did well enough after a Pennant corner almost allowed Carew a second, but he was at fault from a similar situation minutes later.

With six minutes left on the clock Pennant’s excellent free-kick delivery was flapped at by the Scot, with Carew diverting a header on goal that appeared to take the slightest of touches off Huth’s thigh for another scrappy equaliser.

Just like Stoke’s first goal there was an argument for both a foul on the keeper and offside, but the momentum was with the hosts and they attacked with renewed vigour when four minutes added time were signalled.

And again they exploited Sunderland’s panic at set pieces, a last-gasp free-kick was curled in brilliantly by Pennant but met with indifference from the visiting defence; Gordon was unable to meet the cross as bodies flew in, and Huth rifled the low finish in off the keeper.

Reda Maher / Eurosport

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