Cameron Jerome and Robert Huth eased Stoke into the fifth round of the FA Cup with a 2-0 victory over a lacklustre Derby.
Striker Jerome's close-range effort in the fifth minute and centre-back Huth's 81st-minute volley comfortably saw the Potters home at Pride Park.
Derby, who had won their previous five league and cup matches on home soil, barely mustered anything of note as goalkeeper Asmir Begovic enjoyed what was virtually an afternoon off.
The Rams had kept four successive clean sheets coming into this match, but they were undone by a short corner involving Matthew Etherington and Glenn Whelan. It was Whelan who eventually delivered a low ball into the heart of the area which was touched initially on by Marc Wilson before hitting Huth.
The giant defender then appeared poised to smash the ball into the net, but it was Jerome who had the final say by prodding home from close range for his third goal in as many appearances, and fourth in last five.
When a tame Dean Whitehead header fell into the path of Jeff Hendrick, the midfielder cracked an 18-yard half-volley narrowly wide, which was as close as Derby came all half.
Derby huffed and puffed in the closing 15 minutes of the opening period, but there was nothing to show for their efforts other than two penalty appeals. The first saw Jamie Ward fall in the area with Stoke skipper Ryan Shawcross in close attendance as they ran on to a long through ball from Hendrick in the 39th minute
Referee Mark Clattenburg was unimpressed, much to Ward's fury and that of the Derby fans, as he was again a few minutes later when there were shouts of handball against Whitehead.
Sadly, despite the apparent best intentions of both sides, there was little to enthuse in the second half until the 73rd minute. It was Jermaine Pennant, in particular, who brought out a stunning save from Derby goalkeeper Frank Fielding from a 35-yard free-kick that was arrowing towards the bottom right-hand corner.
Then in the 80th minute, from another Pennant corner, this time an outswinger, Stoke clinched their place in the fifth round. Huth was allowed to meet the delivery on the volley from 10 yards, with the shot possessing too much pace as it squirmed underneath Fielding.
- Sports & Recreation
- Sports & Recreation/Soccer