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18:35 3rd April 2010

Stoke City 2 Hull City 0

LIGHTNING struck twice for Stoke City as they passed the all-important 40-point mark with a 2-0 victory over Hull City . . . and it was Ricardo Fuller and Liam Lawrence who did the trick once again at the Britannia Stadium.

Fuller struck in the sixth minute to give the Potters a flying start against Iain Dowie's men before Republic of Ireland international Lawrence slotted home the second in the final minute to ease his side's second half nerves.

It had been Fuller and Lawrence who netted the goals at the KC Stadium twelve months ago that took City to 42 points and secured their Premier League future, and this latest win will surely have done the same for them.

To make matters worse for relegation-threatened Hull, they had experienced midfielder George Boateng stretchered off with a serious facial injury and he was taken to hospital by ambulance as his side played out the final minutes with ten men.

Pulis made only one change to the side that won at West Ham and predictably it was the inclusion of Fuller in the starting line-up after his goal at Upton Park.

Captain Abdoulaye Faye and striker David Kitson passed fitness checks on the injuries they picked up at West Ham, while midfielder Dean Whitehead had to be content with a place on the bench on his return from a one-match suspension.

The Potters gained the perfect start when Kitson flicked on Robert Huth's ball forward and when Paul McShane got caught in two minds, Fuller burst clear of the Republic of Ireland international before calmly slotting his shot past Boaz Myhill.

Fuller's goal celebration was cut short as he pulled up with what appeared to be an ankly injury, but he eventually continued after lengthy treatment.

City found it difficult to build upon that flying start although Hull posed little threat at the other end in what was proving to be a scrappy encounter.

It took a couple of long throws from Rory Delap to spark a period of City pressure and Huth volleyed over from the edge of the box after Caleb Folan had only half cleared the first of them which was launched into the visitors' penalty area.

When Liam Lawrence switched to the left to take a corner, he eventually swung over a dangerous cross that was met by Kitson at the near post but his goalbound shot was blocked by McShane who turned it behind for another corner.

City were then awarded a free kick when Craig Fagan was pulled up for a foul on Matthew Etherington and it was the winger's free kick that was headed over the bar by Kitson, and that proved to be the last chance of the first half.

Not surprisingly, goalscorer Fuller did not reappear after the interval and was replaced by Tuncay who took his place alongside Kitson in attack.

It was the visitors who exerted more pressure in the second period although their biggest threat, a Jimmy Bullard free kick from 25 yards came to nothing after Faye had been booked for a clumsy foul which stopped Fagan in his tracks.

There were some nervous moments in the City half as Hull signalled their intentions to push for an equaliser, bringing on Geovanni and Jozy Altidore.

The Potters did go close in the 62nd minute when Danny Higginbotham flicked on a Lawrence free kick swung in from the left, but it flew over the bar.

Hull threw on another striker, Vennegoor of Hesselink, in their pursuit of a goal, but that left them having to play the closing stages with ten men after Boateng was stretchered off with what appeared to be a serious facial injury.

The experienced Dutchman was caught in the face by Tuncay's boot as the striker tried an overhead kick and Boateng attemped to head clear.

City made their one-man advantage pay in the final minute of normal time when Tuncay and Etherington linked up well to pave the way for Lawrence to calmly slide his low shot past Myhill and into the bottom corner of the net.

    Data provided by Press Association


    The Potters played out four replays to finally beat Bury in the FA Cup in 1955