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19:53 13th November 2010

It's A Caribbean Dream For City

STOKE CITY'S 'Caribbean dream' Ricardo Fuller and Kenwyne Jones struck the goals which gave Stoke City their first victory over one of the Premier League's big four as they claimed a 2-0 victory over Liverpool at the Britannia Stadium.

Jamaican international Fuller followed up his magnificent solo effort against Birmingham with a 55th minute strike and then Trinidad and Tobago star Jones swept home the second in the closing stages to give City a win they thoroughly deserved.

The Potters had started the game in the bottom three after earlier results, but the win sent them up to tenth place, going above Liverpool on goal difference.

Roy Hodgson's side looked a pale shadow of the team that had undergone a recent resurgence, but that was due to City's excellent performance as they made it two successive victories after the dramatic 3-2 triumph over Birmingham City in midweek.

They stifled the threat of Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard and caused Liverpool constant problems from long throw-ins and set-pieces.

Pulis had made two changes to the side which beat Birmingham, welcoming back Ryan Shawcross from suspension and calling up Andy Wilkinson.

With Abdoulaye Faye and Danny Higginbotham the players to drop out, Pulis paired Shawcross and Robert Huth at the heart of the Potters' defence.

City made the brighter start and were unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty in the fourth minute as Rodriguez bundled over Fuller in the box.

Whitehead, matchwinner in the Birmingham game, featured prominently in the early stages and set up Fuller for the striker to fire over the bar.

When City won their first throw-in, Reina flapped at Delap's trademark delivery into the box, but he redeemed himself with a smart save diving low to his right when Whitehead unleashed a fierce drive from the 25 yards which appeared to be going in.

The Potters went close to breaking the deadlock in the 10th minute when Jones was left with a free header from Pennant's corner but planted it wide of the target, although it was clear Huth was being manhandled by Skrtel at the far post.

Whitehead was then only a few inches off target with a thunderous volley from fully 30 yards out after Jones had headed the ball down to him.

It was not surprising that Roy Hodgson had an anxious look on his face on the touchline as City pressed hard for an opening goal.

Another long throw-in caused havoc in the Liverpool defence as Huth headed it on and Pennant tried to get in a shot at the far post.

Little had been seen of Liverpool at this stage, but Gerrard produced a shot out of nothing that had Begovic moving low to his right to save, and then City's 'keeper had to be alert again when Meireles tried his luck from 25 yards.

City hit back and went close to breaking the deadlock in the closing stages of the half when Jones forced his way down the right and drilled over a low cross that found Etherington racing in, but he stabbed his shot wide of the far post.

The Potters knew that they only needed to give Torres one sight of goal for it to prove costly, but he was off target with a tame effort when he got a chance just before the break and so the first half ended with the game goalless.

City had cause to complain to the referee when Skrtel blocked off Jones as he attempted to challenge Reina for another long throw-in.

But it was from a Delap throw that they eventually took the lead in the 55th minute as the Liverppol defence struggled to deal with it again.

The ball broke to Etherington at the far post and he squared for Fuller on the edge of the six yard box whose first effort was blocked but the striker stabbed home the second attempt from close range . . . his 49th goal in City colours.

There was a let off for City a few moments later when Kuyt burst down the right and pulled the ball back for Rodriguez who struck his shot first time and clearly thought it was going in, but Begovic got down to smother it between his legs.

City high tempo game was putting Liverpool under pressure and Jones shrugged off his marker to get free and sent a left foot shot wide of Reina but also past the far post.

Begovic's handling was good when under pressure as Gerrard whipped a dangerous ball into the box and then Konchesky fired a free kick high and wide.

City had a break on moments after Walters had been introduced in place of Fuller and it was the substitute who burst forward but tried to curl his shot in at the far post only to see it drift wide of the target.

But the Potters got the cushion of a two-goal lead when Pennant slipped a pass into the path of Jones who kept his cool and swept a low shot past Reina.

To make matters worse for Liverpool, they had Lucas sent off in the final few minutes for a second bookable offence.

    Data provided by Press Association


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