STOKE CITY made the perfect start to 2011 . . . as they kicked off the New Year with a first victory over Everton for 29 years at the Britannia Stadium.
Kenwyne Jones set them on the road to the triumph by heading home his seventh goal of the season before an own goal from Phil Jagielka settled the game.
The win lifted City back up to eighth position in the Barclays Premier League table and brought an end to Everton's recent good run on their travels.
It was also the perfect way for the Potters to bounce back from successive home defeats which they suffered at the hands of Blackpool and Fulham.
Tony Pulis' side had other chances to add to their goal tally, with the recalled Ricardo Fuller in particular going close on a couple of occasions.
Pulis made two changes to the side beaten by Fulham, one of which was enforced by the suspension served by Huth for picking up five bookings.
While his place in the centre of defence went to Higginbotham, City's manager also decided to recall Fuller with Walters dropping down to the bench.
Everton also made a couple of changes, welcoming back Jagielka who had recovered from a thigh injury, and calling up Saha to lead their attack.
There was an immediate threat to the Everton posed by one of Delap's long throw-ins and Howard was relieved to see it land in his arms after it had been flicked on by Jones into the direction of Fuller on the edge of the six yard box.
City had an excellent chance to break the deadlock in the tenth minute when Jones flicked on a long kick from Begovic into the path of Fuller.
The Jamaican's astute header took him past Distin, opening up a clear path to goal, but from an excellent position he dragged his shot wide.
After Collins was booked for a foul on Coleman, Everton had a period of sustained pressure which almost led to them taking the lead.
There was one particularly anxious moment for the City defence when Baines whipped over a cross from the right hand side which found Distin at the far post whose downward header found Fellaini nipping in ahead of Begovic.
Fortunately for the Potters, the big Everton midfielder over-ran the ball and although Begovic made a save, the referee had already blown.
City had shown plenty of promise in the opening stages and they got their reward in the 23rd minute when Jones put them in front.
It was excellent work from Etherington which paved the way, as he left Neville in his shadow before sending over a cross which Jones powerfully headed beyond the reach of the diving Howard to give him his seventh goal of the season.
Everton had an immediate chance to hit back when Cahill flicked the ball through to Saha but he snatched at his shot and it flew well wide.
Another ball into the box from Baines caused more problems, although Cahill appeared to push Collins to escape his marker before heading across goal and past the far post, much to the relief of the Potters defence and Begovic.
There was a controversial moment on the half hour when Begovic emerged from his area to clear under a challenge from the onrushing Saha.
Although replays clearly showed that the 'keeper got to the ball first, the referee decided that it was a foul and booked the giant Bosnian too.
As the half drew to a close, Everton pressed hard for an equaliser and caused some anxious moments for the home defence, particularly when Baines whipped over a free kick from the right hand side which flashed across goal.
Everton were awarded another free kick on the left and this time it took some last ditch defending after Arteta had fired in a shot from 25 yards.
The visitors sustained that momentum and Pienaar saw his goalbound shot deflected over the bar after Saha had flicked on a Fellaini pass to him.
City were forced to soak more pressure at the start of the second half but Shawcross in particular was in commanding form at the centre of the defence.
The Potters captain produced a magnificent block when Baines fired in a shot from long range and then was on hand to clear the danger moments later.
City picked up two more bookings as Whitehead was shown a yellow card for a foul on Arteta and Delap was cautioned for bringing down Coleman.
Pulis made his first change just beyond the hour mark as Tuncay replaced Pennant, with the Turkish international operating down the left hand side.
And City stretched their lead in the 69th minute when the Everton defence buckled under the pressure exerted from a free kick.
Jones flicked on Higginbotham's delivery into the box and with Fuller trying to latch onto it, Jagielka turned the ball into the roof of his own net.
While Fuller could claim an assist on that occasion, he should have put the game beyond all doubt in the 73rd minute following another defensive mix-up.
When Distin and Jagielka got in a tangle, the striker broke clear but laboured in his attempt to get round Howard and was eventually crowded out.
City kept pressing for a third, however, and from another long throw-in sent in by Delap, Whitehead volleyed over the bar from the edge of the box.