DANNY ROSE inflicted a third home defeat of the season upon the Potters on Saturday afternoon in what proved to be a hugely controversial encounter at the Britannia Stadium.
The young full-back headed home the only goal of the game shortly after the half-hour mark, and then further irritated the home supporters by appearing to make the most of a challenge from Ryan Shawcross, which culminated in the skipper being dismissed.
Ironically, during the opening few minutes of the clash, Shawcross looked to be the victim off a deliberate elbow from Spurs frontman Emmanuel Adebayor – an incident that could have resulted in the Togo international receiving his marching orders.
Despite their numerical advantage for the majority of the second half, the hosts will feel aggrieved not to have registered a point having created numerous opportunities to do so, with Marko Arnautovic and Stephen Ireland both going agonisingly close.
Brazilian midfielder Paulinho was presented with a golden opportunity to rub further salt into the City wounds deep into stoppage time, however, he was unable to beat Asmir Begovic from 12-yards after being played through on goal.
Prior to kick-off Marc Muniesa was handed his first Premier League start of 2014 as boss Mark Hughes made one change to his starting eleven.
The Spanish starlet was include in the eleven for the first time since the goalless draw with Hull City last December, with Erik Pieters the player to make way.
Muniesa was rewarded for his impressive substitute showing at the Cardiff City Stadium seven days earlier – a game in which he was introduced prior to the interval due with Pieters struggling through illness.
Spurs boss Tim Sherwood opted to field an incredibly attack-minded eleven as he looked to build upon their recent run of good form.
The eleven goals scored in their previous three games wasn’t quite as surprising a stat once the game had gotten underway as the Londoners pushed forward at every available opportunity in a bid to find that initial breakthrough.
In truth, Stoke were forced to weather a storm for the opening 10 minutes of the encounter, and thankfully they managed to stand firm despite the best efforts of Aaron Lennon, who brought the best out of Begovic, whilst Shawcross made a crucial intervention to deny the winger a second opportunity moments later.
There was controversy when Adebayor appeared to elbow Shawcross in the face, and replays suggested that the striker was guilty, although referee Andre Marriner appeared to have missed the unsavoury incident.
Hughes’ troops managed to gain a foothold on the game however, and went close through the lively Peter Odemwingie on the 20-minute mark, whilst Ireland curled a delicious effort inches wide of the post ten minutes later.
Unfortunately, at the other end of the field the deadlock was broken when Rose stole a march of Geoff Cameron and met Adebayor’s teasing centre with real aplomb to send the visiting supporters into delirium.
Former Manchester City midfielder Ireland again went close with a long range strike before the break, whilst Peter Crouch, who struggled to produce his best against his former side, hooked an effort wide.
The half-time interval brought with it no changes for either side, but just seven minutes into the second half the home side were down to ten men when Marriner produced a harsh second yellow card to Shawcross.
If anything that decision rejuvenated the home side though, and together with the vociferous home supporters, they combined in unison to put the visitor’s narrow advantage under serious threat.
Austrian international Arnautovic flashed an effort wide of goal from 30-yards, before he tested Hugo Lloris with another thunderous attempt from the edge of the penalty area.
Stoke maintained their momentum and again went close through Odemwingie, who headed inches over after latching on to Arnautovic’s fizzed cross, before Steven Nzonzi whipped across a dangerous centre of his own that narrowly evaded the approaching Glenn Whelan.
Brief spells of Spurs pressure failed to seriously trouble the Potters rear-guard, but on the odd occasion an opportunity was presented their way the dogged City defenders came to their side’s rescue with brave blocks.
Hughes thrust Oussama Assaidi into the mix late on in a desperate bid to claim what would have been a deserved point for his side, however, he was unable to influence the game from the bench in the manner he has done in previous fixtures.
Arnautovic, the player looking most likely of being able to draw his side level, produced another piece of magic to neatly control substitute Erik Pieters' long diagonal, but shot tamely at Lloris when he really should have done better.