Shay Given own goal enough for Everton to record first home win over Potters in three years.
Michael Oliver centre of attention as another controversial penalty decision goes against Mark Hughes’ side.
Austrian international Marko Arnautovic rattled the woodwork late on for the luckless visitors.
CONTROVERSY rained on Stoke City for a second successive weekend as Everton claimed a narrow 1-0 win at Goodison Park on Saturday afternoon.
Whilst Mike Dean was in the spotlight for his handling of two penalty incidents at the bet365 Stadium seven days earlier, Michael Oliver was at the centre of attention on Merseyside.
The official opted to punish Phil Bardsley for a relatively innocuous pull on Ashley Williams’ shirt moments after the half-time interval - presenting Leighton Baines with a golden opportunity from the penalty spot.
And whilst Shay Given produced a stunning save to deny the Belgian midfielder, luck conspired against him as the ball bounced off the post, on to the back of his head before rolling agonisingly over the line.
The Potters knew they would face a real challenge against the Toffees, who appointed Ronald Koeman as manager during the summer months, but they will feel aggrieved not to have taken a point from the fixture.
The home side enjoyed the better of the first-half, but weren’t quite as penetrative or aggressive in attacking areas as they would have liked, with Romelu Lukaku twice opting to square across goal rather than pulling the trigger himself.
Marko Arnautovic and Bardsley didn’t need to be asked twice as they attempted audacious long-rang strikes that missed the target - whilst at the other end Shay Given reacted well to deny the impressive Mirallas.
It was the second half that the visitors really came to life though, despite the hosts being gifted the chance to break the deadlock by Michael Oliver, who harshly pulled Phil Bardsley up for the slightest touch on Ashley Williams.
Baines stepped up to the spot, Shay Given made a superb save to palm the ball on to the post - but watched in horror as the ball bounced off the post, on to his head and rolled over the line.
Stoke reacted well and were hugely unfortunate not to have been back on level terms when some crips City interchange culminated in Arnautovic’s deflected strike rattling the woodwork, before being hacked away with Joe Allen ready to pounce.
The Austrian international was at the heart of the action once more moments later, but after finding himself in a one-on-one situation, he opted to square the ball to Walters, who had already made a run forward by the time the ball drifted inches behind him.
Hughes thrust Jonathan Walters, Bojan and Ramadan into the action in a late bid to claim a point, but it proved to be too little too late as the Toffees finally ended their home hoodoo against the boys from North Staffordshire.
PAYING THE PENALTY
For a second successive weekend the Potters found themselves penalised for ‘shirt-pulling’ inside the 18-yard box.
Whilst Ryan Shawcross was adjudged to have manhandled Nicolas Otamendi seven days earlier, Phil Bardsley was the culprit this time round, holding Ashley Williams shortly after the interval.
But, similarly to the fixture against Manchester City, the Toffees themselves were guilty of the same offence, although frustratingly Michael Oliver, on several occasions, decided to wave play on.
As Hughes alluded to in his pre-match press-conference, he has no issue with officials making a stance on deliberate fouls inside the penalty area, as long as they are consistent with their decisions.
Frustratingly, and much to the Potters’ demise, that wasn’t the case on Merseyside.
REASONS TO IMPRESS
For both Stoke and Everton’s English representation in the starting line-ups there were more reasons than ever to impress at Goodison Park.
For recently-appointed England boss Sam Allardyce was in attendance casting his eye over the likes of Ryan Shawcross, Peter Crouch, Phil Jagielka and Ross Barkley.
Crouch, who was earning his first league start since early May, issued a firm reminder of just what he can bring to the table - causing a real nuisance of himself with his height and intracity on the ball.
The Potters undoubtedly played a more direct style of football to accommodate the inclusion of the 35-year-old, something that isn’t synonymous with Hughes, but in truth it was relatively effective at both ends of the pitch.
Always an option to long to at times of heavy Everton pressure, Crouch was also effective in his own penalty area, making five clearances throughout the encounter, as well as producing a tremendous acrobatic goalie clearance to thwart Ashley Williams.
Shawcross, who has one international cap to his name, gave Allardyce plenty to ponder too - producing without doubt his most solid showing of the term to date.
He ushered the backline remarkably well, made an outstanding challenge on Romelu Lukaku, who had rounded Shay Given, and looked comfortable on the ball - helping to build attacks from the back.
Whether the pair did enough to force themselves into the forthcoming England squad, which is announced next week, remains to be soon - although the pair will be satisfied with their afternoon’s work.