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17:10 19th November 2016

REPORT: Stoke City 0 Bournemouth 1

STOKE CITY were forced to pay the penalty as they relinquished their six match unbeaten run in the Premier League.

Nathan Ake’s header midway through the first-half claimed the visitors maximum spoils at the bet365 Stadium in what was a high energy and entertaining affair.

The visitors undoubtedly deserved their early lead having started the brighter of the two sides, and could maybe count themselves unfortunate not to have had a more commanding advantage.

Referee Roger East waved play on when Ryan Shawcross seemingly tripped Callum Wilson, who raced through on goal, before Josh King was denied from close range by a stunning reaction save from Lee Grant.

However, the second half was a totally different story and how the hosts ended the game without any reward for their efforts remains anyone’s guess.

It looked as though the home side, who started the second period reenergised, would be back on level terms when Bojan was clumsily brought down in the penalty area.

However, after dusting himself down and stepping up to the mark, he rifled his spot kick straight against the crossbar, before watching in anguish as the ball bounced away from the onrushing Wilfried Bony and away from danger.

Skipper Shawcross, who had earlier seen a looping header cleared off the line, then failed to make contact with a Charlie Adam centre, when had he done so the back of the net will have undoubtedly been left rippling.

Marko Arnautovic and Xherdan Shaqiri, two of three players, along with Bojan, who were recalled to the starting line-up, both upped the ante after the interval.

The pair hassled and harried their opponents with their creativity on the ball, yet even they, despite vastly improved second half showings failed to breach a stubborn, and at times hugely fortuitous Cherries backline.

They linked up to devastating effect to forge a clear sight of Adam Federici’s goal on the hour mark, although Shaqiri hammered his strike over the bar from 10-yards.

It was then Shaqiri’s turn to free Arnautovic through on goal, and despite catching the ball crisply, the Austrian’s effort flew inches wide of the target.

The introduction of Peter Crouch and Jonathan Walters added further impetus to the City side, and the hosts firm grip on the game never looked like slipping.

Adam’s sublime set-piece delivery was met by the head of Crouch, only for the ball to inadvertently hit Walters, en-route to goal, and ricochet away from target.

Scotland international Adam and the industrious Joe Allen linked up superbly well moments later and the former managed to deliver a pinpoint delivery straight onto Walters’ head, only for the Irishman to glance his header, from 6-yards, straight down the throat of the thankful Federici.

You sensed it was going to be one of those frustrating afternoons when deep into stoppage time Shaqiri’s strike deflected off Jack Wilshire and flew straight into the palms of the Bournemouth stopper.

Right at the death, on the counter attack, the visitors very nearly rubbed salt into the City wounds through Wilshire, but his curling effort clipped the outside of the post.


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