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21:45 4th April 2017

Clarets Make Potters Pay

STOKE CITY slipped to a second successive away day defeat, despite dominating for long periods against Burnley.

The Potters looked a shadow of the side that had succumbed at Leicester four days earlier but they were unable to capitalise on chances they created and were cruelly punished by George Boyd shortly before the hour mark.

The Scotsman bagged the only goal of the game as he made the most of Burnley’s first – and only – opportunity of the game to seal a win that all but guarantees his side a place in the top flight next season.

Hughes made four changes to his starting line-up in the wake of the Potters' 2-0 defeat at Leicester on Saturday.

Marc Muniesa, Charlie Adam, Mame Diouf and Geoff Cameron got the nod in place, while Glenn Whelan, Glen Johnson and Ramadan dropped to the bench with Jon Walters, who was forced off at the King Power Stadium through illness, missing out entirely.

Hughes demanded a reaction from his players following their disappointing display against the champions and they made a bright start on a chilly evening in Lancashire.

Cameron, Arnautovic and Pieters combined superbly on the left hand side in the opening minutes but Pieters was unable to find Saido Berahino in the six-yard box.

A superb ball forward by Cameron sent Arnautovic clear but for once the maverick Austrian’s touch let him down and Burnley were able to clear.

It was a similar tale just before the half hour mark as the Potters counter-attacked swiftly from a corner - Berahino this time sent Arnautovic clear but a heavy touch cost him dearly.

Burnley defender Stephen Ward, booked earlier in the half for a foul on Adam, was fortunate to avoid a second yellow card from referee Kevin Friend for a cynical challenge on Diouf.

City continued to look the side more likely to break the deadlock and Adam tested goalkeeper Tom Heaton with a flicked head from an Arnautovic corner.

Heaton denied Adam again after the Scot had made space for himself on the edge of the Burnley area and let fly with a fiercely struck show but the best opportunity of the half came on the stroke of the interval.

Again, Berahino and Arnautovic combined with the former England Under-21 man sending his more experienced team-mate clear but, with just Heaton to beat, Arnautovic elected to try and pick out Berahino instead of going it alone.

The Potters picked up at the start of the second half where they had left off and Adam fired narrowly wide of Heaton’s goal after his initial shot from Joe Allen’s cross from the right had been charged down.

Burnley had appeals for a penalty waved away when Steven Defour’s corner appeared to strike Ryan Shawcross’ right hand, while at the other end Adam scuffed a shot wide after a forging counter-attack led by Arnautovic.

City’s pressure was relentless and Arnautovic went close with a flicked header from six yards out that had Heaton beaten.

But it was Burnley who took the lead as they made a rare foray into the City area. Jeff Hendrick beat a couple of men on the left before squaring for Boyd to send a first-time shot past Lee Grant.

Hughes sent on Peter Crouch, at the expense of Berahino, with 19 minutes remaining and the veteran striker went close to an equaliser as he sent an ambitious overhead kick into the side-netting.

Defeat was difficult to swallow for the Potters and their travelling support but the focus now is on the visit of Liverpool to the bet365 Stadium on Saturday.


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