STOKE CITY edged out Morecambe 2-1 in their Central League Cup clash at the Globe Arena.
The Potters dominated the opening period and went in two goals to the good at half-time thanks to Karim Rossi and Michael Tonge, but Morecambe rallied after the break and were unlucky not to earn a draw after Jordan Burrow pulled one back.
Wilson Palacios was given a start in the Potters midfield after sitting out last night’s Capital One Cup defeat to Swindon Town.
He lined up alongside fellow first-teamers Tonge and Diego Arismendi in the middle of the park, with Danny Higginbotham in central defence and Carlo Nash between the sticks.
On six minutes, City carved the first opening of the game when Adam Thomas skipped by a challenge on the right and found Arismendi at the back-post, but his left-footed shot was easy for Arestidou to gather.
Stoke were largely on top and Thomas was involved again on 14 minutes when he picked up Rossi’s lay-off but steered his effort wide.
Morecambe should have scored three minutes later, though, when Joe Mwasile picked out Burrow free in the six-yard box, but the striker couldn’t make decent contact with just Nash to beat.
The Potters deservedly went ahead on 20 minutes after a fantastic finish from Swiss youngster Rossi – the striker was picked out by Arismendi just outside the area, and he didn’t hesitate in firing the ball into the bottom left corner, past a helpless Arestidou.
Rossi nearly doubled his and his team’s tally not long after, but his angled header from Andy Musungu’s cross drifted past the post.
Stoke’s experience was counting on the pitch as they restricted their hosts to only short bursts of pressure, and they doubled their lead in spectacular fashion on 36 minutes.
Tonge picked up a pass from Musungu 25 yards out and unleashed a piledriver into the top right corner that Aristedou got his hand to but failed to keep out.
Neither side made any changes at the break, and Morecambe had the first chance of the second-half when Jack Redshaw nipped in front of Higginbotham but Nash closed the angle well and smothered his effort.
Stoke were sloppy in possession and Redshaw had another opportunity on 56 minutes which was well-saved by City’s ‘keeper stretching at his near post.
Thomas’ near post header on 65 minutes for Stoke cleared the bar, although Morecambe were very much settling into the game were beginning to monopolise possession.
All their chances seemed to be falling to the dangerous Redshaw, and when he beat the offside to trap to run onto Mwasile’s pass he looked odds-on to score only for Nash to be his equal again.
Jordan Keane drilled his volley into the ground and straight at Arestidou after lurking in the box at a corner, but chances were otherwise sparse for City and Morecambe pulled one back on 82 minutes.
Redshaw, after all his graft, turned provider for Burrow whose deflected shot finally beat Nash and gave the Shrimps a sniff of a result.
Lucas Dawson could have put the game to bed late on with a drilled effort that whistled wide after excellent play by Thomas on the left by-line.
The players would have been grateful for the final whistle as the heavens opened and the Potters just about clung on for the win.
Stoke City: Nash; Rigg, Keane, Higginbotham, Campbell; Thomas, Arismendi, Palacios (Dawson 73), Tonge, Musungu (Hall 79); Rossi. Subs not used: Bachmann, Parry, Clarkson, Glasgow, Richardson.
Morecambe: Arestidou; Selby, Bell, Doyle, Short; McGee, Mwasile, Sloan, Redshaw (Riley 82), Carlton; Burrow. Subs not used: Cookson, Knipe, Brittan, Houghton.