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Premier League: Everton 0 Stoke 1

Stoke City earned their second away league win of the season, beating Everton 1-0 at Goodison Park on Sunday.

In a relatively scrappy affair, Robert Huth’s 15th minute effort was enough to secure all three points for Stoke.

The home side pushed for an equaliser for much of the game, but never really came close to threatening the City goal.

David Moyes rewarded Apostolos Vellios with his second start for the club, following his goal at Bolton last weekend, with Louis Saha dropping to the bench.

Meanwhile, Phil Neville, Sylvain Distin and Jack Rodwell all returned to the bench after injuries.

Tony Pulis made wholesale changes following his side’s Europa League exploits midweek.

Just Ryan Shotton and Robert Huth survived the 1-1 draw with Dynamo Kiev, with Peter Crouch and Jonathan Walters leading the line.

Everton had started brightly but failed to make their dominance pay, and they were punished just fifteen minutes in.

Following a cleared Stoke corner, the ball fell nicely for Dean Whitehead on the edge of the Everton penalty area.

The midfielder composed himself before volleying a low effort at goal, only for Huth to divert the direction of the ball and prod his side into an early lead, with Tim Howard on the floor.

The goal did little to alter the pattern of the game, with Moyes’ side continuing to dominate possession, but the Stoke back line held firm to see them head into the half time break with a 1-0 lead.

Everton began the second half in a similar fashion to the first, dominating possession and flooding men forward, but still the Stoke defence remained firm.

Any Stoke threat predictably came from set pieces, with the height of Crouch proving a constant source of danger.

Referee Lee Mason had been the villain of the piece for the Goodison faithful, and he was again the focus of their frustration midway through the second half.

Following hesitation from Huth, Tim Cahill found himself bearing down on goal. Thomas Sorensen came to meet the Australian, only to miss the ball and wipe him out on the edge of the area.

Sorensen was carried off on a stretcher after the collision.

Mason waved away Everton appeals, to the increasing frustration of the home crowd.

The Goodison Park outfit continued to press for an equalising goal, as David Moyes had one last roll of the Everton dice, replacing the ineffective Vellios with Denis Stracqualursi.

Johnny Heitinga had a great chance late on to snatch a point, but he couldn’t quite reach Leighton Baines’ superb cross.

The defeat is Everton’s fourth at home this season, one more than for the whole of last season.

Tony Pulis’ men move up to eighth in the table, with Everton a further place behind in ninth.

Sun 4 December, 2011
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