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Gritty Stoke too strong for Bolton

sports Updated: Jan 15, 2011 23:24 IST

Stoke were too strong for Bolton as goals from Danny Higginbotham and Matthew Etherington sealed a 2-0 win at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday.

Stoke boss Tony Pulis was rocked before kick-off by the news his proposed move for Hoffenheim's Demba Ba was set to fall through after the Senegal striker failed a medical.

But Pulis was able to finish his afternoon in better spirits thanks to Higginbotham's first half goal and a second half penalty from Etherington.

Bolton were always second best as they slumped to their fifth successive defeat on the road.

Stoke's Tuncay, who posted his top 10 goals on social networking website Facebook this week in a bid to find a new club, was finding plenty of space on the flanks early on.

He tried to pick out Kenwyne Jones in the 13th minute. However he put too much weight on the cross and the ball drifted out of play. Tuncay then tested Jussi Jaaskelainen from distance with a chip.

Robert Huth headed narrowly over the Bolton bar in the 24th minute following a Rory Delap throw-in.

Stoke almost took the lead in the 26th minute after Bolton defender Gary Cahill lost his bearings and whipped a cross from Tuncay over his own bar.

From Etherington's corner, Huth escaped his marker, only to head wide of the post.

Stoke made the breakthrough in the 37th minute following a corner from Tuncay.

Bolton failed to clear their lines with striker Johan Elmander heading the ball across his own area. Higginbotham took advantage, marking his return to the side by forcing it home at the back post.

Elmander then headed wide of the post following a cross from Sam Ricketts in the 46th minute. And four minutes later Holden came close to equalising, goalkeeper Asmir Begovic doing well to claw away his fine free-kick.

Stoke got the crucial second goal in the 62nd minute.

Tuncay sent Etherington racing clear and the winger was tripped by Zat Knight as he broke into the box and won a penalty.

Etherington dusted himself down and although Jaaskelainen deflected the ball onto the post it trickled over the line to the goalkeeper's disgust.