Stoke 2-1 Tottenham

Rory Delap
Delap struck what could prove to be a valuable winner for Stoke

Tottenham had Gareth Bale and Michael Dawson dismissed as Stoke took advantage to claim a vital victory.

Bale saw red for a foul on Tom Soares and Danny Higginbotham scored the penalty before Darren Bent poked home.

Rory Delap tapped in to make it 2-1 before Ricardo Fuller struck both posts with a penalty and Delap hit the bar.

Dawson was sent off for a tackle on Mamady Sidibe and Fuller hit the post in 11 minutes of injury time, which came after Vedran Corluka was hurt.

The Croatian was caught by the knee of his own keeper, Heurelho Gomes, full on his chin and required medical attention on the pitch.

He left the field on a stretcher wearing an oxygen mask and was taken to hospital.

It was a horror injury for Corluka in what was a nightmare of a match for Tottenham.


Two points separated the teams at the start of the game, but Spurs are now three points adrift at the foot of the table after falling to their sixth league defeat of the season.

It is a bleak statistic for the north Londoners and adds to the already considerable pressure on manager Juande Ramos.

In contrast, Stoke will be delighted with their second victory of the campaign, which did not come as easily as might have been expected given their numerical advantage.

Stoke started brightly and created the first chance when Delap squared for Soares after a fine passing move, but the striker could only hit his shot weakly at Gomes.

A nervous-looking Spurs failed to heed the warning and when Bale dallied on the ball, Soares nipped in to get in front of him and was bundled over in the penalty area as he closed in on goal.

Bale was sent off and Higginbotham put Stoke ahead with a cool confidence, despite having to place the ball on the penalty spot three times after the wind had blown it away.

On the touchline, Ramos gestured to his team, urging them to stay calm – and it clearly got through to his players as they suddenly, unexpectedly, took control of the match.

And they were rewarded for their new-found endeavour when Alan Hutton’s shot was deflected into the path of Bent, who slipped the ball through Thomas Sorensen’s legs to equalise.

Stoke looked bewildered and Spurs took advantage, Aaron Lennon in particular, coming into the game, and forcing a fine save from Sorensen after a strong run.

But the pattern of the game changed after the break as Stoke came forward and began to dictate the play.

And when Stoke worked the ball out wide to Sidibe, he supplied an inch-perfect cross for Delap to convert at the far post.

Stoke were forced into a change with Steve Simonsen coming on in goal for Sorensen after the Dane had been caught by Hutton.

But it was an injury to Corluka that had everyone concerned and a long break in play was needed to attend to the defender.

When the match resumed, Soares had a chance to seal the points for Stoke but shot over when well-placed.

The hosts were soon to get an even better chance to wrap up the win when Soares won a penalty after being fouled by Jonathan Woodgate.

However, Fuller’s shot hit one post and rolled across goal to canon back off the other post and Delap’s follow-up struck the bar.

There was still time for more drama in the 11 minutes of injury time as Dawson was given a straight red card for a foot-up challenge on Sidibe before Fuller smacked a curling shot against the post.

Stoke boss Tony Pulis:
“It was very important we won. It was a tough game.

“As soon as we scored we took our foot off the pedal and we were garbage. The best thing that happened was half-time.

“The second half was full of incidents. We are just pleased that in the second half we played more like we can and that we got the three points.”

Tottenham boss Juande Ramos:
“It was a difficult match with two sent off and two penalites and injured players.

“It was possibly a penalty but for me the red card finished the match as it is impossible to play nearly all the match with one man less.

“We made a big effort in the first half but the second goal finished the game.”

Stoke: Sorensen (Simonsen 66), Griffin, Abdoulaye Faye, Sonko (Shawcross 83), Higginbotham, Soares, Olofinjana, Diao, Delap, Sidibe, Kitson (Fuller 56).
Subs Not Used: Whelan, Cresswell, Amdy Faye, Tonge.

Booked: Abdoulaye Faye.

Goals: Higginbotham 19 pen, Delap 53.

Tottenham: Gomes, Hutton, Woodgate, Corluka (Dawson 77), Bale, Lennon, Zokora, Jenas, Modric, Bentley (Pavlyuchenko 59), Bent.
Subs Not Used: Cesar, Huddlestone, Campbell, O’Hara, Assou-Ekotto.

Sent Off: Bale (17), Dawson (90).

Booked: Hutton, Woodgate.

Goals: Bent 25.

Att: 27,500

Ref: Lee Mason (Lancashire).

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Stoke’s Rory Delap (7.49 on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport’s Player Rater after the match has finished.

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