Stoke continued their excellent form at home this season with a 2-0 defeat of Fulham at the Brittania Stadium Saturday to move up to seventh.
Stoke, beaten 2-0 at Swansea before the international break, welcomed back winger Matthew Etherington, fit again after a back problem, while the only change from the Fulham side that had thumped Queens Park Rangers 6-0 was the return of defender Aaron Hughes for Zdenek Grygera.
In a fairly drab first half Martin Jol’s Fulham had the better of the early stages, with John Arne Riise going close approaching the half hour, his shot flying over the bar.
Up at the other end Peter Crouch was unable to do justice to a volley chance.
On the stroke of half-time Jermaine Pennant, returning after a knee injury, charged in from the right, exchanging passes with Crouch, only for his shot to go wide.
Midway through the second period Fulham were lucky to get off unpunished when their keeper, Mark Schwarzer, fumbled as he tried to get hold of the ball in an attack instigated by a Rory Delap throw-in.
Seconds later Delap watched as his deflected shot hit the post, while only Danny Murphy’s quick thinking on the line denied Stoke midfielder Marc Wilson’s header from going in.
With the bit between their teeth Stoke, who were let off when a Riise free-kick struck the woodwork, got the goal their endeavour deserved when Republic of Ireland international Jon Walters pounced on Etherington’s cross shot to break the deadlock with ten minutes remaining.
Stoke doubled up in the 87th minute when former Republic international Delap rose to nod home Pennant’s curving free-kick.
The result extended Stoke’s excellent home record, the Potters’ unbeaten despite the visits of Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea. For Fulham this was a third loss on the road.
Watch video highlights below:
Stoke City 1-0 Fulham (Jonathan Walters)
Stoke City 2-0 Fulham (Rory Delap)