Stoke 2 Tottenham 1: Matthew Etherington brace sinks Spurs
Matt Etherington's brace secured victory for Stoke City despite a valiant second-half display by Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur’s 11-game unbeaten run came to an end in an enthralling encounter with Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium.
Potters winger Matthew Etherington came back to haunt his former employers by netting twice before loanee Emmanuel Adebayor gave the visitors hope from the spot.
Despite relentless second-half pressure, Spurs were unable to conjure an equaliser as Harry Redknapp’s side suffered their first Premier League defeat since August.
It was a case of the protÃ©gÃ© defeating his master as Tony Pulis, a former assistant of Redknapp’s at Bournemouth, picked up all three points.
Stoke flew out of the traps and had a chance in the opening minute. Ryan Shotton’s partially cleared long-throw fell to Etherington and his shot forced Brad Friedel into a smart save.
The visitors seemed to be rattled and four minutes later, a mistake from Benoit Assou-Ekotto allowed Shotton to get a strike in – but the youngster dragged it well wide.
Etherington was proving to be a threat for Spurs and in the seventh minute, he got the better of Walker before testing Friedel with a right-footed effort.
The home side got the reward for their early dominance by taking the lead in the 13th minute. After former Spurs striker Peter Crouch hit the post with a shot from a tight angle, Etherington reacted quickest to tap home from eight yards out.
The visitors appealed for handball against the tall striker but their protests were waved away by referee Chris Foy.
Redknapp’s high-flying visitors were starting to come into the game more with Rafael van der Vaart, Luka Modric and Adebayor all testing goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen with long-range efforts.
But the home side doubled their lead in the 43rd minute. Another of Shotton’s dangerous long throws was flicked on by Walters, who found Etherington – and the latter’s mishit effort found the back of the net.
That doubled his tally for the game, and meant that he has now netted four goals against Tottenham – more than against any other side.
Spurs made a double change at the break, bringing on Sebastian Bassong and Jermain Defoe for Assou-Ekotto and Aaron Lennon.
They had a golden opportunity to halve the deficit on 51 minutes but substitute Bassong headed the ball over the top from Modric’s corner.
Ten minutes later, another former Spurs man Jonathan Woodgate – playing in an unfamiliar right-back role – came close to diverting the ball into his own net.
The Stoke lead was narrowed on 62 minutes. Referee Foy gave a penalty after Glenn Whelan fouled Modric, and Adebayor coolly tucked the penalty past Sorensen.
The goal seemed to give Spurs some much-needed belief and three minutes later, Scott Parker’s stinging drive was well-saved by the Stoke goalkeeper.
On 66 minutes, it was nearly 2-2 but Togo striker Adebayor’s curling effort flew just wide of the left-hand post. Sorensen then got down well to save Modric’s left-footed shot.
After 74 minutes, controversy reigned supreme as Younes Kaboul’s goal-bound effort was stopped on the line by the arm of Potters skipper Ryan Shawcross.
It didn’t appear to be Spurs’ day as just 40 seconds later, Adebayor had a goal ruled out for offside, with the ex-Arsenal man appearing to be just level.
The visitors kept pushing for a leveller and just three minutes later, a desperate block from Robert Huth stopped Defoe’s shot.
But Spurs’ task was made even more difficult on 81 minutes as Frenchman Kaboul was shown a second yellow card for a needless challenge on Walters.
Stoke were looked to cement their advantage and came close just three minutes later through two near-post Shawcross headers. The first was well-saved by veteran American Friedel, with the next skimming the top of the bar.
As hard as Redknapp’s side pushed they couldn’t find the leveller and the hosts held on for all three points. It secured a second consecutive victory over Spurs – the last came on penalties in September’s Carling Cup tie.
Stoke City: Thomas SÃ¸rensen, Ryan Shawcross, Jonathan Woodgate (Rory Delap, 84), Robert Huth, Marc Wilson, Ryan Shotton, Dean Whitehead, Matthew Etherington (Wilson Palacios, 89), Glenn Whelan, Jonathan Walters, Peter Crouch.
Tottenham Hotspur: Brad Friedel, Benoit Assou-Ekotto (SÃ©bastien Bassong, 45), Kyle Walker, William Gallas, Younes Kaboul, Aaron Lennon (Jermain Defoe, 45), Gareth Bale, Scott Parker, Rafael van der Vaart (Giovani dos Santos, 88), Luka Modric, Emmanuel Adebayor.