Bolton Wanderers 0-5 Stoke City: Potters smash Owen Coyle’s side after first-half rampage sets up FA Cup final with Manchester City

Five goal rout sees Tony Pulis' side make history as they secure a spot in their first ever FA Cup final in emphatic style at Wembley
A first half goal blitz by Stoke City helped secure the Potters a place in the FA Cup final against Manchester City, after first half strikes from Matthew Etherington, Robert Huth and Kenwyne Jones, as well as a double from Jonathan Walters saw them comfortably progress against Bolton Wanderers.

Bolton made two changes to the team who defeated West Ham last week, with manager Owen Coyle having to leave out the ineligible Daniel Sturridge and replacing him with Croatian striker Ivan Klasnic and also bringing Paul Robinson back into the starting line-up, taking the place of
Marcos Alonso. Tony Pulis, meanwhile, brought back his cup keeper, veteran Thomas Sorensen in place of regular stopper Asmir Begovic, who dropped out of the squad completely.

Both sides started nervously as they tried to get used to the conditions at Wembley. But they struggled early on, giving away several free-kicks, which neither side could capitalise on properly.

Within the first five minutes Bolton were claiming for a penalty as a Martin Petrov corner was swung in towards Kevin Davies and as the striker attempted to jump for the ball he looked to be dragged by Huth and to add to his misery Ryan Shawcross also seemed to handle the ball, both of which referee Howard Webb deemed were not penalties.

Then against the run of play Stoke took the lead as a result of a mistake in the Bolton defence, as Paul Robinson failed to clear the ball properly, allowing Etherington to drive towards goal and unleash a powerful strike beyond Jussi Jaaskelainen in the Bolton goal to give the Potters the lead.

That lead gave Pulis’s side greater confidence and they used that to double their lead minutes later as a Rory Delap throw in wasn’t cleared and landed at the feet of Andy Wilkinson. His lofted ball was headed by Gary Cahill, only to the feet of Huth, who struck the ball towards the bottom corner, beyond Jaaskelainen to double Stoke’s lead.

From then on the Potters continued to dominate as Bolton kept looking long in search of Davies, in order to find a way back into the cup tie, but their hitman could not find a way past either Huth or Shawcross in order to get a sight at Sorensen’s goal.

Just before the half hour things went from bad to worse from Bolton as Petrov lost possession on the left wing to Jermaine Pennant, allowing the winger to race away and with no Trotters defender near the former Liverpool man, he stroked the ball into the path of Jones, who side-footed the ball beyond Jaaskelainen to put Stoke one foot into the cup final against Manchester City.

For the reminder of the half Stoke kept control and kept their comfortable three goal lead, while a few of the Bolton fans inside Wembley felt they had enough and decided to head for the exits to drown their sorrows before the half-time whistle had gone.

Five star Stoke | Matthew Etherington opens the scoring for as Potters cruise

With his side seemingly out of the game, Trotters gaffer Coyle decided to make a double change at the break with both Petrov and Klasnic making way for Mark Davies and Matt Taylor as Bolton looked for a way back into the game.

With an hour gone Stoke could have had a fourth goal as Jonathan Walters received the ball, unmarked in the box and lofted it towards Jones, but his header was comfortably dealt with by Jaaskelainen.

Jones had another chance minutes later as Jaaskelainen failed to deal with a shot from Etherington and the ball landed at the feet of Jones, who failed to score and kill the game off as a contest, after the mistake by the Bolton keeper.

The Potters should have had a fourth as Bolton continued their capitulation, when Walters got the ball inside the six yard box, but his shot was blocked to the feet of Jones, but once again the big striker failed to find the target.

But minutes later their passage to the final was officially secured as Walters unleashed a strike from the edge of the box, similar to the first two Stoke goals and like the previous two, the striker's attempt nestled in the back of the Bolton goal, prompting an exodus of fans from the Wanderers end.

The rout was complete with 10 minutes to go as Jones raced into the area and he crossed to the on-rushing Andy Wilkinson, but the right back could only miskick the ball, but fortunately it went into the path of Walters, who easily put away his second and Stoke’s fifth of the game.
With the tie secure, Pulis decided to make a change to his forward line, by taking off Jones, who looked to be carrying an injury and replacing him with Jamaican striker Ricardo Fuller as they looked to see out the game.

As the Bolton end got increasingly empty, with only disconsolate faces left, not one single Stoke fan left as they savoured each one of the final minutes, as they managed to make their way to the FA Cup final, were they will meet Manchester City. 

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