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September 29, 2013
• Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
Referee: A. Taylor
• Attendance: 26184
J. Howson 34'
That's it from me - I've been Tom J Doyle (@TomJDoyle), and thanks for joining me for Stoke 0-1 Norwich at the Britannia Stadium. Bye for now.
Jonny Howson's fine goal separated the sides, although the gulf in class was in truth much wider. The Canaries pick up a much-needed win to go 14th, while only questions remain for Hughes - when will the real Asmir Begovic return, and just what does he do about his toothless forward line?
The boos ring out around the Britannia as Norwich get the three points today! Stoke put in a frankly disgraceful performance for a Premier League side, and Chris Hughton's only quibble today may have been that his team are only leaving with a 1-0 victory. Mark Hughes has some serious work to do with his squad if that's the kind of performance they're turning in.
90' + 3'
Stoke regain possession, and Shawcross pumps a long pass up field to absolutely nobody. The Potters looked better in this half, but if anything, they've managed to get worse in the final 15 minutes with an equaliser to search for.
90' + 2'
Begovic comes a way out of his box and shanks a clearance out for a throw-in, much to the visiting fan's delight. Poor.
90' + 1'
Norwich are gaining ground up the right flank with a series of throws - this will suit them perfectly. The Potters just haven't turned up today.
Four minutes of injury time now - Stoke need to find something quickly.
Ireland tries to cushion down a header for Crouch on the edge of the area but it's not good enough - Stoke have huffed and puffed, but really haven't put in anything like the effort required to get back into the game. It's unforgivable, seeing as Norwich have sat off in this half and invited the pressure.
Begovic is in the wars now after he is left in a heap after clearing a ball on the half-volley - that one might hurt later on.
Fer wins a free kick in his own half here - he's put in a decent display, but was very lucky not to give away a cheap penalty for a needless pull on Jones earlier on.
Five minutes to go and Stoke need to really ramp up the pressure now - they've played like they sat down for a big brunch before the game, and a few look like they would rather be having a nap on the sofa.
Shawcross looks like he's playing as a striker now as he tries to get his head to a high ball in the area - he thinks he's won a corner, but he's offside. He probably doesn't spend much time in training playing off the shoulder, to be honest...
Pilkington is replaced by Whittaker after a fine display - along with Shawcross, he's been the standout performer today.
Ruddy wants to be the villain today as the ball is already out for a corner, but he scoops a lazy half-volley high into the Stoke crowd, who howl for punishment. Shawcross can't turn in the corner, and Norwich edge closer to the three points.
Pennant drives down the right and wins a throw, but has to wait around 10 seconds for a team mate to get into range - he's had a thankless task since coming on, with the majority of the Stoke team seeming to be hiding.
Superb save from Begovic! The Stoke keeper redeems himself by getting his fingertips to Snodgrass' lovely curling effort from the right of the box to flick the ball wide of his right-hand post. That was going right in the corner of the net - a top stop.
N'Zonzi drives an effort from 25 yards which dips, and Ruddy has to get down low to hold onto the ball well - spilling it there would've allowed Crouch a simple tap-in to level things up.
Pilkington does well on the right wing here, beating his man by the corner flag and driving into the box before winning a corner.
Ricky van Wolfswinkel
Johan Elmander wll have 15 minutes to hold the ball up for the visitors now as he replaces Van Wolfswinkel - the starter failed to get into the game, but a lone striker usually has a thankless task against this Stoke back line.
Yellow CardErik Pieters
Pieters puts in a Rollerball-style block on a Norwich body on the wing here, leaving him in a heap - Taylor spotted it though, and it's a clear booking for the left-back.
Crouch flicks a lovely backheel into the path of Cameron, who loses control around 25 yards out - Stoke are getting more inventive, but they really need to get some efforts in on Ruddy's goal.
Arnautovic shows good speed here as he quickly chases down an Ireland pass out to the left, but the move breaks down after the forward's pass - frustrating for him, the fans, and Hughes.
Pennant slides the ball through on the right for Arnautovic now but there's too much on the pass - the forward doesn't give up though and Ruddy loses the ball sliding out, but quickly reclaims it. Great effort there.
Nothing doing for Norwich but Stoke break down the left here, but there's nobody in the middle for the cross, much to the crowd's frustrations. The Canaries retrieve possession and Van Wolfswinkel wins a soft free kick by the centre circle.
Howson attempts to go past Robert Huth on the right wing but is shoved out the way - he stops running in frustration and the linesman flags for a foul...
Ireland floats a ball over the top towards Crouch, and Turner and Bennett get into a muddle with neither taking control. Arnautovic half-heartedly appeals for a handball, but Norwich clear the ball.
Hughes takes a last roll of the dice by throwing on Crouch for Jones - the starter just saw an effort well stopped, but he's looked a little out of sorts ever since that first-half collision.
Jones goes close for Stoke! He tries to net an effort at the near post from a tight angle, but Ruddy blocks him out well.
Snodgrass balloons an effort over the bar now after cutting in from the right - high, wide, and not at all handsome.
Pennant drives in a cross from the right that Ireland can't quite get to - the winger has changed the shape of the game completely, but is still looking for that one great ball to feed a team mate.
Olsson crosses from the left here and Begovic comes to get a hand on the cross to punch away - the goalkeeper has been in iffy form of late, conceding too easily today and also at Arsenal, and Hughes will need him back in top form sharpish.
That was Ruddy marvellous - the Norwich keeper collects a backpass that Jones furiously closes down, but instead of smashing a clearance upfield, he casually turns the striker and saunters on - even the home fans enjoyed that one.
N'Zonzi channels the spirit of Michael Jackson by backheeling a delicious little pass past two Norwich players, which wouldn't have looked out of place on the dancefloor. 'Hee-hee!'
Nothing doing for the hosts, but at least they're putting in the effort now. The crowd are sensing a way back into this one.
Better now as Wilson unleashes a shot from 30 yards that is blocked out for a corner, which Pennant can deliver...
Stoke have started the half well and have already seen more of the ball than in the first half, but still need to up the tempo a little more to unsettle Norwich.
A laughable effort from Arnautovic now as he absolutely thumps a pass out on the left wing to cede possession to Norwich - he needs to be more careful with his side attempting to build pressure, but passed it like a bleary-eyed dad in the park there.
Much better from the hosts as Pennant buys a free kick from a push by Pilkington. The ball ends up with Cameron, but again he wastes the chance to cross - he'll have to improve to stay on.
What are you doing Leroy Fer?! The hosts are furious as Pieters delivers a ball from the left to the back post, and Fer casually drags back Jones in the area. The big striker hits the deck too easily, but that could easily have been a needless penalty.
Shawcross and Pennant put together nice passes to release Cameron down the right, but his low cross is terrible. Still, it causes problems in the area as Jones ends up almost getting to it, and Stoke now have a corner.
There's already more urgency about the Potters, but they'll also need the crowd to get behind them now - the stadium has been very, very quiet today.
We're underway again, and Hughes will be desperately hoping for a reaction after changing things up - they need to take the game to Norwich now, otherwise the Canaries will cruise to victory.
Speak of the devil - Pennant and Ireland are both on, replacing the abject Adam and Walters.
It would be no surprise to see a couple of Stoke subs start the second half - Jermaine Pennant, Peter Crouch, Stephen Ireland and Oussama Assaidi can all offer something a little different.
If it stays like this, Norwich will leapfrog Stoke into 14th place - though a couple more goals could see them go 12th. With the way Stoke are playing, that's entirely possible.
STAT ATTACK (via @OptaJoe): 235 - Jonny Howson's goal for Norwich ended a PL goal drought of 235 minutes for the Canaries. Oasis.
That's half-time, and Stoke may be thankful that they're only 1-0 behind to Norwich. The Canaries have been on top from literally the first few seconds onwards, and the Potters have looked sluggish in possession. Asmir Begovic should have done better with Jonny Howson's dipping long-range effort, but it's a goal that Chris Hughton's men are due for taking the game to the hosts.
45' + 1'
The corner comes to nothing, and Stoke will go into the break behind. They definitely need to mix things up in the second half.
Walters holds the ball up before punting an aimless pass straight to a Norwich player - he's had that kind of half...saying that, he's just won a corner, so it's not all bad - honest.
We're a minute from the interval and while it's not been a stunner by any stretch, Hughton will be delighted with his team's performance so far. They've been disciplined, hungry for the ball, and fully deserve their lead.
Yellow CardLeroy Fer
Leroy Fer picks up a booking now for a crunching challenge that wasn't really needed to be honest. A needless caution in what's been a relatively mild-mannered contest so far.
That's closer for Stoke, as Cameron floats in a delightful cross from the right wing which curls along the edge of the six-yard box. A touch from anybody would probably have resulted in a goal, but the Canaries back line did well to resist an acrobatic clearance and the ball runs out to safety.
Adam flights in a corner from the right and Ruddy isn't sure about whether to come for the ball - Shawcross gets his head to it, but can only glance a header well wide of the right-hand post. It was a chance given his ability in the air, mind.
Pilkington is almost in for another here but he's crowded out by the Stoke centre-backs, and the hosts survive conceding two in two minutes.
GREAT GOAL FROM HOWSON! Stoke have a throw at the back on the right but show no urgency to retain possession, and a neat pass from Pilkington leaves the midfielder with room to dribble from 30 yards. He unleashes a snap shot from 25 yards that dips and beats Begovic low to his right - the keeper should really save it, but Norwich deservedly lead.
That's much better from the hosts as Arnautovic goes close with a fizzed effort that flies just over the bar from 25 yards. The Potters actually kept the ball, and need more of that.
Walters is flattened in an aerial challenge now and wins a free kick, which the Canaries clear for a corner. The ball in isn't good enough though, and John Ruddy easily collects the delivery.
Close for Van Wolfswinkel! Pilkington surges down the left again and puts in a teasing ball around the six yards line - Begovic and the striker reach the ball at the same point and it spins wide of the right-hand post, but referee Taylor blows up for a soft foul on the keeper.
It's fair to say this hasn't been a game full of chances so far. A goal from Norwich may force Stoke to actually do something productive with the ball, though it would be no surprise to see the hosts nab a goal by hook or by crook to get us underway.
Yellow CardMarc Wilson
Geoff Cameron passes to Adam, but both the pass and Adam's touch are poor and Norwich can break here. Wilson stops the move in its tracks with a cynical foul, and is booked for his troubles - very loose from the hosts.
We're halfway through the first half here and Norwich have been the better team by far, but the score remains 0-0. The Britannia is usually an intimidating ground to come to, but the crowd is very flat - the Potters need to give them something - anything - to rouse them from their Sunday slumber.
The ball is slid down the right wing for Jones, who shows good pace before a fine sliding challenge from Turner puts the ball out for a throw. Decent stuff all round there.
The corner comes to nothing, but at least the ball is away from Stoke's area for the moment - that's how badly they've started.
N'Zonzi releases Arnautovic down the left here and the winger opens up to fly down the wing, winning a corner in the process. Better from Stoke.
Begovic comes for the free kick now and gets nowhere near it under pressure from Michael Turner, but the ball luckily runs away from Norwich players away from danger. The home crowd want a free kick, but the keeper came right out and has to expect a physical battle 12 yards out.
The hosts have been really poor so far - poor control from Marc Wilson sees him lose the ball under no pressure and give the ball away before fouling a Canaries player. That's Sunday league stuff.
Stoke put together a good move for the first time as Arnautovic and Erik Pieters combine well on the left to put the wing-back in a prime crossing position - but instead of putting the ball in the box, he pulls a poor pass back to his team mate, and it all breaks down. A bad decision, that.
A much-needed respite here for the hosts as Jones is down injured after a bang to the head. He looks a little dazed as the physio checks his vision, but he looks ok to continue.
Norwich are running this game at the moment - Van Wolfswinkel drops a shoulder and is slotted through on the left of the box, but his cut-back is cleared away as he is unable to find a team mate.
That was almost a fourth goal conceded from a set piece in two games for Stoke - Hughes will not be happy at all, considering their reputation in the air.
Off the bar! Norwich are so close to an opener here as Snodgrass whips in the corner, which flies all the way to the back post - Ryan Bennett beats his man and flings himself at the ball, but his sliding shot cannons back off the woodwork. It's pinball in the box and Asmir Begovic smothers the next attempt at the defender's feet.
Olsson curls in a great cross from the left now and Ryan Shawcross gets his head to the ball to clear it for a corner...
Stoke are struggling to get the ball down on the deck, preferring to look long to Jones as the hold-up man. It may take a few months for the Potters (and their fans) to adapt to Hughes' more patient style of play.
Snodgrass curls the ball in but Stoke manage to win the aerial battle - something of a shock given their showing against the Gunners last week. They won't want to give the dead-ball specialist too many more chances like that though.
Arnautovic unceremoniously dumps Robert Snodgrass on the ground on the right wing, and Taylor blows up for a free kick in a dangerous position...
Russell Martin gets down the right flank well and swings a good cross over, which Pilkington is only a foot or so away from getting his head to from six yards out. Stoke need to wake up a little now.
The Canaries have seen plenty of the ball early on and are closing down Stoke quickly - the home crowd are pretty quiet. This will be exactly what Chris Hughton wants.
Referee Anthony Taylor blows his whistle and we're off! Norwich look dangerous straight away as Kevin Pilkington cuts in from the left and snaps a shot from 20 yards which is well closed down for a corner.
The sides are out in bright sunshine and we're about to get underway...
Mark Hughes is attempting to change Stoke's style and get rid of their negative 'long-ball' image, but conceding three from set-pieces to Arsenal last weekend surely isn't the right way to go about things. He'll be hoping for a tighter display today.
The teams are in the tunnel getting ready for the game now - remember, if you want to get involved, tweet me (@TomJDoyle) and the best lines will be featured.
Stoke could go sixth if they win by three goals today, while the same win for Norwich could see them climb above Manchester United - yes, Manchester United - into 12th position. Admittedly it's a little early to read into positions, but the Canaries need to start picking up points with only four from their first five games.
Meanwhile Mark Hughes has kept Kenwyne Jones up top for the Potters, while Jon Walters, Charlie Adam and Marko Arnautovic will be the primary creators for the hosts.
Despite scoring two goals in the Capital One Cup in midweek, Gary Hooper drops to the Canaries bench, with £8.5 million summer signing Ricky van Wolfswinkel retaining his place up front. Expect him to make an appearance at some point though.
Norwich subs: Whittaker, Johnson, Hooper, Bunn, Hoolahan, Elmander, Murphy.
Stoke subs: Whelan, Pennant, Palacios, Assaidi, Crouch, Sorensen, Ireland.
Norwich starting XI: Ruddy; Martin, Turner, Ryan Bennett, Olsson; Tettey, Howson, Snodgrass, Fer, Pilkington; van Wolfswinkel.
Stoke starting XI: Begovic; Cameron, Shawcross, Huth, Pieters; Wilson, Nzonzi, Walters, Adam; Arnautovic, Jones.
Good afternoon and welcome to the LIVE text commentary of Stoke City v Norwich City at the Britannia Stadium. I'm Tom J Doyle and I'll be guiding you through proceedings today - without further ado, let's get some team news...
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