Stoke 3-1 Blackburn
Stoke ended a run of four straight league defeats with a comprehensive win over struggling Blackburn to pile the pressure on Rovers boss Steve Kean.
Despite having just signed a new deal, Kean faced protests from his own fans through the game and in the end Rovers' fragility was starkly exposed by Stoke.
Rory Delap headed the opener from Jermaine Pennant's cross, before Glenn Whelan's deflected strike made it 2-0.
And Peter Crouch's neat shot sealed the win before Ruben Rochina's consolation.
The win takes the Potters back up into the top half of the table as they extended their unbeaten run against Rovers to six Premier League games.
But for Blackburn, an eighth defeat of the season leaves them firmly in the mire of the bottom three and looking increasingly like relegation favourites.
While a record of six wins in 33 league games would get many football managers the sack, at Blackburn it earned Kean a revised contract.
However, while that did little to appease the Rovers fans desperate for a managerial change, it did at least appear to have a positive impact on the starting XI who were full of running and commitment early on.
That commitment over-ran on occasion in the case of Steven Nzonzi, who was fortunate to get away with not one but two elbows - the first on Ryan Shawcross, the second on Whelan - but nevertheless it was impressive to see the visitors clearly playing for their manager.
For all their endeavour, however, a distinct lack of quality in key positions cost Blackburn dear and as Stoke grew stronger as the game went on, Kean's men simply fell away.
The fact that it took Rovers until the 45th minute of a first half devoid of much quality football from either side to get a shot in on goal - Rochina's long-ranger easily saved - only underlined their lack of attacking threat.
By that time Stoke were already ahead, Delap making the most of a superb Pennant free-kick to head into the corner on 28 minutes.
And while Blackburn burst out of the traps in the second half - and should have drawn level on the back of a Rochina dribble into the box, only for Mauro Formica to completely miss contact with the ball six yards out with the goal gaping - the visitors' confidence evaporated after Stoke's second.
That came from the boot of Whelan, the Irishman slamming home via a big deflection off Scott Dann 18 yards out after good build-up play from Matthew Etherington and Jon Walters.
Not long after it was 3-0, Crouch providing a fine angled finish 12 yards out after Marc Wilson's long ball over the top had caught the Blackburn defence flat-footed.
Rochina drilled in an excellent consolation in the 86th minute to briefly threaten a Rovers rally.
But in fairness a heavy defeat was little more than Blackburn deserved in the end and Kean must only expect further protests from the club's supporters should Rovers fail to get anything from their next few matches against Swansea, Sunderland, West Bromwich Albion and Bolton.
Stoke manager Tony Pulis: "We've had a difficult start to the season in terms of games, injuries and form but we've had ups and downs before and we will again.
"The difference this season is that we're on a different journey with our European games and it's tough to juggle.
"But this was a good win for us today. We played well, created lots of chances and got what we deserved."
Blackburn boss Steve Kean: "The miss from Mauro Formica at the start of the second half was crucial. If that goes in it changes things completely.
"But I don't think we played that badly today - we created chances and we're disappointed not to have taken them. I looked at the statistics and we had 15 shots on goal, 10 of them on target.
"What we've got to do now is work on the training ground at shutting the door at the back - and the good news is that we have senior players like Ryan Nelsen and Chris Samba to return and strengthen us in defence. There are some good things happening here but at the moment our play is not getting the rewards it deserves."
- 29 Sorensen
- 04 Huth
- 17 Shawcross
- 28 Wilkinson
- 06 Whelan
- 12 Wilson
- 16 Pennant (Whitehead - 71' )
- 24 Delap
- 26 Etherington
- 19 Walters
- 25 Crouch (Jones - 83' )
- 01 Begovic
- 03 Higginbotham
- 20 Upson
- 18 Whitehead
- 09 Jones
- 10 Fuller
- 33 Jerome
- 01 Robinson
- 05 Givet
- 16 Dann
- 31 Hanley
- 10 Formica (Roberts - 68' )
- 12 Pedersen
- 15 Nzonzi
- 35 Lowe
- 20 Rochina
- 23 Hoilett
- 24 Yakubu
- 13 Bunn
- 39 Henley
- 14 Petrovic
- 29 Vukcevic
- 22 Blackman
- 25 Goodwillie
- 30 Roberts
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The referee brings the game to a close.90:00 +2:04
Short corner taken by Matthew Etherington from the left by-line.90:00 +0:22
Free kick awarded for a foul by Steven Nzonzi on Thomas Sorensen. Direct free kick taken by Thomas Sorensen.90:00 +0:03
David Hoilett decides to take a short corner.90:00 +0:01
Shot by Ruben Rochina from 20 yards. Brilliant save by Thomas Sorensen.89:20
Foul by Rory Delap on Scott Dann, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Paul Robinson.87:47
Ayegbeni Yakubu takes a shot. Save made by Thomas Sorensen.86:54
Centre by Jason Lowe.85:52
Jonathan Walters gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Grant Hanley. Direct free kick taken by Paul Robinson.85:02
Steven Nzonzi provided the assist for the goal.85:02 Goal scored
Goal! - Ruben Rochina - Stoke 3 - 1 Blackburn A goal is scored by Ruben Rochina from just outside the penalty area to the bottom right corner of the goal. Stoke 3-1 Blackburn.84:03
Shot by Ayegbeni Yakubu. Save by Thomas Sorensen.82:55
Matthew Etherington delivers the ball, clearance made by Scott Dann.82:12 Substitution
Substitution Kenwyne Jones comes on in place of Peter Crouch.81:25
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Steven Nzonzi by Rory Delap. Morten Gamst Pedersen takes the direct free kick.80:08
Unfair challenge on Peter Crouch by Morten Gamst Pedersen results in a free kick. Matthew Etherington takes the direct free kick.79:28
Effort on goal by Steven Nzonzi from outside the box goes harmlessly over the bar.77:18
Jonathan Walters has an effort from just inside the box that misses to the left of the goal.71:17
Assist on the goal came from Marc Wilson.71:17 Goal scored
Goal! - Peter Crouch - Stoke 3 - 0 Blackburn Peter Crouch grabs a goal from deep inside the penalty box low into the middle of the goal. Stoke 3-0 Blackburn.
Substitution Jermaine Pennant leaves the field to be replaced by Dean Whitehead.69:58
Centre by Matthew Etherington.66:48
Paul Robinson takes the direct free kick.66:48 Substitution
Substitution Jason Roberts comes on in place of Mauro Formica.66:48
Jermaine Pennant concedes a free kick for a foul on Scott Dann.63:37
Drilled left-footed shot by Peter Crouch. Blocked by Jason Lowe.63:26
Jermaine Pennant produces a cross.61:24
Corner from the left by-line taken by Morten Gamst Pedersen, Foul by Steven Nzonzi on Ryan Shawcross, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Thomas Sorensen.61:08
Shot from 20 yards by Ayegbeni Yakubu. Robert Huth gets a block in.58:54
The offside flag is raised against Peter Crouch. Paul Robinson takes the free kick.57:08
Assist by Jonathan Walters.57:08 Goal scored
Goal! - Glenn Whelan - Stoke 2 - 0 Blackburn Glenn Whelan finds the net with a goal from just outside the area high into the middle of the goal. Stoke 2-0 Blackburn.56:23
Corner taken by Morten Gamst Pedersen from the left by-line, clearance made by Peter Crouch.55:30
Ruben Rochina delivers the ball, David Hoilett takes a shot. Thomas Sorensen makes a comfortable save.53:53
Centre by Matthew Etherington, Robert Huth has a headed effort at goal from close in which goes wide of the left-hand upright.52:37
The ball is delivered by David Hoilett, Shot by Ruben Rochina from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the goal.51:51
Foul by Ryan Shawcross on Paul Robinson, free kick awarded. Paul Robinson restarts play with the free kick.49:54
Free kick awarded for a foul by Andy Wilkinson on Ayegbeni Yakubu. Morten Gamst Pedersen takes the direct free kick.48:44
The ball is crossed by Andy Wilkinson, Scott Dann makes a clearance.47:49
Shot by Rory Delap from 20 yards. Blocked by Grant Hanley.45:36
Outswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Morten Gamst Pedersen, clearance made by Robert Huth.45:01
The second half kicks off.45:00 +2:05 Half time
Half Time The referee blows for half time.45:00 +1:41
Ruben Rochina takes the chance to get an effort at goal. Comfortable save by Thomas Sorensen.45:00 +1:12
The referee penalises Peter Crouch for handball. Morten Gamst Pedersen restarts play with the free kick.45:00 +0:24
The referee blows for offside. Indirect free kick taken by Thomas Sorensen.43:23
The official flags Peter Crouch offside. Indirect free kick taken by Paul Robinson.40:52
Effort on goal by David Hoilett from just inside the box goes harmlessly over the target.40:05
Morten Gamst Pedersen takes the outswinging corner, Scott Dann takes a shot. Robert Huth manages to make a clearance.39:47
Shot by Ruben Rochina. Blocked by Robert Huth.38:20
Shot by Morten Gamst Pedersen from a long way out goes over the target.37:27
The assistant referee signals for offside against Ayegbeni Yakubu. Marc Wilson takes the direct free kick.34:28
Morten Gamst Pedersen takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line to the near post, Peter Crouch makes a clearance.34:17
Scott Dann takes a shot. Blocked by Robert Huth.33:10
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Mauro Formica by Rory Delap. Shot comes in from Morten Gamst Pedersen from the free kick.32:49
The ball is delivered by Matthew Etherington, save made by Paul Robinson.31:45
Jermaine Pennant produces a cross, clearance made by Scott Dann.29:33
The ball is delivered by Matthew Etherington.27:07
Jermaine Pennant provided the assist for the goal.27:07 Goal scored
Goal! - Rory Delap - Stoke 1 - 0 Blackburn Rory Delap grabs a headed goal from deep inside the penalty box. Stoke 1-0 Blackburn.26:22
Steven Nzonzi concedes a free kick for a foul on Peter Crouch. A cross is delivered by Jermaine Pennant,17:18
Jermaine Pennant sends in a cross.16:19
Foul by Mauro Formica on Jermaine Pennant, free kick awarded. Ryan Shawcross takes the free kick.13:06
Glenn Whelan concedes a free kick for a foul on Steven Nzonzi. Paul Robinson takes the free kick.10:25
Ayegbeni Yakubu takes a shot. Ryan Shawcross gets a block in.6:37
Unfair challenge on Ruben Rochina by Rory Delap results in a free kick. Paul Robinson takes the direct free kick.5:22
Glenn Whelan challenges Mauro Formica unfairly and gives away a free kick. Morten Gamst Pedersen crosses the ball from the free kick left-footed from left channel, save made by Thomas Sorensen.3:45
Inswinging corner taken by Matthew Etherington from the right by-line played to the near post, Header from close range by Ryan Shawcross misses to the right of the target.1:33
The ball is delivered by Matthew Etherington, Paul Robinson makes a comfortable save.0:34
The offside flag is raised against Ryan Shawcross. Paul Robinson takes the indirect free kick.0:00
The game kicks-off.
Live data and text provided by our data suppliers