Premier League - Stoke end Spurs' unbeaten run

Sun, 11 Dec 18:00:00 2011

Tottenham Hotspur suffered their first defeat in 12 Premier League games when they were beaten 2-1 by Stoke City in a thrilling and controversial match at the Britannia Stadium.

Stoke 2 Tottenham 1

Former Spurs player Matthew Etherington scored twice in the first half with two goals that came as a result of the Potters' trademark long throws. The club's main exponent of those set plays, Rory Delap, was not playing, but in his stead Ryan Shotton provided the airborne assault that led to Tony Pulis getting the better of his former manager Harry Redknapp.

Emmanuel Adebayor pulled a goal back for Spurs after half-time from the penalty spot, but their hopes of claiming a result were hit when Younes Kaboul was sent off with eight minutes remaining for a second bookable offence.

The visitors had several appeals for handball in the box turned down, but referee Chris Foy declined to give Spurs a second spot-kick.

Stoke's third win in a row sees them move up to eighth in the table, while Tottenham remain five points behind second-placed Manchester United after a run of six consecutive wins was brought to an end.

Stoke showed signs of what was to come as early as the first minute when the first of Shotton's long throws was headed away by Benoit Assou-Ekotto but only as far as Etherington, whose volley was scrambled away by goalkeeper Brad Friedel.

The visitors were tested again on 13 minutes, and this time Etherington got his first goal since Stoke's 5-0 thrashing of Bolton in last season's FA Cup semi-final. Spurs dealt with the initial throw but it was enough to see them unable to regain their shape before Shotton sent in the second ball. Peter Crouch - one of four ex-Spurs players in the Stoke squad - shielded the ball near the byline before sneaking it through Friedel's legs allowing Etherington to finish from close range.

Tottenham began to play their way into the match but were for the most part unable to break through Stoke's resolute back line. Any aerial deliveries were swatted away with ease thanks to the Potters' significant height advantage, while the supply line to lone striker Adebayor was largely cut off.

The Londoners' best chance came from distance when Luka Modric had a drilled effort from 25 yards tipped around the foot of the post by Thomas Sorensen.

Etherington then doubled his team's lead just before half-time, and this time the long throw was even more influential. Jonathan Walters flicked Shotton's delivery on and Etherington miscued his first-time shot, but it was still enough to loop over the helpless Friedel.

Redknapp responded by making two changes at the break - bringing on Jermain Defoe and Sebastien Bassong for Aaron Lennon and Assou-Ekotto. Bassong sent a header over the bar from a corner before Crouch did the same from a Shotton throw.

Spurs were given a lifeline just post the hour mark when Modric invited a challenge from Glenn Whelan in the Stoke box and the Ireland midfielder took the bait. Adebayor scored coolly from the spot to register his fifth goal in his last four games.

Scott Parker forced a decent save from Sorensen and Adebayor curled an effort just wide as Tottenham began to find openings.

With 15 minutes left if what was building to a thrilling climax, referee Foy suddenly became the focus of attention. The official did not see Kaboul's shot clearly rebound off Shawcross's arm on the line, and in the very next phase of play Adebayor had the ball in the net only to be incorrectly ruled offside.

Then, in the final 10 minutes, Kaboul chased desperately after Walters down the left flank and sent him tumbling. Foy had already booked Kaboul for his justified protestations after Shawcross had hauled him over inside the box, and showed the France defender a second yellow for the challenge on Walters.

With Spurs down to 10 men Stoke were able to close out the victory thanks in no small part to the excellent hold-up play of Crouch, who celebrated a second victory at the Britannia over a former club having beaten Liverpool 1-0 back in September.

Tony Mabert - on Twitter @tony_mabert / Eurosport

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