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Hull 1-2 Stoke

Stoke midfielder Liam Lawrence (left) is congratulated by Ryan Shawcross after his goal at Hull
Lawrence (left) scored a brilliant second to secure Stoke's win

By Mandeep Sanghera

Stoke secured their Premier League status courtesy of a win that increased Hull's own relegation worries.

Ricardo Fuller swivelled and shot Stoke ahead after a Liam Lawrence corner had ricocheted into his path.

Kevin Kilbane had a shot palmed round the post for Hull, who were rescued by the woodwork when Glenn Whelan's shot struck the angle of the goal.

But Lawrence powered in a 25-yarder to confirm Stoke's win, even though Hull's Andy Dawson scored a late free-kick.

Stoke can celebrate an impressive achievement considering their resources and a season in which they started as one of the favourites for relegation.

Hull were grouped with them as strong contenders to go straight back down to the Championship after promotion - a seemingly unlikely prospect after their promising start to the season.

606: DEBATE

But one win in 19 Premier League games has seen the Tigers slide down the table and, although they have managed to stay out of the clutches of the bottom three all season, their form suggests that may not be the case for much longer.

The home side's play had an anxiety and tension about it at the start and the visitors should have capitalised on the space being afforded them in attacking positions.

Hull gradually settled and went close when Craig Fagan crossed for Daniel Cousin, whose looping header was tipped over by keeper Thomas Sorensen.

Both teams mainly took the aerial route into the opposition's box and a knock down gave Richard Garcia a sight of the Stoke goal.

We deserve some credit - Pulis

He chested the ball down but, with more time and space than he thought, he failed to take advantage of the chance by shooting too close to Sorensen.

Stoke repelled those rare chances and always looked the more dangerous attacking side and a swift counter-attack from the visitors ended with Lawrence having a shot deflected narrowly wide off Kamil Zayatte.

Lawrence took the resultant corner from which the ball fell to Fuller, who turned and shot into the Hull goal.

Kilbane almost responded shortly after the break only to see his 15-yard shot palmed round the post by Sorensen.

A disciplined and organised Stoke were now increasingly content to sit on their lead, soak up Hull's pressure and try to catch the home side out on the break or from a set-piece.

We must keep believing - Brown

The gameplan nearly came off when a corner fell to Whelan but his shot to come off the corner of the post and crossbar.

But Hull had no such luck when Lawrence unleashed a powerful angled strike past keeper Boaz Myhill, who could just stand and watch.

Dawson curled a 20-yard free-kick into the top corner for a consolation goal, but it could not stop Stoke earning a momentous win, although Geovanni came agonisingly close to an equaliser with a deflected shot in the final minute of injury time.


Hull: Myhill, Ricketts, Turner, Zayatte (Geovanni 67), Dawson, Garcia (Mendy 60), Boateng, Kilbane, Barmby, Fagan, Cousin (Manucho 60).
Subs Not Used: Duke, Hughes, Halmosi, Marney.

Goals: Dawson 90.

Stoke: Sorensen, Wilkinson, Shawcross, Abdoulaye Faye, Cort, Lawrence, Delap, Whelan, Etherington (Pugh 85), Beattie (Cresswell 78), Fuller (Kelly 90).
Subs Not Used: Simonsen, Olofinjana, Camara, Sonko.

Booked: Etherington.

Goals: Fuller 41, Lawrence 73.

Att: 24,932

Ref: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire).


BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Stoke's Ricardo Fuller (9 on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.



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see also
Stoke deserve credit, says Pulis
09 May 09 |  Premier League
Saturday's football as it happened
09 May 09 |  Premier League
Saturday's football photos
09 May 09 |  Football


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