Keeper Brezovan fails to deal with Delap's delivery for the opener
By Saj Chowdhury
Stoke scored three goals in the first half as they booked their place in the FA Cup quarter-finals at the expense of League One leaders Brighton.
The Premier League side took the lead in the 14th minute when John Carew headed in Rory Delap's long throw-in.
Stoke's second goal was scored by Jon Walters after he nodded Marc Wilson's cross across keeper Peter Brezovan.
The third came shortly before the break when Ryan Shawcross headed in Wilson's flick from Jermaine Pennant's corner.
Stoke only managed six attempts on target but they scored from three, while the visitors did not manage to test Stoke keeper Thomas Sorensen until the second half.
Tony Pulis's side were helped on their way by Seagulls stopper Brezovan, who will not look back on this match with great fondness.
The 6ft 6in 31-year-old Czech keeper replaced regular choice Casper Ankergren as a reward for helping Brighton reach the fifth round. However, manager Gus Poyet may have been rueing his loyalty to Brezovan after two early errors resulted in his side being 2-0 down after only 22 minutes.
Stoke's first goal came courtesy of another dangerous Delap throw-in, which was flicked in by Carew past the Brezovan, who appeared to flap at the delivery.
And the shot-stopper then failed to get anywhere near a header from Walters after Wilson had played a great one-two with Pennant before whipping in a delightful cross.
Shawcross then went close with another header at the far post, with Pennant again being the provider, before having more luck two minutes before the break.
On this occasion, the 23-year-old Chester-born defender made space for himself to nod in Wilson's flick from Pennant's corner.
Brezovan's opposite number Sorensen had been finding it hard to keep his hands warm in the cold Britannia Stadium, having not been tested in the first half.
So it would have come as some sort of relief for the Dane - and joy for the visitors and their travelling fans - when forward Ashley Barnes stung his gloves with a firm effort.
Stoke sat back for a large part of the second half, much to the frustration of the home support, as Brighton pressed, hoping for the comeback to end all comebacks.
But the disappointing aspect of their display, apart from the three goals conceded, was that the final ball was often woeful.
Midfielders Gary Dicker and Elliott Bennett had found it difficult to exert their influence on the game and were harried and hustled by a faster and stronger Stoke midfield.
Late on, Brighton substitutes Cristian Baz and youngster Jake Caskey did try their best to provide their fans with some cheer with shots from distance but neither effort really troubled Sorensen.
Stoke boss Tony Pulis: "I thought that the attitude of the players was absolutely fantastic and the only disappointment was that it was only 3-0 at half time.
"The players were fresh, they looked ready to go to work, so you have to give them credit.
"We looked a threat every time we went forward in the first half and Walters could easily have had a hat-trick. It was a thoroughly professional performance all round.
"We gave Brighton the respect they deserved. They've done smashing in their League and they are a team who like to move the ball around quickly.
"But it wasn't until the last seven or eight minutes that they got up around our box and had a couple of chances."
Brighton manager Gus Poyet: "I came here with Tottenham, so I knew what was coming.
"I remember that Heurelho Gomes was left crying on that occasion.
"We trained hard to try and deal with the threat they pose from set-pieces, but now my players know how difficult it is to play against it.
"Stoke were stronger, bigger, better and more clinical. They're as successful as anyone when it comes to set-plays."
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