Norwich City vs. Stoke City  1 - 0

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Premier League: Norwich City 1 Stoke City 0

3 November 2012 18:07

Norwich City picked up their second home win in succession on Saturday with a battling 1-0 win over Stoke City at Carrow Road.

In an even match the only goal came in the first half, as Bradley Johnson headed in a free-kick from the right flank, but Stoke had more than their fair share of the chances to equalise, particularly after the break.

Jonathan Walters and Kenwyne Jones both could have levelled the scores for the visitors, but their finishing was ultimately not up to standard on the day.

Neither side made drastic changes, with Norwich manager Chris Hughton bringing in Steven Whittaker for Russell Martin at right-back, and Robert Snodgrass for Elliott Bennett on the wing.

Stoke made just one change from the team which drew with Sunderland last time out and it was an enforced one, as Andy Wilkinson came back into the team for the injured Mark Wilson.

The opening 30 minutes was very much a battle in midfield, with neither team able to gain a decisive advantage, but the hosts really should have taken the lead around the 25-minute mark.

Wes Hoolahan jinked down the left, playing a one-two with Anthony Pilkington before finding the winger again inside the area, but his close-range effort was stopped well by Asmir Begovic.

The hosts had definitely been the better side and eventually took the lead just before half-time.

Robert Snodgrass did well to win a free-kick down the right before delivering it himself and Johnson rose to produce an excellent back-header that looped into the top corner of the net.

Seconds later Snodgrass almost got himself on the score sheet after good work by Pilkington down the left, but he could not connect with the low cross. Nevertheless, the Canaries went into the break with a deserved lead.

Stoke were showing a little more urgency early in the second half and nearly equalised when Peter Crouch flicked a high ball on to Jonathan Walters, but under pressure from Sebastien Bassong the former Ipswich Town man's shot was parried away by John Ruddy.

Stoke continued to look more interested and were pressing, but Norwich almost doubled their lead on the counter-attack, a brilliant move ending with Pilkington hammered Grant Holt's back-post cross well over the bar.

The visitors went close again with 15 minutes left in the match, as Crouch headed a cross on for Kenwyne Jones, and after bringing the ball down on his chest, the forward lashed a volley just wide of the far post, with Ruddy helplessly beaten.

Stoke piled on the pressure in the dying stages, but with Norwich holding firm the hosts managed to secure the three points and the win.

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Pulis backs Adam to find form

3 November 2012 13:20

Stoke City manager Tony Pulis believes Charlie Adam can rediscover his best form after a slow start to his career at the Premier League club.

The midfielder's unhappy spell with Liverpool last season dented his confidence but his new boss feels that a bit of careful man-management will bring out the best in a player who netted 13 times for Blackpool two seasons ago.

"It's all about managing players these days, and some you have to kiss and cuddle a bit more than you used to," Pulis told the Daily Mirror.

"I have taken him to one side and told him to relax a bit. He's got to relax more. He's been very uptight about it. He's so, so keen to prove what a good player he is.

"But I expect him to get goals and he will. I think he's trying too hard. He gets around the pitch to an unbelievable extent. His Prozone stats are just fantastic.

"If we win a game, it's because we won together, whether someone has a good game or not, and if we lose, we look at it as a group and not (as) individuals.

"He just has to get used to what we do and the way we do it. It is all about the team and not individuals.

"Getting him (Adam) was great business for us. It was a great deal. I don't think people realise the fee we paid for Charlie. It was a fantastic deal.

"I think he will score soon and he will go off on one. I'm still hoping he will weigh in with eight to 10 goals. He's got the quality to do that."

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Premier League preview: Norwich v Stoke

1 November 2012 14:32

Norwich play host to Stoke on Saturday in a vital clash that could see Chris Hughton's men leapfrog the visitors on the table.

Norwich occupy 16th place on the Premier League table with seven points after nine games, while Stoke are 13th on the back of one win and six draws.

A win at Carrow Road would see Norwich climb above Stoke, who in turn would slip closer towards the relegation zone.

Norwich head into the contest full of confidence, having accounted for Tottenham in the League Cup and Arsenal in the Premier League in their past two matches at home.

"We've got a great spirit and a great young team," goalkeeper Mark Bunn told the Norwich website following Wednesday's 2-1 win over Tottenham.

"The lads are buzzing in the dressing room and hopefully we can keep pushing and keep working hard."

Stoke will be without defender Marc Wilson after he suffered a broken leg in last weekend's scoreless draw at home to Sunderland.

Andy Wilkinson appears to be the most likely replacement, having impressed as a substitute at the Britannia Stadium.

"It's totally down to the gaffer who he thinks is best suited to come in and play at left back, but I am definitely ready to step in if he feels I am the best option," Wilkinson told the Stoke website.

"I have predominantly played at right back over the past couple of years, but I wouldn't be fazed by playing on the left-hand side."

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +43 89
2 38 +32 78
3 38 +36 75
4 38 +35 73
5 38 +20 72
6 38 +15 63
7 38 +28 61
8 38 -4 49
9 38 -4 46
10 38 -8 46
11 38 -17 44
12 38 -10 43
13 38 -11 42
14 38 -11 41
15 38 -22 41
16 38 -23 41
17 38 -13 39
18 38 -26 36
19 38 -30 28
20 38 -30 25