Stoke 1-0 Norwich

Stoke goal
Stoke goal

Charlie Adam's second-half strike put Stoke on the brink of Premier League safety and left opponents Norwich facing a nervy end to the season.

The Scot latched on to a Peter Crouch flick and finished well to seal the Potters' third league win of 2013.

Crouch missed a good chance to extend the lead, but the hosts held on easily against a toothless Canaries attack.

The win moves Stoke on to 40 points, while Norwich remain on 38 points - six points clear of the relegation zone.

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Pulis praises 'remarkable' Stoke

Tony Pulis's direct playing style has been often criticised, especially as results have faltered in a poor 2013, but it was a classic route-one move that brought his side a precious win.

Adam's first goal since November came courtesy of a Ryan Shawcross long ball from the back, and the Potters doggedly secured three points which should guarantee them a sixth successive season in the top flight.

For Norwich boss Chris Hughton, though, the spectre of the drop still looms after a poor display in which they failed to seriously trouble Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic.

These two sides have followed a similar trajectory this season, with excellent pre-Christmas form being followed by dramatic nosedives since the turn of the year, but Stoke become the first to reach the 40-point mark.

It was an emotional day for the home fans, who held a minute's applause in the 42nd minute for former player Paul Ware following his death this week at the age of 42.

It was also a tense day for the Potters supporters, who had previously seen only one home win since the start of the year.

The first half was a nervy and largely forgettable affair, with the only clear-cut chance falling early on to Cameron Jerome whose powerful close-range volley hit his team-mate Steven Nzonzi on the line.

But the game sprang to life within moments of the restart as Stoke took the lead with a textbook up-and-under.

A long ball from defence was flicked on by Peter Crouch into the path of Adam, who took a touch with his head before firing crisply past Mark Bunn from close range.

Crouch should have doubled the lead 10 minutes later, but he contrived to swing at thin air after Adam teed him up in the six-yard box with an inviting low cross.

Nzonzi wasted another opportunity, opting to shoot from a tight angle with team-mates waiting in the box, and the midfielder then saw a fierce shot parried by Bunn.

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Norwich did not do enough - Hughton

Fortunately for the Potters, Norwich mustered precious little in response - an injury-time header from Kei Kamara that sailed over the bar being the closest they came to an equaliser.

But with home games coming up against Aston Villa and West Brom, the Canaries' destiny is still very much in their own hands.

Stoke City manager Tony Pulis:

"We deserved to win today, we created more opportunities. The three points are vital because we have tough games coming up.

"Our first challenge is always to stay in the Premier League, anything else is a bonus.

"A sixth successive Premier League season would be a great achievement for a club that a few years ago was a mid-table Championship side."

Norwich City manager Chris Hughton:

"We were in good form coming into the game, but we came up against a Stoke side that were back to their most direct.

"I thought we dealt with that very well, but we didn't do enough to win the game.

"We've got two home games now, which I'd like to think helps. But it's a nervy part of the season."

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