Sensational scissor kick seals Peter Crouch hat-trick as Stoke see off Stevenage in EFL Cup
- Credit: Archant
Stevenage’s hopes of another cup upset came crashing down on home soil as Premier League Stoke City put them to the sword this evening (Tuesday).
Boro had hoped to make history by getting into the third round of the EFL Cup for the first time in their history, but a hat-trick from Peter Crouch - the last a sensational scissor kick - and a 30-yard thunderbolt by full-back Phil Bardsley saw a strong Stoke outfit progress through to the next round instead.
Stoke came loaded with first team regulars in their side such as Ryan Shawcross, Joe Allen and Marko Arnautovic while Boro again opted to rest Michael Tonge for a cup match, the former Stoke midfielder making way for Dale Gorman in the middle of the pitch.
After 13 minutes the visitors were ahead, and it came from the head of former England man Crouch.
Stoke had gone close just moments earlier when Jamie Jones had saved low from Allen, but he could do nothing about Crouch’s goal when Jon Walters’ effort came back off the bar and Crouch, just a yard out, nodded in.
The same player then headed wide as Stoke turned the screw, with their midfield of Allen, Charlie Adam and Glenn Whelan outnumbering Boro’s Gorman and Charlie Lee, and they got a deserved second just after the half-hour mark.
Bardsley was the unlikely scorer when, out of seemingly nowhere, he struck a powerful shot into the top corner of Jones’ goal to leave most of the Boro faithful and his own team-mates speechless.
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Boro boss Darren Sarll opted to keep with the same XI for the start of the second half but his side conceded just three minutes after the restart.
The hosts failed to cut out an Arnautovic cross, and Crouch barely rose off the ground to head home his second of the evening.
Stevenage had more of a threat thanks to the arrival of Matt Godden, but they still found it difficult to get beyond the Stoke back line.
There was an appearance off the bench for Tonge, but his introduction came with just over 20 minutes remaining and he was unable to have the sort of impact he would have wished for.
In fact, there was one more goal but it went to man of the match Crouch as he steadied himself from an Allen chipped cross and pulled off a stunning scissor kick - the sort of goal his boss, Mark Hughes, used to score during his playing heyday.
There was still time for a fine save by Jamie Jones from Adam while Boro played the last five minutes with just 10 men following an injury to Gorman.
In the end there was no repeat of the recent cup upset at Ipswich, and it is Stoke who go through to the next round of the competition.
Stevenage: Jones, Fox, Henry, Wilkinson, Franks, Hunte (McAnuff 58), Pett, Lee (Tonge 67), Gorman, Liburd, Hyde (Godden 58). Subs: Day, Kennedy, Donnellan, Kerr.
Stoke City: Given, Bardsley, Allen (Bojan 85), Muniesa, Whelan, Arnautovic (Ramadan 62), Adam, Shawcross (Pieters 73), Walters, Cameron, Crouch. Subs: Bachmann, Joselu, Diouf, Imbula.