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Thursday 17 April 2014

Walters puts weekend nightmare behind him and puts Stoke through


Stoke 3-1 Crystal Palace

Stoke City's Jonathan Walters celebrates after scoring against Crystal Palace during their FA Cup third round replay soccer match at The Britannia Stadium in Stoke on Trent, central England January 15, 2013. REUTERS/Phil Noble (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)

JON Walters bounced back from his Chelsea nightmare in style by netting a brace to help Stoke to an extra-time victory over Crystal Palace in this evening's FA Cup third-round replay at the Britannia Stadium.





Walters endured a miserable time of it in the Potters' 4-0 Barclays Premier League defeat to the Blues on Saturday, scoring two own-goals and missing a penalty.



He received a vote of confidence tonight from manager Tony Pulis, who opted to keep the forward in the team, and Walters responded by heading home to put Stoke 2-1 up in the fifth minute of extra-time before adding his second of the evening with 10 minutes remaining.



Substitute Cameron Jerome then wrapped up the win with a strike in the dying moments.



The game - which followed a 0-0 draw at Selhurst Park 10 days ago - had gone into the additional period after Palace had made it 1-1 in the 87th minute through substitute Glenn Murray's penalty.



The npower Championship outfit had already failed to convert one spot-kick, with Thomas Sorensen pushing Jermaine Easter's 34th-minute effort onto the post.



Kenwyne Jones then came off the bench to give the hosts the lead in the 69th minute with a header that Palace goalkeeper Lewis Price allowed to slip through his hands.



The visitors rallied well, but the night belonged to Walters, whose late exploits ultimately ensured Stoke's passage to the fourth round, where they face a home clash with Manchester City, a fixture that will bring together the two teams that contested the 2011 final.



In a lively opening, Matthew Etherington saw his low ball into the Palace danger zone diverted behind for corner before Aaron Wilbraham headed over the bar at the other end.



Walters looked keen to show he was not dwelling on the memory of the weekend, flashing a drive from outside the area wide in the 14th minute while he also just failed to get on the end of cross from Etherington.



Palace winger Wilfried Zaha - a reported target for Manchester United - then came to the fore with a series of attacking bursts.



In one, the England international's cross earned the visitors a corner which then came short to Zaha, who tried to round Andy Wilkinson and went down in the area.



Referee Anthony Taylor waved for play to continue on that occasion and then booked Zaha for diving when he hit the turf in the box moments later.



Soon after that, though, the 20-year-old was on the deck again and Taylor reacted by awarding a penalty, judging that Zaha had been fouled by Ryan Shawcross.



Sorensen - once again in the team for a cup game instead of first-choice goalkeeper Asmir Begovic - came to Stoke's rescue, tipping Easter's spot-kick against his left-hand post.



And after Wilkinson had been forced to come off for Glenn Whelan, it was Shawcross then making an important interception, blocking a shot from Zaha.



Somewhat surprisingly, Zaha was substituted himself at the interval for Yannick Bolasie.



Dean Whitehead curled an attempt at the Palace goal early after the restart, with Price diving to push the ball away.



Pulis refreshed his attack by replacing Michael Kightly and Peter Crouch with Jerome and Jones, who made a near-instant impact.



Soon after coming on, the Trinidadian crashed a low shot against the post and within a minute, he had the ball in the back of the net, meeting Etherington's cross with a far-post header which Price could not prevent from squirming through his grasp and over the line.



Jones looked very much in the mood, sending another shot at Price which the goalkeeper held on to.



Palace had not given up, though, with Sorensen having to rush out to deny Easter.



Price then got down to save an Etherington shot, but the visitors were soon back on the attack, with substitute Andre Moritz finding the side-netting.



Jonathan Williams then tangled with Shawcross in the Stoke box and Taylor once again pointed to the spot, with Palace top-scorer Murray succeeding where Easter had failed by burying the penalty.



Neither side could produce a winner in the remainder of normal time, with Bolasie firing over and Jones heading wide.



Walters then took centre-stage in extra-time, first diving to nod in Etherington's cross before slotting a shot past Price.



Jones almost grabbed his second goal, and Jerome then did make it 4-1 having rounded Price in the 120th minute.



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