Friday 16 November 2018

Stoke's ten year stay in the Premier League comes to a painful end in front of their home fans

Stoke manager Paul Lambert forced to contemplate relegation from the Premier League
Stoke manager Paul Lambert forced to contemplate relegation from the Premier League

Stoke were relegated from the Premier League as they crashed to a 2-1 loss to Crystal Palace at the bet365 Stadium.

The 19th-placed Potters went into the contest, their penultimate game of the season, desperate to boost their survival hopes with what would have been a first victory in 13 matches.

But after they took the lead through Xherdan Shaqiri's 43rd-minute free-kick, things then turned around in the second half, with James McArthur equalising in the 68th minute and Patrick van Aanholt netting the winner for Palace in the 86th.

Stoke fans had their head in their hands at the final whistle as it was confirmed the club's 10-year stay in the division was coming to an end, Paul Lambert having failed to rescue them after replacing the sacked Mark Hughes as manager in January.

The Potters are three points behind 17th-placed Swansea with one game remaining, but the Swans' midweek fixture against third-bottom Southampton means Lambert's side cannot escape the drop zone.

Palace, meanwhile, are now mathematically safe to complete the considerable upturn in their fortunes after Roy Hodgson succeeded Frank De Boer early in the campaign.

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Crystal Palace safe in the Premier League after a win at Stoke (Getty)

After the game got under way with Stoke being roared on by a thunderous rendition of 'Delilah' from their supporters, the home team looked nervy in the early stages.

Palace made a couple of attempts on goal, with shots from Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Wilfried Zaha going wide, and Stoke did not have their first real chance until the 22nd minute, when Mame Diouf headed off-target from Shaqiri's cross.

The visitors applied more pressure before being forced into a change with five minutes of normal time left in the half, Joel Ward having to be replaced by Martin Kelly.

Three minutes later Stoke's fans were sent into delirium as Shaqiri's free-kick, via a touch off Loftus-Cheek, sailed past Wayne Hennessey to put Lambert's men in front.

There was a scare for the hosts shortly after the interval when the ball came to Loftus-Cheek in a dangerous position, with Erik Pieters making an excellent tackle to take it away from the midfielder.

Both sides then struggled to carve out much in the way of chances until a Palace counter-attack saw them draw level.

Substitute Ramadan Sobhi lost the ball, and it subsequently moved from Zaha to Loftus-Cheek and on to McArthur, who slotted past Jack Butland.

Badou Ndiaye fed Shaqiri, but the Swiss lost his footing as he tried to shoot and the flag was up for offside, and Zaha then blazed over when he looked certain to score.

Stoke, who would have been left on the brink of relegation by a draw, then had their fate sealed as captain Ryan Shawcross inadvertently diverted a Zaha pass towards Van Aanholt and the Dutchman fired in.

Press Association

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