Watch highlights of Stoke City’s thumping victory over Rochdale at Spotland this evening.
Perhaps mindful of the Premier League teams who had fallen at the hands of lower league opposition in the FA Cup fourth round this weekend, Stoke City manager Mark Hughes played a strong team at Rochdale this evening and was repaid as his side eventually ran away with the tie at Spotland.
The game was not without its issues for Stoke, however, who saw Rochdale dominate much of the opening 45 minutes despite falling behind to an incredible Bojan Krkic volley after just three minutes.
Bojan left the pitch with a serious looking injury soon after and Stoke lost plenty of their attacking spark as a result, with the first half provind got be something of a damp squid after an incredible opening.
The second was full of goals, however, with the visitors doubling their advantage when midfielder Stephen Ireland arrived late in the box to smash the ball into the roof of the net from close range.
The tie was effectively over after Ireland’s intervention but it was entirely over when Chelsea loanee Victor Moses had his say, sweeping past the Rochdale defence before planting a fine finish into the top corner of Josh Lillis’ goal.
Rochdale’s efforts certainly deserved something from the game, however, and an almost capacity crowd at Spotland were on their feet when defender Rhys Bennett, up for a set piece, managed to sweep the ball into the near post after Stoke failed to clear a set piece.
Stoke had the final say with the last touch of the game with Jonathan Walters getting himself onto the scoreesheet with a fine effort at the far post as his side avoided any upsets at the home of their League One opponents.