Stoke City made to work hard for a place in the Fifth Round

Monday 26 Jan 2015
Bojan celebrates breaking the deadlock for Stoke

Stoke City booked an FA Cup Fifth Round trip to Blackburn Rovers after dispatching a stubborn Rochdale 4-1 at Spotland. 

The Potters avoided falling into the same trap that had caught so many of their Premier League counterparts at the weekend, but had to produce a resilient first-half display in order to progress. 

If results from The FA Cup’s very own ‘Super Saturday’ had been playing on City minds, then Spanish striker Bojan provided the perfect tonic by smashing the deadlock open after just four minutes. 

Rochdale 1-4 Stoke City

The FA Cup
Fourth Round Proper
Monday 26 January 2015
Spotland, Rochdale
Winning club receives £90,000 from FA Prize Fund

Stephen Ireland and Victor Moses added two more after the break and although Rhys Bennett slotted in a deserved consolation for the home team, Jonathan Walters wrapped the tie up in stoppage time. 

A four-time winner of the famous trophy himself, Mark Hughes will undoubtedly have impressed on his players the importance of this competition and may even have set their sights on reaching Wembley following Saturday’s high-profile departures. 

The Premier League outfit last reached The FA Cup Final as recently as 2011, losing to a burgeoning Manchester City that day. 

But with Manuel Pellegrini’s Blues joining Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur and League leaders Chelsea in making a swift exit from this year’s campaign, a second Final in four years is a genuine possibility for the Potters. 

Dawson and Whelan go up for the ball

Rochdale made it a difficult night for Premier League Stoke

The FA Cup has a habit of throwing up unfamiliar ties and as these two sides met for only the tenth time in their history, it was Stoke who took an early lead during a frenetic opening. 

Just moments after Peter Vincenti had geared the home crowd up with a low drive, Bojan blazed the visitors ahead. A loose Dale clearance fell kindly for the former Barcelona forward who allowed the ball to fall before drilling it home. 

Despite that early setback, the League One promotion hopefuls responded well and threatened to claw the game level throughout the opening 45. 

Ian Henderson dragged a shot wide and, after Stoke lost goalscorer Bojan to injury, Matthew Done caused havoc for the opposition defence. Having first been denied by an onrushing Jack Butland, Done was again unleashed through the middle only for the Dale number 40 to squeeze his shot wide. 

Almost inevitably, the home side were unable to replicate that same vigour after the break. Moses became increasingly influential out wide and it was he who created the second. 

Victor Moses scores for Stoke

The impressive Victor Moses fires in for the Potters

Substitute Stephen Ireland had replaced Bojan in the first half and he was perfectly placed to turn home Moses’ cross after the Nigerian international had beaten Joseph Rafferty for pace. 

Moses added his own after the hour mark with a touch of individual class. First besting Rafferty by turning the full-back inside out, the former Chelsea man then curled the ball into the top corner to diminish any slim hopes of a Bradford-esque comeback. 

Bennett pounced to grab a late consolation for the hopeful home support, but Walters would have the final say by adding a fourth in stoppage time. 

Ewood Park now awaits for Stoke as they bid to reach the last eight of the competition.

Rochdale (4-1-4-1): 1 Josh Lillis; 2 Joseph Rafferty, 5 Ashley Eastham, 6 Oliver Lancashire (c), 17 Scott Tanser; 3 Rhys Bennett; 40 Ian Henderson, 12 Stephen Dawson, 28 Callum Camps, 7 Peter Vincenti; 16 Matthew Done.

Substitutes: 9 Calvin Andrew for Done 54, 11 Reuben Noble-Lazarus for Vincenti 57, 24 Jamie Allen for Camps 63.

Substitutes not used: 21 Jonathan Diba Musangu, 25 Michael Rose, 26 Joel Logan, 39 Joseph Bunney.

Goals: Bennett 78.

Cautions: Vincenti, Andrew.

Stoke City (4-2-3-1): 22 Jack Butland; 2 Phil Bardsley, 26 Phillip Wollscheid, 17 Ryan Shawcross (c), 12 Marc Wilson; 15 Steven Nzonzi, 6 Glenn Whelan; 10 Marko Arnautovic, 27 Bojan Krkic, 13 Victor Moses; 19 Jonathon Walters.

Substitutes: 7 Stephen Ireland for Bojan 32, 21 Steven Sidwell for Nzonzi 46, 16 Charlie Adam for Moses 75.

Substitutes not used: 29 Thomas Sorenson, 5 Marc Muniesa, 20 Geoff Cameron, 25 Peter Crouch.

Goals: Bojan 9, Ireland 52, Moses 61, Walters 93.

Cautions: Bojan, Wilson, Bardsley.

Referee: Martin Atkinson.

Attendance: 7,443.

Watch the goals from the Fourth Round tie at Spotland