Jonathan Walters put a nightmare weekend behind him, as his extra-time double secured Stoke City’s passage to the FA Cup fourth round at the expense of a resilient Crystal Palace side with a 4-1, extra-time victory.
Ian Holloway’s side had impressed throughout, but was unlucky to find themselves a goal down as the game entered its final minutes after substitute Kenwyne Jones had come off the bench to give the Potters the lead.
With five minutes remaining, Palace was awarded its second penalty of the night, having seen Jermaine Easter’s earlier spot-kick saved by Thomas Sorensen, and it was left to substitute Glen Murray to fire home past the Dane to take the tie into extra time.
Walters, who scored two own-goals and missed a penalty in Stoke’s heavy defeat against Chelsea on Saturday, headed home Matthew Etherington’s cross to give the Potters the lead, before wrapping up the victory with a fine solo effort. Cameron Jerome fired home a late fourth, and U.S. international Geoff Cameron played all 120 minutes, as Stoke claimed a comfortable victory, even though the final scoreline flattered the Premier League side.
Tony Pulis’ men started brightly, as they looked to bounce back from their first home defeat in nearly a year, but after struggling to create any chances of note, Palace soon started to take control of the tie, with Manchester United target Wilfried Zaha impressing in front of Sir Alex Ferguson, who took in the match as a spectator.
After Aaron Wilbraham had headed an early chance over the bar, Zaha soon began to run riot for Palace, bamboozling his way through Stoke's defense on numerous occasions, and it was the product of one of the young England international’s mazy runs that created the game’s first real talking point.
Working his way into the penalty area, Zaha was hauled down by Ryan Shawcross, leaving referee Anthony Taylor with little choice but to award the penalty. Easter stepped up to take the spot kick, but he was unable to beat Sorensen in the Stoke City goal, with the Dane diving down well to his left to push the 31-year-old’s effort onto the post and away.
Peter Crouch was replaced by Jones as Stoke looked to open the scoring, and the Trinidad and Tobago international made an instant impact, having a shot deflected onto the post with virtually his first touch since coming on, before heading home from the resulting corner.
Murray’s late penalty took the fixture into extra-time, but Palace had no answer for Walters’ double and Jerome's late finish, as Stoke ensured its place in the fourth round against reigning Premier League champion Manchester City.