Stoke nearly safe as Adam goal beats Norwich
Premier League, Britannia Stadium - Stoke City 1 (Adam 46) Norwich City 0
Stoke City all but secured their Premier League status for a sixth season as a 1-0 home win over Norwich City took them to 40 points and 12th place.
Charlie Adam struck the only goal of the game inside the first minute of the second half, the Scotland international pouncing on a moment of hesitancy in the visiting defence to fire home from close range.
The hard-fought win puts Stoke 12th and eight-points above the relegation zone - an advantage that will surely be sufficient to keep them in the top flight.
Norwich sit two points closer to relegation and a toothless performance at the Britannia Stadium will do little to ease their residual fears of relegation.
The visitors started the brighter and Robert Snodgrass passed up a great chance after only seven minutes when he headed over from a Russell Martin cross. Just two minutes later, Bradley Johnson fired over the bar from Kei Kamara's cute lay-off.
Stoke's most prominent protagonist was forward Cameron Jerome, who was denied an almost certain goal after 22 minutes when he intelligently peeled off his man at the back post from a corner to steer a fine volley at goal with his instep, only for team-mate Steven Nzonzi to get in the way.
Otherwise the majority of a rather sterile first half was characterised by a succession of corners and silly fouls. Nzonzi could even have seen red for a late and high challenge on Kamara as he wrapped himself round the striker's trailing leg in rather brutal fashion, while Grant Holt earned a booking for clattering into Robert Huth from behind for no discernible reason.
Within 60 seconds of the restart, though, Stoke snuck in front. Peter Crouch headed on a long ball from the back and with Jerome holding off Sebastien Bassong, Adam stole in to exploit indecision in the Norwich defence and fire a low effort past Mark Bunn.
Norwich were desperately short of ideas in attack and Stoke had the perfect chance to double their lead on 63 minutes when three home players got in behind the defence. Jerome delivered a bouncing, teasing cross to the back post where Crouch only had to tap home. Incredibly, the striker swung and missed the ball entirely.
Crouch was guilty of another glaring miss in the final minutes, yet his abject failure to convert when a 20-yarder from Nzonzi was spilled by Bunn did not matter as the flag went up for offside.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Cameron Jerome (Stoke City) - He played his part in the goal but the forward was also the liveliest player on the pitch, whether popping up through the centre or out wide.