Stoke 0 Millwall 1

Last updated : 23 November 2002 By Footymad Previewer

Stoke were up against it, having lost their last seven games and with not yet winning under new manager Tony Pulis, the pressure was on.

However, it was a different story for Millwall who had won three out of their last five.

A lively start produced a goal straight away in the second minute when a left-sided free-kick from Dennis Wise found an unchallenged Steven Reid and he headed well into Neil Cutler's bottom left corner.

Stoke went looking for a goal in the 24th minute when after a well won scramble, James O'Connor managed to squirm clear just inside the box with his curling shot being brilliantly saved at the top left corner by Tony Warner.

Stoke had their best chance of the half right on the whistle when Peter HoekstraÂ’s corner found the head of Tommy Mooney, who powered the ball at the goal but a goalmouth scramble resulted in a scrappy clearance.

The 1-0 scoreline didn't particularly reflect the play on the pitch at half time with Stoke trying in vain to equalise.

The Potters came out hungry for a goal straight after half time when another Hoekstra cross from the left was nodded on by Chris Iwelumo and then fired on to the crossbar by Brynjar Gunnarsson, but it was to no avail.

Pulis' men never gave up and in the 72nd minute when a teasing ball straight from the back by Wayne Thomas brought Warner to the edge of the box, he was forced to head clear, but substitute Chris Greenacre floated the ball over the bar missing another Stoke opportunity.

Stoke had another painfully close chance seven minutes later when a quick corner by Bjarni Gudjonsson was passed to O'Connor, who crossed it in front of goal where Hoekstra stuck out a leg, but sent the ball onto the bar again.

Pulis defended his players saying: “You can’t criticise the players for their effort and commitment.

“There's something hanging over the club at the moment and the only way to get rid of it is to work even harder. We have just gone to sleep in the first minute and then failed to come back.”