Stoke City survived a late Reading fightback this afternoon to record their first Premier League victory of 2013, winning the game 2-1.
The home side made a lively start and nearly took the lead inside five minutes when Peter Crouch came within inches of connecting with a corner at the far post.
Crouch's aerial battle with Adrian Mariappa was prominent throughout the opening 45 minutes but the Royals defender did just enough to keep the game goalless.
Reading handed new striker Nick Blackman a full debut this afternoon but he saw little of the ball on the left of a three-man attack.
Stoke continued to press before the break but despite a series of lively bursts from Matthew Etherington were unable to create a clear-cut opportunity before half time.
Robert Huth finally made the breakthrough for the Potters on 66 minutes with a powerful header from close range.
Second-half substitute Cameron Jerome looked to have made the game safe soon after with a fine finish that had Royals keeper Adam Federici rooted to the spot.
Reading threw players forward in search of a comeback and found a quick lifeline when Mariappa met Ian Harte's corner with authority to beat Asmir Begovic at his near post.
Stoke cleared the danger in a frantic finale and held on to secure an important three points.
Feb 9, 2013 at 3pm UK at Britannia Stadium
Result: Stoke City too strong for Reading
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