Stoke City 1 Coventry City 0

Tony Pulis might have thought Christmas had come early after Stoke miraculously picked up all three points at home to Coventry.

With Stoke struggling for players, the return on John Eustace against his former club was a welcome boost.

The home side almost took an early lead when Ade Akinbiyi's chest down provided Gifton Noel-Williams with the opportunity to hit a 25-yard volley that flew inches over Luke Steele's crossbar.

However, the fans didn't have to wait much longer as the Potters moved ahead on 21 minutes.

A swirling ball from the right by Chris Greenacre was centred by a towering Noel-Williams and finally nodded home by Akinbiyi from close range.

Stoke rode their luck into half time with the Sky Blues desperately trying to claw a goal back.

Eddie Johnson came close seconds before the interval when he headed over a Louis Carey corner.

Coventry stepped up a gear after the break but an equaliser still failed to materialize.

Steve Simonsen was called into action several times to dig his team-mates out of

Gary McSheffrey's 20-yard effort and captain Steven Hughes' close range blast both forced excellent saves out of former Everton goalkeeper.

Goalscorer Akinbiyi was lucky not to see red in the 82nd minute when he appeared to punch Florent Laville. However, neither referee nor linesman caught a glimpse of the incident.

To add insult to injury, the visitors thought they had earned a point when Dele Adebola scrambled the ball over the line in the 90th minute but the linesman judged him to be offside.