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Fulham 0-1 Stoke LgC Rnd 03 1516 - The Irish News

last updated Wednesday 23rd September 2015, 2:02 PM

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Fulham (0) 0-1 (1) Stoke

Mark Hughes saw Peter Crouch score the goal to knock his former club Fulham out of the Capital One Cup before insisting the striker still has a big role to play at Stoke.

The 34-year-old was making just his second start of the season for the Potters but scored the only goal of the game as Hughes saw his side advance to round four with a narrow 1-0 win against their Championship opponents. Crouch's only other start came in the second-round penalty shoot-out victory at Luton but, with Stoke still winless in the Premier League, Hughes is looking to use the experienced England forward on a more regular basis.

"Pete struggled in pre-season," the former Whites boss said of Crouch.

"He had an operation that didn't go as planned and set him back. Only now he's getting up to speed. It was important he got game time and he did really well.

"It was a good finish and he will start to progress his season from here, I'm sure. He's a player that gives us different options. He's a focal point to the team and a technically good player. He will want to play more but he's got a big role to play.

"He's proved here that if you get him in good positions he's an accomplished player and understands what it take at this level. He is an important player and an important member of the squad more importantly.

"It was important to win, get the job done and keep a clean sheet. We haven't had the start we wanted but this puts us in a positive mind."

Stoke controlled much of the game but the hosts rallied late on and saw Shay Given save superbly from Lasse Vigen Christensen before Dan Burn hit the crossbar in stoppage time.

Boss Kit Symons was pleased with the overall display from his Fulham side and their never-say-die approach.

"I thought we were excellent second half," he said.

"First half we did okay and were very much in the game, the goal they scored was very fortuitous. There wasn't an awful lot in it but I didn't think we were positive enough and showed them too much respect.

"I thought we were better second half and we ramped it up as it went on and had an abundance of chances at the end but unfortunately we couldn't take one of them. I don't like losing, but if you do, at least we lost having a go."

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