Stoke batter Bolton

Yesterday at Wembley the most one-side FA Cup semi-final since before the war took place, with Stoke City giving Bolton Wanderers a scarcely believable 5-0 spanking.

The Potters took the Trotters to the cleaners in a manner not seen since 1939, when Wolverhampton Wanderers beat Grimsby Town by the same scoreline, and set up a princes v paupers final with moneybags Manchester City. Far from being the bruising muscular encounter feared, Stoke worked all their goals with a combination of slick passing football and individual brilliance, and if they play like that will give City a very stern test come May.

‘The players have embraced this, they can't believe it, they've really enjoyed it and they'll look forward to coming back,’ said the Stoke manager Tony Pulis. ‘This will give them the confidence to come back on 14 May and to give it a good go.

‘We know we'll be playing against good players, a great football club with great tradition. The final will be tough; Manchester City have thrown a lot of money at it. But we'll do our best, as we've done against Bolton.’

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