Both sides came away from their opening fixtures with positives, not points, to count; each looked at the other and saw a chance to impose themselves on a match and change that here. "Premier League points are like gold dust," said Mark Hughes, after collecting his first as Stoke manager. "It's important for a manager working with a new group of players."
That much was clear from the team sheets. Hughes inserted Charlie Adam – "we needed a little bit of his craft" – while the Crystal Palace manager, Ian Holloway, changed three of his front four. Marouane Chamakh started ahead of Dwight Gayle, the newly signed Jason Puncheon and José Campaña, the highly regarded young midfielder bought from Sevilla.
"It was a better performance than last weekend," said Holloway. "The new lads helped the group. It was close; I was pleased with certain things."
Anyone who took a blow to the head in the first half might have come to wondering if they were in London, the away supporters creating all the atmosphere. Both teams had half chances – Peter Crouch headed over the bar after out-jumping Dean Moxey, while Palace might have had a penalty when Matthew Etherington barged Joel Ward – before the visitors took the lead after half an hour.
It was thanks to a lovely goal from Chamakh. The long ball forward from Moxey seemed to hold on the wind, dropping vertically as Chamakh outmuscled Ryan Shawcross. The forward hesitated a moment, time enough to allow Robert Huth to commit himself, and stroked the ball into the net with his right foot.
Julián Speroni then got the fingertips of his glove to the ball to brush a Crouch header on to the bar and away, but it was a rare moment of danger for the Palace goalkeeper.
Stoke started the second half, however, full of intent. "We were a little bit apprehensive in the first half," said Hughes. "We needed to be on the front foot and ask more questions."
His side are not yet playing Stoki-taka, but Steven Nzonzi and Jonathan Walters had chances before Adam levelled just before the hour. Crouch knocked down Etherington's cross and Walters turned the ball out to Adam, who gratefully tucked it away from close range.
Now the home fans roared and the tempo was hectic – Shawcross gave Stoke the lead within a few minutes, but that had still been long enough for Adam to swerve another long-range shot at Speroni. Shawcross was closer when he swept Huth's pass, poked beneath Chamakh's attempted block, goalwards.
Begovic had a moment's panic as Puncheon's shot squirmed out of his grasp, but he recovered to collect the ball and after that he was largely untroubled. The arrival of Jonny Williams did reinvigorate the Palace midfield, but when he was felled by Marc Wilson just outside the area in the 83rd minute, Mile Jedinak smashed the free kick straight in to the wall.
At the other end, Nzonzi whipped a shot across his body that beat Speroni but bounced off the post. "We weren't great, but the important thing was to get a result," said Hughes.