Norwich City manager Chris Hughton can breathe a little easier after a second victory of the season was secured by a long-range effort from Jonny Howson.
HowsonÔÇÖs contribution was a rare glimpse of quality in a mess of a game at the Britannia Stadium and it provided three welcome points for Hughton, who was facing increasing pressure after significant summer investment and a run of four wins in 17 matches.
His side began with real purpose and went close when a Robert Snodgrass header was met by a prodded effort from Ryan Bennett that came back off the bar before the Norwich defenderÔÇÖs rebound was held by Asmir Begovic.
Stoke City were sluggish only really threatened through a clearing header from Alex Tettey that almost flew into his own corner from a Charlie Adam free-kick and a Marko Arnautovic effort that flew wide from distance.
The visitors took a deserved advantage when Anthony Pilkington seized a loose ball from Geoff CameronÔÇÖs throw and fed Howson, whose powerful effort beat Begovic from almost 25 yards.
For all the talk of their new-found swagger, Stoke were reliant on set-plays and Ryan Shawcross glanced wide at the far post after getting on the end of a deep corner from Adam.
Mark Hughes attempted to spark his side with the introduction of Stephen Ireland and Jermaine Pennant at the interval but other than the intensity picking up somewhat, the difference was negligible.
Marc Wilson and Arnautovic both missed from distance and Kenwyne Jones controlled a bobbling ball before forcing a simple save from John Ruddy.
Steven Nzonzi also brought a routine stop from Ruddy but Begovic did well to tip away a bending shot from Robert Snodgrass and keep the hosts within striking distance.
Shawcross headed wide from a late Pennant corner but that got what they deserved from an uninspired performance.