2016 - 2017

2016 - 2017

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Happy Mama Helps See Off Cardiff : Stoke City 3 Cardiff City 0

There can be no doubt that Mama Sidibe puts everything into his game, every time he pulls on a Stoke City shirt. He may not be the most elegant of players, but he is a seriously awkward customer to handle, physically challenging to opposing players. As a striker he is unlikely to be a prolific scorer of goals. One moment he is apparently clumsy, the next he shoots off at speed toward the opposition goal with the ball under control. He holds the ball up well.His' flickons' often deserve a better fate. Certainly he wins a high proportion of the balls that come his way in the air, despite the close attention of opposing defenders. There is also little question that he has been getting better as this season has progressed : some extra little tricks to beat defenders in tight situations, some effective layoffs, and one- twos. He never seems to stop working up and down the pitch.

Last night's match again showed that he can alternately frustrate and then delight the fans. In the first half he completely failed to make contact with a superb cross from the right, when a sound connection could well have brought him a goal.Disappointment! But at the end of Stoke's second half purple patch, prompted by Fuller's unselfish pass, he shot confidently into the net from the edge of the box for Stoke's third goal. Joy!His enjoyment was evident to everyone at the ground. A very happy man indeed. Certainly his team mates were thrilled for him-their reaction making it clear that they recognise what he brings to the team.

Liam Lawrence looks to be another very shrewd acquisition.He provided the pass for Ricardo Fuller's opening goal, then went on to get the second goal himself following a Lee Hendrie corner. His first goal for Stoke capped another all action game, covering - as the cliche would have it - every blade of grass at the Brit.

Cardiff are a good side...they were simply swept aside by Stoke on the night. At the moment it is a real pleasure to be a Stoke fan....long may it continue!!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Tight Result - Stoke City Beat The Baggies 1-0

This result continues Stoke's excellent run of form, a hard fought, but deserved win, courtesy of Higginbottom's penalty late in the first half after Darel Russell had been upended.

Stoke were just the better of two very good and wellmatched teams in the first half. In the second half honours equal, except for the last 15 minutes or so, when West Bromwich exerted more pressure, but could not break through for the equalising goal.

Stoke could improve on 6th place in the league if they can deliver in tomorrow's difficult home fixture against Cardiff City.On current form you would not bet against Stoke.As things stand this fixture would be Andy Griffin's last match for us on loan from Portsmouth.On the plus side Ricardo Fuller has served his 3 match ban and should be available for the match.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

It Feels Really Good.......Enjoy It !!

What a difference a few weeks makes! Most of the negativity seems to have evaporated, hopefully not just for the time being.

Its great to hear people not only agreeing with one another but also getting excited as a matchday approaches. The Radio Stoke phone-ins are a pleasure to listen to again...at one point I felt like not bothering to listen at all.

The Oatcake messageboard is a real treat again.....brilliant, special humour ( which is what I have always associated with the board !!) from lots of posters....people getting behind the team rather than having a pop at each other.

Add to all that the manager goes out and lands another potentially excellent short term signing in Patrick Berger from Villa. So much to talk about at the pub before the match ....

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Stoke City :Onward & Upward

There is a general feeling that Saturday's match against West Bromwich Albion is finely balanced : Stoke are enjoying an excellent run, and West Brom are also looking good under new manager Tony Mowbray, beating Burnley 3-0 last week.

They have a more than useful squad. Jason Koumas , central to their success, has indicated that he will be staying at the club come January.They have recognised Premiership strikers in Diomansy Kamara (leading goalscorer on 8 this season), Kevin Phillips, and Nathan Ellington.

But then Stoke have some decent players too, are now a very difficult team to beat, especially so with the home fans behind them. Crucially it looks as though Lee Hendrie will still be with us.It has often been the case in the past that a good following shows up for a prime fixture only to leave the Britannia after the match feeling a touch despondent after a disappointing result.

Wisely Tony Pulis has chosen to damp down the level of expectation - as early as last Saturday after the Hull match saying that the Stoke fans needed to be patient.....and ,further,earlier this week, that the upcoming games against the Baggies and then Cardiff would give a clearer picture of where the team is actually at.He clearly feels it is not yet the finished article.

Slightly nervous, but with guarded optimism too, is how I am approaching this game. Stoke can win it......I sincerely hope they do!!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Lee Hendrie....and Martin O'Neill re Return To Aston Villa

One or two pointers in these news items as to how things might stand between them.....with Lee,in effect, saying he might have to rethink his future at Villa come the January transfer window....Martin,it would seem, not going to be bounced into bringing him back into the young and successful current Villa team.

Where does this leave Stoke?They may yet get Lee for another month, but come January,as of this moment, his thoughts are clearly to be elsewhere in the Premiership if he is not in the Villa team.

Link 1: Hendrie waits for Villa decision
Link 2:Hendrie seeks return to top

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Hull City 0 Stoke City 2 - Just Outside The Playoff Places !!

A really sound result for Stoke.....three victories on the bounce, two of them away, and three clean sheets! Darel Russell continues in goal scoring touch adding to his all round improvement. All very positive as the club climbs to 7th place in the Championship, with a healthy balance on goal difference too.

Most pleasing was that Sam Bangoura played a part in Russell's goal. Manager Pulis has kept him on the bench for a long time,quite deliberately - and rightly- to be sure, making the point firmly that the club is bigger than the player, however much he may have cost in transfer fees.Playing on the club's terms rather than his own, if Bangoura really has got the message, then he could well find that there will be more opportunities to make a serious contribution to the cause.

Winger Liam Lawrence to Stoke City from Sunderland

"Sunderland winger Liam Lawrence has joined Championship rivals Stoke City on loan until January.

The 24-year-old Irishman is then expected to make a permanent switch to the Britannia Stadium.

The £175,000 signing from Mansfield in June 2004 was part of the team which won the Championship title in his first season at the Stadium of Light.

He scored only three goals during their short stay in the Premiership and has made 13 appearances this season."

Courtesy : BBC Sport News

Not much time wasted replacing Luke Chadwick.......and if this( LINK) is anything to go by things are beginning to look very interesting indeed.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Danny Mills

Mills, ex- England full back on loan from Manchester City, who has contributed to Hull City's recent improvement, will not be in the Tigers team tomorrow against Stoke.He has returned to Manchester City having suffered a stress fracture of the shin.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Hull City Approaching Saturday's Stoke City Fixture With Confidence

Hull, like Stoke, did not get their season off to the best of starts, but just recently things have improved, the Tigers 2-0 win against Wolves last Saturday being a particularly notable result, lifting them as it did out of the bottom three in the division. With both teams on the up potentially this makes for a cracking match on Saturday.

Link:Hull City Manager, Phil Parkinson, on his team's better form in recent weeks.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Chadwick Update......

Luke Chadwick's loan move to Norwich - to become permanent in January for a fee of £220,000- is reported on in full in this evening's 'Evening Sentinel'..... move based on personal rather than footballing reasons.

Link: Evening Sentinel

Chadwick Out To Norwich....! Hendrie Back To Villa?

Following Stoke's decent win at Crystal Palace on Saturday, and rising in the Coca Cola Championship to within 2 points of the playoff positions, it was something of a surprise to find that Luke Chadwick has gone out on loan to Norwich. Chadwick has had some much better games recently for the club and there could be no doubting his commitment and effort ( was it one or two man of the match performances?) but it would seem that his future may lie elsewhere for whatever reason.

Not quite so surprising is the increasing drumbeat that Lee Hendrie will be recalled by Aston Villa.....certainly they have a mounting injury list and a relatively small squad for a Premiership team. It would be a great loss to Stoke.Once again he made the difference on Saturday,playing the astute pass which created the opportunity for Darel Russell's match winning goal.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Third Time Lucky? Stoke City to win at Crystal Palace

This could be a good time to visit Palace.They have not won at home since September.Cautionary words from manager Tony Pulis though, when he pointed out that people thought that it was a good time to be going to both Southampton and Leicester, and that Stoke didn't win either game. This is the one though......

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Fuller Suspension

Stoke forward Ricardo Fuller has been suspended for 3 games starting with the match against Crystal Palace on Saturday. The club decided not to appeal . Fuller was sent off for allegedly elbowing a Coventry player on Monday night.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Whose Pies At The Brit ??

Change of caterers at The Britannia Stadium, back to Lindley...seem to remember pies often having disappointing levels of filling. Hopefully the firm could be persuaded to continue with Wright's excellent pie products. Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Stoke Master Sky Blues In The Fog : Stoke City 1 Coventry City 0

A funny game this one, with a few turns and twists to it. We were lucky to see as much as we did given the swirling fog that descended on the Britannia Stadium as soon as the match kicked off.

There can be little doubt that the right side emerged with a victory close though the score was. Coventry made it much more difficult for Stoke than Norwich had been able to do in The Potters previous home game .Many of the players had difficulty keeping their feet particularly ,it seemed, at critical moments when they were about to shoot, make a pass, or go past an opponent in open play.

Stoke’s build up play was not as fluent and fluid as it had been against Norwich, but nevertheless their forwards, Ricardo Fuller in particular, had plenty of chances to give Stoke an emphatic winning scoreline, but the chances were spurned. The deciding goal when it did come, just shy of 60minutes, was a spectacular long range effort from on-loan full back Andy Griffin which sped straight and true to the top right corner of the net. Marshall, Coventry’s goalkeeper had no chance of keeping it out. ( Griff Goal)

The goal celebrations were hardly finished when, three minutes later, we were treated to the sight of our leading scorer Fuller being sent off for appearing to elbow Doyle. There is a suggestion that Doyle had hold of Fuller’s shirt and that the forward was merely shaking himself free. Certainly, as in other games recently, throughout there was a certain amount of frustration from players who felt they were being illegally and unfairly held back or impeded as they tried to play, often with justification.

Through the final phase of the game, played with 10 men, Stoke covered well and with real determination, and succeeded in keeping Coventry out. For the most part Stoke were on the back foot, but even so substitute Pericard was put clear on one occasion. He had the chance to make the game safe but was unable to beat the Coventry goalkeeper. An added time equaliser by McKenzie was correctly ruled offside by the assistant referee. To be honest, as a fan, the last few minutes did not feel half as stressful, as the final period against Sunderland a few weeks earlier.

As a result of this win Stoke rise to 14th in the CCC league table, on 21 points

( Photos courtesy of Sky Sports)

Monday, November 06, 2006

Temptation Is....

Day at work!
Stoke Season ticket holder!
Stoke v Cov on Sky!
30 mile drive, plus traffic to get to The Britannia!
Falling temperatures!

= a real temptation to stay at home and watch the match on the box.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Carl Dickinson at the Seaside

Dickinson, on loan at Blackpool from Stoke seems to be making a real contribution to maintaining the club’s unbeaten league run, which now extends to nine games, including yesterday’s 1-1 draw with Northampton.

Retro it maybe, but a look at the report in ‘The Blackpool Gazette’ on his debut match for them , a 2-1 away win at Crewe is good for a smile or two at least : as a sample….

Following 10 man Blackpool’s 90th minute winner at Gresty Road…..

“The mass hysteria had barely subsided when referee Carl Boyeson blew for full-time and then it started all over again, led by on-loan Stoke full-back Carl Dickinson. He marched to the fans and shook his fists in the air in slightly hysterical fashion.
If someone did that in the street it would result in other members of the public crossing the road and avoiding eye contact, while surreptitiously making mental notes in case required for a future edition of Crimewatch. But on a football field after a 2-1 win in your first start for your new club, it's acceptable – and Dickinson deserved it after coming through the toughest of baptisms.
Signed just 48 hours before, the 19-year-old recovered from a slightly shaky start to enjoy a fine game and he, along with the outstanding defensive trio of Barker, Evatt and Michael Jackson, did as much as any Pool player to secure the points.”

As a piece of amusing journalism the rest of the report is worth a look.

Link: Blackpool Gazette

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Hereford Loanee :John Eustace

John Eustace - in what will probably be a make or break season for him at Stoke - has so far made 3 starts for ‘The Bulls’ during his month’s loan to Hereford. Some real encouragement for his future at Stoke beyond his one year contract extension: not only has he been making his mark on games but also, touch wood, he seems to be lasting the full 90 minutes.

In his opening match a 1-1 draw against Darlington he was prominent in the reportage:

“At the heart of the late action was midfielder John Eustace who made a good impression on his debut after arriving on a month's loan from Stoke City.

The 26-year-old opened up the Quakers' defence with a perfectly-placed free-kick to allow Mkandawire to head home on 70 minutes.....

Then an inch-perfect pass set Stuart Fleetwood racing through on goal, only for the striker, who is now without a goal in two months, to fire narrowly wide of an upright....

Undeterred, Eustace produced another superb pass within a minute to put Andy Williams in the clear. But, with goalkeeper Sam Russell racing off his line, the young striker snatched at his chance and allowed the Quakers keeper to block the ball to safety....

It had been Eustace who set up Williams with a chance to give Hereford the boost of a welcome early goal when he set last season's top-scorer away with another perceptive pass on eight minutes.Williams raced 50 yards but then thrashed his shot across goal and wide with colleagues probably better placed in the centre.......

Eustace himself had a shot blocked shortly afterwards but it was Darlington who went on to have the better of the first period, although their goal, when it arrived had an element of fortune about it.” ( Richard Prime, Hereford Times)

He also played the full 90 minutes in the 3-1 away victory against MK Dons last Saturday, and Tuesday night’s home win 1-0 against Accrington.........Fingers crossed.

PS Family connection, his grandfather Ken Eustace, a goalkeeper, only played once for Hereford in the 1949-50 season….a 5-0 defeat by Barry Town!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Disappointment At Leicester

Expectation was high, following Saturday's excellent result, that Stoke would take 3 points from their visit to Leicester. But you can't take anything for granted!

Listening to Radio Stoke's commentary there did not seem to be much problem for Stoke, taking the lead through yet another splendid goal from birthday boy Fuller. Unfortunately the added time equaliser for the home team seemed to lift them, sufficiently for them to emerge as 2 - 1 winners at the end of the game. Stoke had chances, at least to equalise, with Fuller hitting the woodwork on one occasion.

Manager Tony Pulis' disappointment was tangible in his post match interview with Radio Stoke commentator, Nigel Johnson.

Link: Pulis Interview