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)