2016 - 2017

2016 - 2017

Saturday, December 29, 2007

8 Matches Without Defeat.....and Counting! Plymouth 2 Stoke City FC 2

Stoke had the chances to win this match and claim all three points but in the end it was not to be. Cresswell put the Potters ahead in the 8th minute.On 32 minutes Fuller rounded the home keeper but unfortunately struck his shot against the post.

Plymouth never looked likely until they picked up a rather fortuitous penalty three minutes from the break.Shawcross slid in to tackle last season Stoke loanee Martin.The ball struck his hand....a yellow card and a penalty!Keeper Russell Hoult,in for Simonsen,saved the spot kick from Ebanks-Blake,butas the ball rebounded out he could do nothing about the follow up.Immediately Stoke could and should have restored their lead, responding with Sidibe contriving to head wide of an open goal when it was more difficult not to score.

As at Barnsley on Boxing Day, the home side came more into the game in the second half.Against the run of play though Shawcross headed Stoke into the lead in the 57th minute,his 7th goal of the season.Ten minutes later Plymouth were back on terms when Timar scored after Hoult - there's a suggestion that he was impeded - failed to cut out a cross ball.

Hoult was sent off for fouling as he challenged for an up and over ball.The ten men successfully held out for 15 minutes or so.One point definitely better than none,and although Stoke drop to fourth place they are still only one win off the second automatic promotion place.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Wow !!....Hat-Tricks Coming Along Like London Buses! Who's Next?


Honours even at Oakwell,as last year, but this well earned point moves Stoke up into 3rd spot in the table,three points off the top.

Stoke were awarded the last of the games three penalties in the 98th minute.Ice cool Liam Lawrence converted to equalise,adding to his first half penalty and second half goal from a well worked free kick routine,to notch a well deserved hat-trick.

A creditable result and full testimony to the team's never say die approach to games.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Another Huge Dollop Of Common Sense From The Oatcake Fanzine Editorial Team....A Must Read For All Stokies!!

(With kind permission of The Oatcake,Stoke City Fanzine.)

Martin Smith and Dave Frith are to be congratulated on their fine well balanced editorial piece in Saturday's West Brom edition.It was a real pleasure to read,and will have appeal for ALL Stokies.

Saturday's atmosphere and vocal support were tremendous.....sensible men, and I believe we're listening to them!!!

(If the print below seems a bit small...it is! Click on the image below....a LARGER version should open in a new window.)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Reggae Boy Ricardo Fuller Stuffs Baggies For Christmas


Ricardo Fuller Hat-trick Hero...Man of The Match...the sponsors had no option!

Fourth placed Stoke outplayed leaders WBA-no bad side in most people's estimation - at The Britannia Stadium this afternoon.They managed another brilliant team performance,with striker Ricardo Fuller topping it off with a splendid hat-trick of goals.

The first half was virtually all Stoke with front runners Sidibe and Fuller creating havoc amongst the visiting defence.Crucially Fuller bagged his first goal after only 5 minutes through on the keeper from a Sidibe flick to put the visitors on the back foot.Stoke could have gone even further ahead as the half progressed,but on 38minutes Fuller netted again,lurking at the edge of the 6 yard box to left of goal the ball reached him from Lawrence's right side free kick and he drove it unerringly across the goalkeeper and into the righthand corner of the net.

WBA, encouraged by their 2500 away following,and two attacking substitutions -Kevin Phillips and the giant Ishmael Miller ( on loan from Manchester City),were much more in evidence in the second half bringing more pressure to bear on the Stoke goal where,apart from one slip up Simonsen was in fine form.

A little against the run of play in the 66th minute, Ricardo Fuller was set free on the left.He faced a defender,whom he first turned inside out,then accelerated past into the penalty area, before shooting -it seemed through the legs of another defender - across the diving keeper and into the right corner of the net.A goal of the highest skill and quality,which,had it been a Premiership match, would have had the TV pundits purring for weeks.

West Brom's goal on 72 minutes was nodded in from close range by Bednar. After a defensive header out by Stoke was lobbed back into the goalmouth,Bednar was first to the ball as Simonsen changed his mind about coming out to claim.
Stoke's win,their seventh consecutive match undefeated,leaves them still in 4th place in the table,but now only 1 point off the automatic promotion places,or if you are really ambitious three points from the top!

Don't often have the opportunity to say something constructve about the referee,but today Mr Halsey put in a sensible, intelligent, unfussy performance......it was more than mildly amusing when Russell Hoult dived on top of him as he was doing his pre-match warmup exercises lying on the grass in front of The Boothen... the measure of the man was in the good humoured exchanges that followed between them!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Oatcake Link

Not sure what's happening with this link at the moment.Rivals changed the format a few weeks back...at that time the match reports were out of date and the replacement for the previous message board was painfully slow, if it worked at all.

Recently the whole thing has 'defaulted' to the Premiership.

It may well be that the link address to the Rivals site needs changing.I will wait a little longer to see what happens,then make adjustments if they are needed after Christmas.

Things Continuing To Shape Up Nicely At Stoke City FC

To add to last week's good news that Salif Diao is back with the club,this week Ricardo Fuller's vote of confidence extending his contract by 2 years to 2011,and - I feel every bit as important to achieving our short term goal of reaching the Premiership - Ryan Shawcross remains with us until the end of the season.

All serious statements of ambitious intent by the club...and still the prospect of additional new faces to help sustain a promotion push.

Good times again for all Stoke supporters!!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Now You See Them...Now You Don't.

In recent years Santa has always brought me Stoke's annual calendar.For sure it will now be in the club's shops..sensibly, so as to be there ready for the start of the New Year.Every year there is an inescapable inevitability....

I haven't seen a copy yet but half the fun on Christmas day is first to see which of the 'pin up' players featured is still with the club,and then second to see which one's are still with us by the end of the January transfer window.The 2007 Calendar was hit particularly hard.
Doobs left us on 31st January...so its a long time before he pops up as the December pic.

But (a significantly slimmer)Pottermus saves the day....the December page has been offered to a good friend,a life long Reading fan.He has decided views on whether or not their £800,000 signing of MD represented value for money.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Stokie Xmas Cheer!!….Blackpool 2 Stoke City FC 3

A season record 1900 partying fans followed The Potters to Bloomfield Road, a complete sell out of the away ticket allocation.

Stoke fell behind in the 13th minute to a great strike from the edge of the box, Flynn’s goal being the first time this season that the home side had scored earlier than the 30th minute in any game.

Blackpool found the physically bigger Stoke team difficult to cope with, Fuller’s pace particularly troubling the slow Blackpool defence. Fuller missed several chances, then broke his barren goalscoring spell, equalising in the 37th minute. A Lawrence free kick from the right cleared the keeper and found him unmarked to left of goal.He brought the ball under control well, and hammered it into the net off the top right angle of bar and post. Completely on top at this stage Stoke went ahead on 41 minutes when a Lawrence corner was met by the incoming Cort (furthest right in pic),the big defender heading his 3rd goal since joining The Potters on loan from Crystal Palace. Throughout the half Stoke’s lively counter-attacking exposed the ponderous Blackpool back four. Stoke went in with a well deserved half time lead.

Immediately after the restart Fuller turned several defenders inside out as he cut in toward the home goal. About to shoot he was knocked to the ground but no penalty followed. Play was end to end as the home team committed players forward, with Stoke playing a much more open game than usual. Blackpool looked dangerous moving forward on occasions, with the tricky Hoolahan making a real impression.

Just as a livelier Blackpool seemed to be coming back into the game, Fuller was put through on goal by a Lawrence flick on, outpaced the defenders, and netted his 8th goal of the season to the keeper's right. On 75 minutes Morrell missed from 7 yards out during a period of home pressure, as the ball was coming back onto the Stoke defence a little too often for comfort, as they sat back on their lead.

On 88 minutes a home corner was poorly defended , and with the visitors asleep, Barker placed his free header into the Stoke net to make it 2-3, and set up a difficult last few minutes. Stoke were hanging on at the end, but scraped through to bag the three points , lifting themselves into 4th place in the table in the process.

Increasingly Liam Lawrence is emerging as a vital cog in the Stoke attacking machine,having a direct hand in all three goals.Certainly all his recent performances mark him out as another seriously effective bargain buy at £500,000.

It is reported that Fuller had a chat with the manager during the week...a most constructive one if yesterday's individual performance is anything to go by!

Bring on The Baggies next Saturday…1st against 4th at The Brit….hopefully a pre- Christmas Cracker!!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Stalemate At The Brit...Stoke CityFC 0 Watford 0

A draw was a fair result between two evenly matched physically strong sides.Both had chances to win during the course of the game.Marlon King missed for the visitors,putting the ball narrowly wide of the post on two occasions.

For Stoke the best chances fell to Ricardo Fuller at either end the second half.He was unlucky with both,or put another way the keeper Lee was lucky with both.The first opportunity on 53 minutes was made by Sidibe when he forced his way past a defender to right of goal and cut the ball back from the byline to Fuller in the centre of the penalty area.He applied a firm side foot to the ball as it reached him,but the goal bound shot luckily -for Watford- hit the keepers legs as he dived right,and rebounded clear.Lee really did not know much about that save!

The second,a minute from the end of the match came from a ball over the top,which put Fuller one on one with the keeper as he outpaced Demerit to the ballFuller did everything right, attempting to place the ball to the keepers left as he came out.Again Lee managed to get something on the ball - leg again I think - and the ball went clear.
On another day Fuller would have scored with both.Throughout the game he looked sharp and different class.One memorable mazey dribble in the first half took him past three defenders (who on their showing throughout the match were no mugs) in the visitors penalty area,and his intelligent cut back was wasted, crossing the goalmouth with no other Stoke player remotely close to what would have been a simple tap into an empty net.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Tales Of The Unexpected?....Sheffield Utd 0 Stoke City FC 3

Stoke blazed to a three goal lead within the first 20minutes at Bramall Lane. Cresswell got the opener on 2minutes tapping in Liam Lawrence’s cross from the right side from close range. Beattie put through his own net on 6 minutes from 12 yards out, and on 19minutes following another telling Cort header, this time onto Lawrence’s free kick from the right, the ball found its way to Shawcross whose shot from the left side of the 6 yard box made its way into the home net. The Blades fans were left stunned, stoney- faced, and silent. The remainder of the half was played out uneventfully. Stoke had had four chances and scored from three of them…not a bad ratio at all. Sheffield left the pitch at half time to a chorus of boos from their fans.

Sheffield had a great deal of the play throughout the second half without being able to penetrate the strong Stoke defence, in which Cort and Shawcross were prominent, repelling all that was thrown at them. The ironic cheers from the home fans said it all as Sheffield forced Simonsen into his first serious save on 92 minutes, their first direct shot on goal in the whole match.

Three points take Stoke up into 5th place, and following WBA’s home defeat to Coventry, just 2 points off the automatic promotion places!! We have a hard working TEAM….DOING US PROUD…long may it continue.

TV Stars!! We Certainly Hope So.

Not only is Stoke City's top of the table clash with leaders Watford being televised this coming Sunday on Sky,but also the BBC are to screen their match with Everton in the FA Cup at 6pm on Sunday January 6th 2008.
Things are really looking up.

Wouldn't it be nice if sometime during the rest of the season a few of our AWAY matches were covered too.But perhaps at this time that might seem just a little ungrateful!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

A Big North Eastern Fish To Fry: Stoke City FC v Newcastle United FA Cup 3rd Round

FA Cup third round draw

Matches to be played on the weekend of January 5-6.

Preston v Scunthorpe
Port Vale or Chasetown v Cardiff
Colchester v Peterborough
Bolton v Sheffield United
Blackburn v Coventry
Brighton v Mansfield
Northampton or Walsall v Millwall
Charlton v West Brom
Watford v Crystal Palace
Luton or Nottingham Forest v Liverpool
Plymouth v Hull
Aston Villa v Manchester United
Tranmere v Hereford
Tottenham v Reading
Burnley v Arsenal
Bristol City v Middlesbrough
Fulham v Bristol Rovers
Huddersfield v Birmingham
Horsham or Swansea v Havant & W
Sunderland v Wigan
Oxford or Southend v Dagenham & Red
Everton v Oldham
Derby v Sheffield Wednesday
Southampton v Leicester
West Ham v Manchester City
Ipswich v Portsmouth
Wolves v Cambridge
Barnsley v Blackpool
Chelsea v QPR
Stoke v Newcastle
Swindon v Burton Albion or Barnet
Norwich v Bury

Saturday, December 01, 2007

More Carpet Football Than Hoofball !! Stoke City FC 2 Norwich City 1

Stoke could easily have won this game by a five or six goal margin.Norwich had one clear chance from which they scored in the first half,one in the second which was pushed away, otherwise the Stoke keeper was untroubled.

Norwich took the lead in the 4th minute when a clever Dublin flick on found Huckerby coming in from the left,and one on one with the Stoke keeper he made no mistake.
Stoke had a series of chances to equalise.The biggest threat was posed by Liam Lawrence, who had the beating of the opposing fullback.On three occasions he got behind his man,but each of his cutbacks failed to find a Stoke player in the right follow up position to profit.

INEXPLICABLY a number in the crowd booed THEIR OWN STOKE TEAM off at half time.One has to wonder what they actually want.Stoke played plenty of good attractive football,showed excellent approach play with the ball being interpassed on the GROUND, and total commitment
The only thing that Stoke's performance lacked in that half was goals,which with the ball running more kindly for them they would have scored.A downward header by Mama Sidibe sticks in the mind,being parried away brilliantly by the keeper when it looked odds on a goal.Norwich had clearly done their homework with two and sometimes three players snuffing out the Fuller threat.What is happening though is that other players are finding a little more freedom as a result with Lawrence,in particular benefitting.

Stoke were back on terms minutes into the second half when Lawrence crossed from the left and Cort placed a powerful header into the Norwich net.Thereafter it was virtually all Stoke.Bags of chances were made but not converted.Leon Cort could quite easily have had a hat trick of headers to add to the one he had already scored.Cresswell missed with the goal at his mercy.Fuller was denied when his powerful cross shot was parried away by the keeper at full stretch.Stoke penalty claims were turned down by the referee.Such was Tony Pulis'annoyance that he had something pointed to say.Whatever he said was relayed to the referee and our Manager was promptly dispatched to the stand.

The winning goal, when it did come, was scored from close in by Cresswell (again a headed assist by Cort - off Lawrence's left side corner - creating the chance) two minutes from time,and was received rapturously by the home crowd which was just shy of the 20,000 the club had expected,as it reduced admission prices for the day.

Great result....just outside the playoff places...can't be that bad...can it?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Back To Home Winning Ways! Stoke City FC 3 Queens Park Rangers 1

Stoke played brilliantly in the first half giving improving QPR little opportunity to make their mark on the game.They took the lead in the fourth minute when Delap's low trajectory long throw in from the right,cleared the six yard box,was pursued by Fuller,who skilfully clipped the ball back into the danger area for Cresswell to head home.

Stoke's second goal on 19 minutes came from well worked free kick on the edge of the QPR box.Eustace pushed the ball sideways,Pugh dummied and Lawrence lashed the ball into the top right corner of the net.

The quality of the football for the remainder of the half was probably the best that we have seen all season.

The second half was rather an anticlimax from a Stoke point of view.QPR had Blackstock sent off for a nasty looking foul on Shawcross. They promptly came back strongly, controlling affairs with a midfield of three against two.They looked dangerous and it was no surprise when Vine pulled a goal back for them on 63 minutes with a sweetly hit curling shot that gave goalkeeper Simonsen absolutely no chance

As Stoke looked increasingly nervous the visitors went after an equaliser.Fortunately it was Stoke who got the next goal.On 77 minutes a Lawrence short corner from the left was returned to him as he made his way toward the visitors penalty area.He crossed the ball to Cort on the right who headed back across goal and into the net.His first goal for Stoke and hopefully many more to come!At 3-1 QPR did not pose as much of a threat as they had earlier,just the odd attacking moment to cause nervous home fans to attack their fingernails!!

Referee Uriah Rennie had a really good game....our friend from a few weeks back, Mr. Marriner, would do well to watch and learn!!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Firing Blanks ...Burnley 0 Stoke City 0

The match can be summed up quickly....forgettable!!Two sides playing equally poorly...very few moments of excitement for the fans....very few shots either on or off target.Taking a positive Stoke managed a return to basics, recording a clean sheet.

Stoke are now in 10th place on 24 points and surprisingly still only 3 points off the play off positions (or if you like 7 points off automatic promotion!)despite a continuation of a disappointing run of results.

They were once again facing a team who were playing in front of their new manager for the first time,although this does not appear to have immediately given them any sort of lift!

One or two strange selections and positional shifts in the Stoke team..in Fuller's absence through suspension Pericard in, with Parkin as sub,although the latter did come on relatively early in the 51st minute.

Two home games to come now....QPR on Tuesday night...with Norwich (you might have known it...they recorded their first win under new manager Glen Roeder yesterday after playing like lemons for most of the season so far!!)to follow on Saturday.You never know...two wins and we could be up amongst the action...God forbid, two more home defeats and we might begin to look down the table rather than up.

My money is on 6 points for Stoke by Saturday night....but then who was it that felt England would win 2-0 on Wednesday?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Pulis In For England Job!!??

Following this morning's inevitable sacking of Coach Steve McClaren, as England failed to qualify for the Euro Championships, should Stoke Manager Tony Pulis throw his hat in the ring to be his successor?

(Ex?)Goalkeeper's Revenge!!!!England Blow It! England 2 Croatia 3

So we don't make it to the Euro Championships afterall, despite Israel and Andorra's mighty efforts on our behalf against Russia.

To me it is a mystery why Steve McClaren decided to include a rookie keeper in a match of this importance.
We know Robinson had made his share of mistakes....but...!Carson in only his second game for his country was not favoured by the weather and underfoot conditions.With the Wembley pitch muddy and showing water in places,the rain tippling down, you somehow knew that Croatia would shoot on sight to test the new keeper out.Sure enough their first shot on target produced the visitors first goal.Fair enough a firm shot,bouncing awkwardly just in front the keeper...not ideal!ButCarson was poorly positioned certainly not square on to the ball,which duly struck his arm and carried on up into the net.

It would be wrong to blame him for the other two goals.Croatia turned our defence inside out for their second goal,and the third was a fine shot from ouside the box across the keeper for the winner, after England had managed to get back into the match at 2-2.Indeed at 1 - 2 Carson made a brilliant reflex save from close in.

Each time the TV cameras found Robinson his face gave nothing away.....but you had to wonder what he might have been thinking...!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

England To Win Tonight?

Steve McClaren is emphatic that England will go for a win at Wembley tonight to ensure qualification for the Euro Championships next summer.

His team selection with Crouch as loan striker might cause us to think that obtaining the essential draw is uppermost in his thoughts.

How about England to win 2 - 0?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Ryan Shawcross Is English !!

Ryan Shawcross ,on loan from Manchester United,has made a major contribution to Stoke's early successes this season.His form has attracted attention such that he could well be moving into consideration for a place in the England U 21 set up....not bad for a lad who previously played for Wales schoolboys !!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Another Wobble At Fortress Stoke........ Stoke City FC 0 Sheffield United 1

So Stoke go into the international break having lost at home for the third time in a row. Not conceding as many goals as in the previous two games Stoke nevertheless allowed a very average Sheffield United team to escape from the Brit with all three points.

Stoke got off to a high tempo start and it was well over 30 minutes before Sheffield were able to venture into Stoke’s final third. Plenty of Stoke pressure yielded only one on goal strike.Plenty of forward momentum but not much in the way of serious threat.As is often the way Stoke were made to pay for their inability to turn pressure into goals.

Sheffield had their first shot on goal in the 39th minute. A minute or so later a great ball from the right by Webber bypassed the Stoke defenders finding Carney by the left hand post but he only managed a half hearted effort into the side netting.You had the feeling that something more was coming. Sure enough in the 43rd minute Sheffield took the lead. A corner from the right was played high into the Stoke goalmouth. Simonsen was nowhere as he tried to get a clearing touch onto the ball. Rolling out to Webber on the left the ball was drilled sharply back into the goal where Villa loanee Cahill’s strong downward header found the net despite Simonsen getting a hand to it.

From the beginning of the second half Sheffield seemed happy to sit back to protect their lead, playing mainly on the break. Beattie, generally well marshalled by Stoke, missed with an easy headed chance from close in,just before Parkin came on for Sidibe in the 66th minute. Parkin immediately played a beautifully weighted ball which put Fuller in on goal.As he was about to shoot defender Cahill managed to get a foot in to clear..Jamaican winger Demar Philips came on for his debut on 78 minutes.Action in the Sheffield goalmouth resembled the Alamo in added on time,but Stoke just could not find an equaliser.

Pugh is looking sharper with each game he plays. Philips looked promising in the few minutes he had on the pitch.Stoke drop to 9th place in the table.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Never Say Die Potters Get Late Winner!


Scunthorpe's Glandford Park is not an easy place to go to....Stoke did not have things all their own way in this match,and for a good part of the game were second best to the 'young' home team (average age 22 and getting better all the time according to Manager Adkins!)

Cresswell's opener for Stoke - a shot from the far right side of the penalty box in the 26th minute following a trademark surging run down the right wing, and cut back by Ricardo Fuller - was cancelled out by Hayes on 31 minutes.The second half was bossed by the home team but Stoke did not concede again until the 85th minute when Goodwin scored with a powerful unstopable shot into the roof of the net from some distance out.It looked like that was it,especially as both Fuller and Lawrence had failed with excellent chances to post a lead earlier in the half.

Far from lying down though, the spirited Potters came back strongly as we have come to expect.A Stoke freekick centrefield on the edge of the Scunthorpe penalty area was played right,Lawrence cut the ball in toward goal where an under pressure Hayes put into his own net (88).Scunthorpe heads dropped,and two minutes into added on time Liam Lawrence headed Danny Pugh's brilliant cross on the run from the left wing into the Scunthorpe net to seal the win.The three points take Stoke back up to 7th place in the league table.

After a quietish game on Saturday Danny Pugh was much more prominent in this match playing a part in both Cresswell and Lawrence's goals.The other newcomer Leon Cort also had a very strong game at the heart of the Stoke defence,with Manager Tony Pulis suggesting the player would have a headache after the number of clearing headers that he had put in during the match.Encouragingly Cresswell now has 3 goals in 3 matches...it is good to see that someone in the team might turn Ricardo Fuller's splendid approach work into goals on a more regular basis.

Great result from Stoke....next up Saturday's televised match at The Britannia Stadium against Sheffield United.Lively Liam Lawrence is unfortunately suspended for the match.Could a possible replacement be Jamaican Demar Philips who was once again on the bench last night? Hope so!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Premiership Referee? I Don't Think So Judged On Today's Display!


This match will be memorable for the dire display of yellow card happy referee A Marriner - apparently with Premiership pedigree -and his (fortunately) nameless useless linesman.Between them they saw to it that Stoke got nothing from this game.

The cagey first half was notable for missed chances from Fuller and Lawrence which on another day they would have scored from.Coventry did not have a shot on target in the first half.

With their first meaningful shot came a goal in the 58th minute, when Mifsud rifled the ball across Simonsen's dive into the far left corner of the net.Stoke responded immediately with Shawcross heading in a cross.His header which clearly crossed the line was clawed back from behind the line by keeper Konstantopoulos.Both referee and ineffectual linesmen judged...no goal.Coventry went further in front when Adebola had an aerial one on one with the Stoke keeper.No real contest as the tall striker headed into the open net to score his customary goal against the Potters.

Stoke responded in spirited fashion, their pressure resulting in a clear and obvious penalty when Fuller was felled in the area.Both officials bottled the decision and waved play on.Stoke were not to be denied.A few minutes later Lawrence was played into the area where he appeared to be upended by a defender (but by no means as obviously!!),a penalty was awarded,which Lawrence took himself,placing the ball expertly wide of the keeper into the bottom right corner of the net.

As Stoke chased the equaliser Coventry always looked likely to catch them on the break,which they duly did in the 79th minute when Mifsud got his second ,quite the best of the afternoon,when he volleyed powerfully into the roof of the Stoke net as he came in from the right.

Again Stoke's performance was such that they did not really deserve to lose.With just a little more luck at the right times they would certainly have drawn if not won this match.The Potters drop to 9th place in the league table,and it will be of some concern that in the last two home matches they have conceded 7 goals.

Coventry were robust throughout and shackled dangerman Fuller well, if quite often not legally!!Leon Cort had a steady game and Danny Pugh looks as though he needs a couple more games to get up to speed.

We've seen some pretty rank refereeing displays at Stoke in recent years but this is up there with the worst of them.Mind you remembering Rob Styles dismal performance at Stoke a few years back (didn't seem to affect his prospects) it would appear that Mr. Marriner's career progress is unlikely to be affected.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Leon Cort Signs!!

Leon Cort comes to Stoke initially for 2 months.The signing was completed in time for him to play tomorrow against Coventry City.

Danny Pugh Signs For Stoke City FC...But Cort Transfer Still Held Up!

A Stoke target for some time former Manchester United player Danny Pugh has joined City from Preston N E initially on loan with the deal to be finalised in January. He is likely to go into tomorrow's squad against Coventry.The 25 year old would play on the left side of midfield.

Leon Cort's transfer still seems to be held up so there must be more than a little doubt that he will be able to play for City tomorrow.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Cort Signing....Final Touches?

Crystal Palace central defender Leon Cort has trained with the Stoke players over the last two days even though he has not yet signed for the club.According to reports in The Sentinel the player is keen,so are the clubs,but details/size of the transfer fee (earlier rumoured to be around £1m) are having to be adjusted as it now seems that Stoke defender Clint Hill will not be moving in the opposite direction.

Link :The Sentinel

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Bristol City 1 Stoke City FC 0....No Real Threat!!

Stoke started this match at Ashton Gate with Vincent Perigard fresh from Strangeways up front partnering Ricardo Fuller, and with Manager Tony Pulis looking presumably for a really positive reaction from the player after his weeks of enforced inaction. They began confidently with an excellent chance falling to Ricardo Fuller.The latter part of the half,however, saw the home team increasing the pressure on the Stoke defence. Bristol took the lead through Marvin Elliot, his shot, from 30 yards out curling into the top lefthand corner of the net past Simonsen's despairing dive on 36 minutes.Ricardo Fuller teed up a chance for John Eustace 3 minutes later but he scuffed his shot.Bristol forced Stoke to defend deeper and deeper as the half concluded.On the balance of play the home team deserved their lead.

Bristol started the second half where they had left off in the first, pushing Stoke back into their own half. After 10 minutes Simonsen saved brilliantly from Trundle when he had a chance to wrap the game up.Pericard was subbed by Parkin in the 60th minute,after which Stoke began to move forward with more menace and purpose.Fuller created a couple of chances for his teamates, the second after sub Sweeney (on for Lawrence) won the ball,and played him through, but his cross was too high for Parkin,so the Potters were unable to save even a point against the lively home side.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Dare We Say It?...New Signings Imminent At Stoke City FC

According to The Sentinel

"Stoke City are hot on the trail of Coventry defender Elliott Ward – and could add Preston midfielder Danny Pugh to their line-up before Saturday’s trip to Bristol City."


"manager Tony Pulis remains determined to land an un-named Premiership midfielder " to strengthen his squad.

Stoke are now 6th in the table following Wolves win at Cardiff last night,but rightly people at the club are remaining tight lipped about developments on the player front.

Vincent Pericard has now been released from Strangeways and could well find himself in the squad for Saturday's trip to Bristol.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Great Away Win...Crystal Palace1 Stoke City 3

Stoke bounced back from Saturday's disappointingly below par result - spoiling Neil Warnock's first home game as Manager in the process - in seeing off a poor Palace team,and gaining three points which lifted them back into the top six.Stoke now lie 5th on 20 points equal to second placed West Bromwich Albion.

After a goaless first half Cresswell scored his first of the season on 49 minutes heading in a left wing cross from Matteo.He added another in the 59th minute rifling the ball into the net from the edge of the penalty box after a cross shot by Liam Lawrence from the right hit the post and rebounded out to him. Between Friedman equalised for Palace.

In the 74th minute Ryan Shawcross notched his fifth of the season to put Stoke into the comfort zone, heading in when a dipping Rory Delap volley from the edge of the penalty box came back off the Palace crossbar.

The interesting development in this match was that Cresswell started up front instead of on the wing and has immediately shown his goal scoring pedigree.Sadly he will not be available for the important top of the table clash at Bristol City on Saturday due to suspension.Ricardo Fuller went off injured( ankle injury and dead leg) but hopefully he will be fit for Saturday.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Oh Dear....Not A Good Day! Stoke City 2 Sheffield Wednesday 4

Stoke were not at their best in this game,plus Sheffield Wednesday did not look like a team near the bottom of the table.

The visitors were the livelier team from the start.Unlike the Colchester game where Stoke pressed hard and got a reward here they relied on Fuller's individual skill and strength to give them the lead on 12 minutes against the run of play.

Right winger Johnson gave full back Wilkinson a torrid time and it was no real surprise when he cut inside and and netted a powerful equaliser in the 16th minute.On 23 minutes The Owls went ahead.Another raid down the right,a cross shot which hit the Stoke's far post,returned by Francis Jeffers for Tudgay to head in.

Stoke were back on terms on 41 minutes when Ricardo Fuller showed great anticipation and determination to intercept as Sheffield defender headed weakly back to his keeper, the striker nodding the ball firmly into the net as the keeper came out.

Stoke looked the better side in the second half,and it seemed only a matter of time before they scored again.Excellent chances fell to Parkin,Eustace,and Cresswell but all were spurned.Nevertheless it was something of a surprise when the home team fell behind with 5 minutes to go.Simonsen failed to hold a cross from the left.The resulting Kavanagh corner was headed in by Tudgay.To add insult to injury substitute and ex Stokie Burton repeated last season's feat at The Brit scoring in the 87th minute with a strong shot which seemed to take at least two deflections on its way into the net.

Tuesday brings an away match at Crystal Palace.It will be ineresting to see what we can do against a Warnock inspired team.Stoke certainly miss Sidibe and it now looks as though we will be without his services for several weeks at least.With Fuller firing as he is at the minute we always have a chance in any game.Yesterday was the first time for a long while that Stoke's defence has looked less than secure,repeatedly being discomforted by Wednesday's highly mobile tricky forwards.

And to cap it all England lost the rugby match against South Africa!!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Tony Pulis to Norwich City ??

According to today's Daily Mail Stoke Manager Tony Pulis is a target for Norwich City,being lined up as a replacement to succeed Peter Grant, who left the club last week.
Time will tell!!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Potters On The Up!! Stoke City FC 2 Colchester United 1

Stoke won a good footballing encounter to propel themselves to 5th place in the Coca Cola Championship with a goal in each half from respectively Ryan Shawcross and Liam Lawrence.

Following his excellent performance at WBA in the week,John Eustace was a welcome sight in the Stoke midfield.He looked really strong and confident especially during the first half,linking the play shooting on sight,and it has to be said the team played some seriously good penetrating football with the ball often on the ground and played to feet.

Ryan Shawcross's opener in the 8th minute was a powerful far post header from a Liam Lawrence corner which gave the visiting keeper no chance.Stoke had enough unconverted chances in the first half to put the match beyond Colchester's reach.

Colchester contributed fully to an entertaining game with the towering Platt scoring from a splendid Granville left wing cross as the visitors had more of an influence on the game in the early part of the second half.

Stoke substituted Parkin for Sidibe and he had a hand in Stoke's winner,nodding a long ball clearance to Fuller who cleverly played Lawrence in from the right,the winger netting with a powerful shot.

Potter On The UP!! Stoke City FC 2 Colchester United 1n

Stoke won a good footballing encounter to propel themselves to 4th place in the Coca Cola Championship with a goal in each half from respectively Ryan Shawcross and Liam Lawrence.

The visitors contributed fully to an entertaining game.n

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

West Bromwich Albion 1 Stoke City FC 1

Baggies supporters who had conceded victory to their number 1 bogey team before this match began will no doubt be feeling mighty relieved. Baggies supporters who perhaps saw Sunday's 5 - 1 thrashing of QPR as a precursor to finally seeing off The Mighty Potters will no doubt be disappointed.The Potters team showed only one change from Saturday with Eustace replacing the injured Rory Delap,plus Vincent Pericard rejoining the bench after his enforced stay at Her Majesty's pleasure.

Stoke took the lead in this evening's clash with another headed goal from Ryan Shawcross in the 27th minute.Again Liam Lawrence provided the cross.They held the lead until the 73rd minute when failure to clear a free kick allowed Leon Barnett to put the home side back on terms.

As with Saturday's match at Leicester Stoke had 4 players booked,and lost Zakuani to injury.In their 9 matches so far Stoke have accumulated 19 bookings.By way of contrast WBA so far have only had 5 players booked.

Having dropped back to 10th position in the league overnight Stoke climb back to 7th spot.Former Stoke favourite Carl Hoefkens was replaced on 67 minutes,one of two substitutions made by Tony Mowbray to try and alter the course of the game.

This was billed by the Stoke Manager Tony Pulis as one of our most difficult matches of the season.A creditable draw then for a most resilient team that gives everything to the cause.To put the whole thing into context these were the first home points The Baggies have dropped this season,and only the second goal they have conceded at home.Well done Stoke !!!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Leicester City1 Stoke City FC 1

Stoke earned another away point today at the Walker Stadium.They bossed the first half and took a deserved lead through a tremendous shot from Ricardo Fuller on 15 minutes,his 4th goal of the season.

Leicester caught The Potters cold at the beginning of the second half when substitute Fryatt equalised in the 47th minute.The goal provided the home side with encouragement and they took the upper hand for the remainder of the game....whether Stoke were forced back or deliberately dropped deep is a moot point!

Stoke had chances here and there to come away with the 3 points,the best of which which was denied them by the referee in the closing minutes when Lawrence was impeded in the penalty area but no penalty was forthcoming.

Nevertheless on a day when the Championship results were awash with draws this result leaves Stoke in 5th place in the table,still just 2 points off second spot and 4 points off the top!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

"Pulis,Pulis...What's The Score?" Stoke City 3 Plymouth Argyle 2 !

....was the chant from some in the 12,533 crowd at The Britannia Stadium as the Potter's went 2-1 down to the industrious visitors from Devon.

Whether those fans intention was to lift the team is difficult to gauge,but whatever it has to be said the home players responded extremely well to the challenge that faced them.

Ricardo Fuller as ever was central to Stoke's goal threat.Just has he did last season he continues to manufacture chances for others to squander -so often open goals if someone was either sharp enough or following up to score them.Today his hustle, bustle,and trickery produced some measure of chaos in the Plymouth goal mouth.He diverted Matteo's ball into the Plymouth penalty area for Lawrence to cross,causing Seip to head into his own net for the first Stoke goal.In the second half from a Sidibe head on from Delap's long throw in he deflected the ball to incoming Liam Lawrence who hit the ball into the net from six yards for Stoke's equaliser on 66 minutes.Fuller capped off a very positive personal performance lobbing Wright's lofted pass over the Plymouth keeper, as he came out, to score the winner in the 73rd minute.

As he did in the Barnsley game for the last 20 minutes or so,Sidibe proved to be a thorn in the side for the visitors.To the already happy knack of winning the ball,and unsettling defenders,he has added an evident ability to beat a player with quick tight turns and rapid acceleration away,most times retaining the ball.

As has been the case recently there has been much heated argument about Stoke's performance and whether the team is good enough.Today they were a goal up on 9 minutes,Stoke pressure resulting in Seip putting into his own net.Despite their busy play Plymouth did not really look like scoring.

They did ,however,start the second half brightly pushing Stoke back.It was no surprise when their equaliser came in the 52nd minute with Seip heading in at the far post from an inswinging corner.Plymouth's second goal on 59 minutes resulted from a mix up between central defender Zakuani and goalkeeper Simmonsen with the loose ball being put into the net by Fallon.

This win lifts Stoke deservedly into 5th place in the Championship,on 12 points,after 7 games.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Jody Craddock Returns To Wolverhampton Wanderers

Loanee Craddock has been recalled by Wolves....you could say no real surprise there!Craddock had a very sound game for Stoke against Barnsley on Tuesday night,whilst Wolves were losing by a single goal at home to Jay Jay Okotcha inspired Hull City.They obviously need him!

Where this leaves Stoke will be interesting,as will the management's response.In his post match interview the other night Tony Pulis seemed to imply that he expected no new incoming loan players before Saturday's match against Plymouth.Maybe things will now change,although time is very short.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Stoke City 0 Barnsley 0

Both teams had plenty of chances to win this game,but that neither did was down entirely to desperately poor finishing.

Barnsley largely bossed the first half, through virtually complete control of the midfield,and the promptings of tricky winger Campbell-Ryce.Stoke's defence was fully extended on numerous occasions.Chances created were wasted by some wild finishing with the ball's direction, trajectory and height,as one fan commented,having more in common with rugby union than soccer!

In the second half Stoke looked rather more positive,especially so once Sidibe replaced Parkin for the last 20minutes or so,The Potters began to exert more pressure on the visitors.There were numerous exciting melees in the visitors penalty area,but despite the opportunities no one was able to put the ball in the net.Once or twice the scenes were like something from the Alamo,Stoke shots being deflected away from goal by diving Barnsley players,determined to get some part of their bodies in the way.

Two clearcut Stoke shots on goal from Matteo and Wright brought fine full length saves from Barnsley keeper Muller.Fuller,who once again ploughed a lone furrow throughout the match,hit the top of the visitor's bar with one shot.Cresswell struck an inviting chance over the bar.

Starting the evening there was much talk of a win taking Stoke into the top six.In the event they now lie in 10th spot.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Hull City 1 Stoke City 1

A good hard earned away point which moved The Potters up to 7th in the league table.Rory Delap provided a goal just before halftime,following up when Fuller had a shot saved by the Hull keeper.

Hull salvaged a point when Livermore headed in a ball from Folan,three minutes from the end of the match

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Reggaeboy Phillips First Outing For Stoke City FC

Demar Phillips took the field yesterday in a reserve fixture against Bradford,a 1-0 win,with the goal coming at the death from a Lewis Buxton header.

Have a look at the Sentinel report which gives the Jamaican star several positive mentions.
Sentinel Link

Loan Signings At Stoke City?

Perhaps a little disappointingly not much has happened to date this week,apart from Jody Craddock's loan from Wolves being extended by 1 month, but with a 24 hour recall clause.

There is a piece in The Sentinel today which looks for all the world like Simmo trying to drum up trade!!
Sentinel Link

Friday, September 07, 2007

Loan Transfers Into Stoke City

There has been some criticism this week that Stoke have not finalised any loan deals.Apparently League rules stipulate that one week should elapse after the transfer deadline day before clubs can begin to make loan arrangements.Players such as Salif Diao who are free agents can sign at any time however.

Stoke have been linked with a 23 years old Sheffield Wednesday midfielder,and of course there is still Salif himself,who ,if he is bothered about playing at all,still seems to be waiting to see if any offer comes along which represents an improvement on the one that Stoke tabled (which his agent described as fair....as time has passed since that statement I have wondered exactly which definition of fair he might have had in mind!)

Next week there will almost certainly be some activity,with more hopefully in the weeks that follow!!!!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Demar Phillips....Reggaeboyz Website

Some favourable comments....reggaeboyz link and fleeting glimpses from Jamaica's match against Chile... Phillips is No.12

As we know Phillips came strongly recommended by fellow Jamaican international Fuller.
I love Pulis'comment on the official Stoke City FC website... "For Ricardo to give anyone an ounce of praise, they must have something about them."

Local Derby Ends All Square ...Stoke City 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0

The Stoke side had a decidedly makeshift look about it.At the start you would have taken a point,by the end it could well have been - and a little disappointing not to have been - three!

The back four were fairly solid.Zakuarni, as last season, looked steady.Dickinson similarly did not give a great deal away.The central pairing of Hill and Shawcross was impressive.Hill deserved his Man of the Match award from the sponsors.For his age Shawcross has to be one of the best loan signings.Not a lot got past him yesterday.

The midfield four put in a great deal of effort covering.Delap and Captain Matteo lack pace but worked really hard for the team..Cresswell and Lawrence did some good work outside them.

Upfront Ricardo Fuller looked threatening,but because of poor service,not on as many occasions as usual.

The key difference between our win against Charlton and this draw was the performance of Sidibe.The Stoke system depends on him winning aerial balls,and also sometimes carrying the ball forward.Against Charlton he was superb,largely because the opposition were unable or unwilling to take him on physically.

Last week at Southampton Sidibe took a battering from ex-Stokie Wayne Thomas.Yesterday Wolves centreback Darren Ward took him on and came out on top, thus largely snuffing out the link to Fuller.

Any chances to win the game? Stoke had the best ones.During the first half Shawcross played the ball back to Fuller on the edge of the Wolves box.After a few steps right (see top photo) he hit a stinging shot,which struck Wolves defender Breen,cleared the keeper,and unfortunately for Stoke,the bar too.Just before the halftime whistle Fuller got away from chasing defenders down the right,cut the ball across to Lawrence who struck the ball on target,but straight at goalkeeper Hennessey.

He was to do this again with a chance in the second half.Right at the death Delap broke through into the Wolves penalty area,partially evaded the goalkeeper,but fell over in an attempt to clip the ball toward an empty net.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Stoke Sign Jamaican International Midfielder Demar Phillips

Late news today that the 23 year old player Demar Phillips was signed on a 3 year contract.One out of the hat from the Stoke City management team,with one would imagine a fair bit of input from Ricardo Fuller.

He has 27 caps for his country and plays left midfield.

Gallagher Chooses Preston North End

Not much to be said on this....couldn't be much closer to his home in Blackburn!

James O'Connor To Return?

There are suggestions that midfielder James O' Connor could move back to Stoke from Burnley.He originally left Stoke in a move to West Bromwich Albion.

Transfer Deadline Day At Stoke City FC

Gabriel Zakuani,the Fulham defender,who was on loan at Stoke City last year,has rejoined The Potters,this time on a season long loan.

Forward Adam Rooney has been loaned out to Chesterfield.

Still no news at this stage on Paul Gallagher or Salif Diao.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Club Confirm Interest In Paul Gallagher Loan

Stoke City have officially confirmed that talks have been going on with the Blackburn player,with a view to another loan period in the Potteries.

Similarly there is active communication with Salif Diao...but no further developments yet.

Radio Stoke have carried an interview with Danny Higginbottom,in which,amongst other things, he made it clear that he had enjoyed his time at the club,but that he had been presented with an opportunity which he felt bound to take with Sunderland.He encouraged fans to stay behind the manager,hoping that last season's success would be repeated.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Stoke City's Higginbottom Is Gone....But Who Is Coming In?

I have little doubt that frantic efforts are being made to bring new players into the club,and that some names old and new to the club will be announced in the next two days.Salif Diao remains a favourite to return.Less likely maybe,but also rumoured is the return of Paul Gallagher.

Clive Clarke Ex Stoke City Captain Recovering

Whatever people may have felt about one time Stoke Captain and fullback it is good to hear that he is improving in hospital after collapsing at Nottingham last night.To be sure most thinking people will wish him a speedy and full recovery.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Higginbottom Transfer Saga Concluded? Stoke City Captain To Leave For Sunderland AFC

Danny Higginbottom and Stoke City are about to part company in a straight cash deal which could eventually be worth £3million to the club.£2.5million would be paid cash upfront.Stoke seem to have gone to great lengths to keep the player.

Chairman Peter Coates has repeated that should the deal go through the cash raised would be available to the manager.


Monday, August 27, 2007

Southampton 3 Stoke City 2

By all accounts Stoke were lucky to escape from St.Mary's with this scoreline.Keeper Simonsen made a number of splendid saves to keep the score respectable.

On the plus side the Stoke goals were once again scored by forwards,with both Fuller and Parkin again getting on the scoresheet.

Last Saturday Manager Tony Pulis cautioned that his team was nothing like the finished article and that fans should not get too carried away just because the opening 2 league games had resulted in victories.The Southampton match confirmed that there is much work still to be done.

Stoke remain in 4th place in the league table,just behind next Saturday's opponents Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Friday, August 24, 2007

We Are Going To Have To Wait Longer For Vincent Pericard's First Goal This Season

...the striker has been gaoled for 4 months for lying about a speeding offence.This happened when he was still with Plymouth on loan.With remission he should score his first goal around November ...2008 if he's still with us.His salary at Stoke,was revealed in court as £190,000pa.

Salif Diao

Salif has received a fair offer from Stoke City,according to his agent.He has still to put pen to paper however.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Salif Diao To Sign For Stoke City FC.....Guarded Optimism!

The transfer window approaches, Salif has still not signed for anyone else,and his agent feels that agreement on a deal is close.Fingers crossed...he would be a great acquisition.

Surely no link here with Tony Scholes holidaying!?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Update :Stoke City Reject Second Sunderland Offer For Captain Danny Higginbottom

Casts some light on issues raised in previous post below!

Link "Sentinel"

Danny Higginbottom........Tug O' War Inside The Club?

Very quiet on all fronts....ominous or encouraging omen?

Stoke City manager Tony Pulis did not seem as happy as we might have expected in his post match interviews having inspired his team to an excellent win against everyone's promotion certainties Charlton Athletic.We've seen him in that sort of mood before when something was bugging him.Last time it was the Icelandic owners.

For Stoke to retain the services of Danny Higginbottom - splendid in all respects on and off the pitch last season - would be symbolic as well as beneficial to the club's prospects this season.It's pretty certain that is how Pulis sees it too.

Who's been conducting the negotiations with Higginbottom with a view to an improvement to his existing contract?Apparently Tony Scoles,the club's Chief Executive, and he's presumably not only applying but bound by the agreed wage structure.Since Higginbottom has turned down an improved offer (there may have been more than one for all we know) and we have heard no more there is a likelihood that he is looking for wages well in excess of those envisaged in the wage structure.

It would be no surprise if TP's long face was a reflection of tension between himself and Scholes,with the former wishing to pay what it takes to retain a player who he sees as central to his team building plans and his ablity to attract other quality players to the Britannia Stadium,and the latter refusing on cost grounds.

Two weeks to the transfer window closing....and Scholes goes off (or is sent perhaps)on a 2 week holiday.Certainly he has to take his holidays sometime.....but just coincidence?Unlikely,especially when Chairman Peter Coates issues a statement that there are people perfectly well able to handle prospective deals in Scholes absence.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Deft Parkin Touch Turns Pies Into Points ...Stoke City 2 Charlton Athletic 1

Forward Jon Parkin answered his few remaining detractors amongst the Stoke support in the best possible way yesterday when he took an excellent through pass from Mama Sidibe,nonchalantly nutmegged Charlton defender McCarthy in the opposing penalty area, and cleverly curled the ball along the ground around goalkeeper Weaver into the net for the winning goal which gave a scratch Stoke City team a result they richly deserved.

Parkin's heavy build disguises a real deftness of touch around goal.Again he showed the abilities that we saw when he was on loan last season,not only to be in the right place at the right time,but also to finish cooly.He is a far far better player on this evidence than many doubters would have us believe.

Parkin's goal came in the 78th minute,adding to Fuller's beautifully taken 58th minute equaliser - a powerful right footed shot as he ran along the front edge of the penalty area, giving the diving Weaver absolutely no chance,entering the net just inside the post - after Charlton had taken the lead through a Fortune deflected free kick two minutes earlier.

Sidibe made a major contribution to the win.He ran two thirds the length of the pitch with the ball from his own half before putting the pass through for Parkin to score,and he caused sufficient chaos going for a flick on that a Charlton defender unintentionally nodded the ball into Fuller's path for his goal.

Defensively Shawcross and Dickinson gave a good account of themselves,the former getting a broken nose for his trouble.Special mention to stop gap loan signing Jody Craddock who had an outstanding game at the centre of defence,especially as he met his teammates for the first time in the dressing room before the match!!

A great result and top of the table after 2 games!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Will He Go...Or Will He Stay?....The Danny Higginbottom Saga

Stoke have signed Richie de Laet an 18 year old defender from Royal Antwerp.Also another defender Jody Craddock - 32 and experienced at Championship level - has been taken on 1 month loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers,with the possibility that the loan period will be extended to January.

It is possible to read a great deal into these signings especially with regard to Craddock.Certainly there could be a link to the ongoing contract renegotiations over improved terms between Stoke captain Danny Higginbottom and the club.Having rejected a new offer to stay with The Potters he could well be on his way to Sunderland,whose £2million bid for the player Stoke turned down a few weeks ago.

Time will tell....as indeed the starting line up for today's SKY televised match against Charlton will.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Cardiff City 0 Stoke City 1

Who is Ryan Shawcross? Well he scored and we won.Magnifique

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Some Weekend Away!!

Can you believe it? You go away for just two days and things change round so quickly....

Carl Hoefkens now going to WBA as Stoke City have accepted their offer...ONLY personal terms to be sorted out.

But I applied that very phrase to the Fortune signing which looked cut and dried on Friday...today comes the - albeit unofficial - news that the Charlton player isn't coming to Stoke afterall because personal terms have not been sorted out to his liking.

And where's Salif Diao?

Friday, August 03, 2007

Magic Player Roundabout (2)

Round and round it goes...today Stoke City signed full back Stephen Wright from Sunderland on a 5 month loan....Hoefkens is still with us....Fortune about to join us,fee agreed between the clubs,with just personal terms to be sorted out.....still no sign of Salif Diao though.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Magic (Player) Roundabout

Still no news on Salif Diao.

Carl Hoefkens according to the Daily Mail could be on the verge of joining West Bromwich Albion for close on a £1 million.Jonathan Fortune according to the Times could be coming in for £400,000,although he would prefer an extended loan initially,presumably to preserve is current wage status for as long as possible

Things are warming up... excellent stage management,perhaps,by the club.

Richard Cresswell Signs For Stoke City

Well there's one we never expected.Hull City withdrew from their prospective deal for the Leeds player,initially -it was indicated -on medical grounds,but now less specific unresolved issues.He breezes through Stoke's medical,and signs up....assuming he stays injury free the club now have plenty of competition up front.

Cresswell,of course,joins up once again with Ricardo Fuller,with whom he enjoyed a very profitable partnership at Preston a few seasons back,when - if my memory serves me well - they reached the playoff finals.

Salif Diao next? Fingers crossed.

Stoke City 0 Aston Villa 2

Stoke went down to their second successive pre-season defeat against Aston Villa at the Britannia Stadium in front of just over 7,000 fans.Czech midfielder Patrik Berger,loaned to Stoke last season, netted in the 17th minute,with substitute Agbonlahor completing the scoring on 77 minutes,for a Villa side that was more or less in command throughout the game.

Fuller was Stoke's liveliest performer up front,and The Potters had a number of chances variously hit or headed over the bar or wide of the posts by Parkin,Lawrence,and Pericard.The latter again spurned two gilt edged chances.

Stoke: Simonsen, Wilkinson, Hill, Higginbotham, Dickinson, Lawrence, Matteo, Delap, Sweeney, Pericard, Fuller. Subs: Pulis (Matteo 73), Eustace (Sweeney 57), Parkin (Fuller 73), Sidibe (Pericard 53), Buxton (Dickinson 67)

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

And Another One Bites The Dust

Andy Griffin has moved from Portsmouth to Premiership newcomers Derby County,not to Stoke City,as we were hoping.

With family considerations in mind a further 3 years on Premiership pay would have made the choice an easy one, whatever emotional attachment he may have felt towards Stoke City.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Stoke City FC Manager Tony Pulis' Magical Pre-season Mystery Tour Continues

We have had an inkling for a couple of months that something was afoot with regard to Stoke midfielder Darel Russell,talk of buying property elsewhere and so forth.The online edition of The Times newspaper last night went with rumours that Darel was rejoining Norwich City at a fee of £600,000.

Sure enough today Darel left Stoke for his original club,although there seems to be no definitive statement on the transfer fee involved to date.

An entirely personal view is that this represents good business for 'The Potters'.Darel has served the club well for the last four years, but his limitations were often apparent.Through non-stop effort and his all action approach he often got himself into very promising positions without actually being able to capitalise on them.Midfield creativity to date has not been his strong point.

This week looks likely to see further players coming and going as Tony's 'Magic Roundabout' (dare I say) spins!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Real Madrid 2 Stoke City 0...

Stoke's fourth pre-season game was against illustrious current Spanish League Champions Real Madrid at Irdning in Austria.Real Madrid TV covered the match with commentary in English.In what was Real Madrid's opening pre-season game their team (with a fair sprinkling of first teamers from last season) proved too good for an industrious Stoke City team.

Led by their determined captain Higginbottom,Stoke were clearly up for the game and gave a good account of themselves.They went down to a splendidly taken goal from close in by Raul, and a rather dubious penalty in the second half by Soldado.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Patience Is A Virtue....

Stoke City FC fans wait patiently for developments on the transfer front.The last day or so has seen one year renewals to midfielder John Eustace and back up goalkeeper Russell Hoult's contracts.

Trevor Sinclair,in talks with the club in recent days, will not be coming having decided instead to join Cardiff City.At 34 he may indeed have 12 months left in him.We shall see....from afar.

A worry on the horizon for the club is that in May Liam Lawrence was bailed by police in the North East regarding an alleged offence said to involve an 18 year old girl.

All seems to have gone quiet for the moment on the Hendrie and Diao fronts.No definitive news on Griffin either.Weekly wage levels beyond those (sensibly)affordable by the club could prove to be the stumbling block here.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Waiting For Transfer News Stoke City FC Fans.......

.....put their time and talent to good use... huggy995 brings us a bit of fun.(To play click on the bottom left corner.)After the clip plays you can scroll along the bottom edge of the window to see other clips, many from last season.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tony Pulis Back In Town

The Stoke City manager has returned to his desk after a 3 week holiday.He talks to Graham McGarry of Radio Stoke Sport about the forthcoming season :

Pulis Interview

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Stoke City FC 2006 - 2007...Season in Pictures!!

Great work by blurbus...well worth 4 minutes of anyone's time....and the choice of music....

Friday, June 22, 2007

Jon Parkin Signs 3 Year Deal At Stoke City

Good news is the return of last season loanee Jon Parkin.This time the move is permanent with Hull receiving an initial £275,000 payment.Parkin made a favourable impression at the club toward the end of the last campaign,and was recalled by Hull just as he was showing good form and goal scoring touch for the Potters.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Stoke City Fixtures For 2007 - 2008...Out Today

Stoke's season kicks off in Wales with a visit to Cardiff City on August 11th.Charlton are the first visitors to the Britannia Stadium on August 18th.

The early fixtures not only present some interesting challenges but should also provide some real measure of the team's potential for the season as a whole.

Link:Full Stoke City Fixture List

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Contract Offers On The Table At Stoke City?Or More A Statement Of Intent?

Stoke are seeking to retain Salif Diao,Lee Hendrie,Dominic Matteo, and Russell Hoult for next season.Kevin Harper and goalkeeper Rob Duggan have been released

Monday, May 07, 2007

Well That's It For Another Season....But It Wasn't Bad Was It?

Stoke could only manage a draw 1 - 1 at QPR yesterday,Sidibe getting a late equaliser, after The Potters fell behind early to Rowland's goal in the 6th minute.As it turned out none of the teams also chasing a playoff spot did Stoke any favours.

On balance finishing in 8th position is no disgrace.Interestingly the majority of fans just can't wait for next season to begin....something of a contrast to last year.

Get some of that El Kenno sunshine on the Costa Del Sol first though !

Monday, April 30, 2007

That Penalty !! Oh Dear Mr Salisbury.

From the Sentinel Stand it looked like a perfectly good clean well timed tackle by Salif Diao against Colchester on Saturday.Indeed it was. Not only did Salif make contact with the ball,but also with it well on its way, the Colchester forward was still upright!! Ref Graham Salisbury was considerably closer than we were....do refs sometimes see what they want to see, rather than what actually happens?

Well...Better Late Than Never !!

Dooh!! Get thinking about all those intricate permutations of results which could see Stoke in the playoffs after Sunday's games,and you miss the obvious. I missed the obvious and suggested that the outcome was not entirely in Stoke's hands.

But it is!! Beat QPR by more clear goals than Southampton beat Southend and its job done!! Simple really...and better late than never.Can we do it? Of course we can!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Down To The (Seriously Thin) Wire ! Stoke City 3 Colchester Utd 1

It couldn’t get much closer. With one game to play Stoke and Southampton are 7th and 6th respectively, both with a game to play next Sunday, both on 72 points, both with a +21 goal difference, the Saints taking the last playoff position thanks to scoring more goals.

In this game Stoke were well below par in a nervy first half. A lively Colchester team, aided by a dodgy referee, went into halftime one goal up. Colchester had one or two good chances but failed to convert. Hendrie missed in front of goal for Stoke. Iwelumo – who got a deserved friendly response from the home fans all afternoon- took and scored Colchester’s penalty expertly, driving the ball low into the right corner of Simonsen’s net, the goalie, despite diving the right way, well beaten.

Should it have been a penalty? No! Should Stoke have had a penalty when Darel Russell was chopped down at the other end of the pitch? Emphatically yes!! Mysteriously the ref awarded the free kick to Colchester.

Stoke were unrecognisable in the second half. It must have been some team talk by the manager at half time because they came out and simply overpowered Colchester. The visitors were hit by the now familiar 3 goal blitz, scorers in a very short space of time being Russell - with a downward header after Sidibe headed back from a Lawrence cross - ( pictured below), Sidibe, and Higginbottom.
Sidibe’s strike (below right) from outside the box was the best of the bunch. Played through by Lawrence he cut in powerfully from the left and shot across the goalkeeper into the right corner of the net. He’s done this twice now in recent weeks….now he’s got the idea and the confidence to carry it out maybe he will more regularly add goals to his otherwise excellent all round game.

Having achieved a 2 goal cushion with captain Higginbottom's headed goal (left) Stoke did not really push forward for additional goals in the latter part of the game, even against a Colchester side reduced to 10 men by the sending off of Barker, who had been involved in a series of skirmishes with Hendrie.

Stoke were comfortable at the end. So were the fans, but fingernails could take a serious bashing next weekend ! Whether we like it or not making the playoffs next week is not entirely in our own hands, but there are so many fine permutations that could see us make it. Ideally we need to win at QPR and see what others around us do. There are even possible scenarios where a draw would be enough! Cross everything!!!

Stoke Goals:
Russell 53 Sidibe 57 Higginbotham 62

StokeTeam: Simonsen,Hoefkens,Fortune ,Higginbotham ,Griffin ,Lawrence (Eustace ,84 ) ,Russell ,Diao (Martin ,89 ) ,Hendrie ,Fuller (Pericard ,88 ) ,Sidibe
Subs not used: Hoult,Zakuani,

Monday, April 23, 2007

Even Tighter Near The Top !

West Bromwich lost their chance to go 4 points clear of Stoke when they were beaten 3-2 at Burnley, having been 2 goals up after just 8 minutes. Consolation for disconsolate Stokies....Burnley's winner came 3 minutes from the end.WBA played with only 10 men for the whole of the second half.

Getting more interesting by the day!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Very Tight Near The Top !

A quick glance at the Coca Cola Championship table reveals that,mathematically,one of the 3 promotion places could go to teams currently down to 10th place.

The two automatic places are shuffling between Birmingham,Sunderland ,and Derby County and at least two of the three will go up without needing a playoff win.All have 2 games to play.

Following Wolves unlucky defeat today at home to Birmingham City,4th place.( Preston) to 10th (Sheffield Wednesday...coming up very fast on the rails!)is covered by 3 points with two games to play for everyone except West Bromwich who have a game in hand,tomorrow night's fixture away to much improved Burnley.

There is a great deal riding on the remaining two regular fixtures.

Stoke could yet prosper if they can keep their nerve and crucially bag the goal chances that come their way!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Lightening Strikes Stoke Again : Stoke City 1 Hull City 1

Sunderland equalised in the last minute! Cardiff equalised in the last minute! Today Stoke were leading 1-0 through Liam Lawrence's first half goal,when with minute of added on time to go,Barmby popped up to equalise for the visitors!For this to happen at all is distressing for fans whichever club they support.For it to happen on 2 consecutive Saturdays is mortifying.For Stokies today especially so. Forget the Cardiff result.Had Stoke won today the extra 2 points would have put them into 4th place.As it is they drop to 8th in the table.

It need not have been this way.Stoke took the lead on the stroke of half time.Liam Lawrence was put away down the right wing,cutting in toward goal.His shot was deflected by a Hull defender, ballooning up into the air and looping over the stranded keeper before dropping into the net.At the start of the second half three gilt edged chances were spurned.

First Sidibe, who had an excellent match,unsettled the Hull defence on the edge of their penalty area.Faced with a difficult dropping ball and an open goal Fuller managed only to hit the bar.
Second Fuller picked up the ball,made rapid progress down the right wing and played a lovely ball in,which left the advancing Lee Hendrie with an open goal.Rather than steadying himself,and controlling the ball,which he certainly has the skill to do, he opted to take it first time,succeeding only in screwing his shot outside the lefthand post.
Third Fuller again progressed down the right, cut into the penalty area,and instead of squaring the ball to 2 unmarked teammates for a tap in he elected to shoot....unsuccessfully.

Fuller had a good game and its easy to understand why he decided to shoot himself.In the last 2 months he has made countless chances in this way for other players to mess up the opportunities often from point blank range!!

Stoke's rearguard was strong throughout ( the only real cracks showing when Hull went route 1 for the last few minutes with Parkin on as a sub !), midfield was disappointing particularly with Eustace having an off day.The chances were there to win the game.We did not take them.No one to blame but ourselves.

Yet all is not yet lost! Preston managed to lose another game.Wolves and WBA could lose points in the next couple of days.Whatever others do Stoke must win their remaining 2 games if they are to stand any chance.

As chance would have it next week's visitors are Colchester,now equal on points with Stoke,and with identical aspirations.Promises to be a real crunch game.If today was anything to go by nerves and fingernails will suffer in equal measure!We can still do it but we are making things harder for ourselves.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Big Game For Stoke City FC Tomorrow !

Stoke versus Hull City tomorrow is an important game for both clubs.Hull are desperate to stay in the Championship,Stoke are equally keen to escape it in an upward direction.

Realistically Stoke need to win their last 3 games.That done it is fairly certain that some of the teams immediately above them will lose some points so that Stoke make the playoffs.Very much in Stoke's own hands then.A bigger gate than the season average is expected to be at the Britannia Stadium tomorrow.Will Stoke get the win they need in front of their expectant fans, or will they underperform as they have done so often in the recent past in front of a large home crowd? Hopefully not the latter!

How important will Jon Parkin be to the visitors? I sense that he will get a full game.Now that we've got him fitter and scoring again, and if he plays as well as he did for Stoke against Crystal Palace, then he will be a real handful for the home defence miserly though it may be!

It is to be hoped that Fortune gets through his fitness test and plays for Stoke.Together with Higginbottom he makes a central pairing well capable of shutting out any opposing attack at this level.

By this time tomorrow we will know if the dream continues...cross everything!!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Cardiff City 1 Stoke City 1 : Still Grounds For Optimism!!

Stoke were within a minute of taking all three points from this game,Chopra equalising Hoefkens first half goal in the 90th minute.Following West Bromwich's home defeat last night, victory at Cardiff would have taken Stoke into the playoff places.

The result very much mirrors what happened to the Potters at Sunderland,drawing a game they deserved to win. Unfortunate really, and Stoke now have two potentially difficult home games in succession against Hull City and Colchester United.Win both of those, however, and who knows!!

Today's team was another patch up,and added to that during the game Fortune came off with a groin strain,which could keep him out of the remaining matches.By all accounts stoke had one golden chance to kill Cardiff off prior to their equaliser,but substitute Paterson could not cash in.

Stoke are still in 7th place now on 68 points,but with all to play for! My gut feeling is that they must now win all 3 remaining matches,which on their day they are well capable of doing.

Stoke Goal : Hoefkens (30)

Stoke Team:
Simonsen ,Fortune(Griffin ,72 ) ,Higginbotham ,Zakuani ,Dickinson ,Hoefkens ,Eustace ,Matteo (Russell ,86 ) ,Lawrence ,Fuller ,Pericard (Paterson ,76)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Still On ? Definitely !! Stoke City 2 Crystal Palace 1

Stoke still have their playoff hopes very much in their own hands. Yesterday they raised their points tally to 67,moved to 7th place,and are now only 1 point behind Preston in 6th.Preston continue to lose matches, above them Wolves and WBA got back to winning ways.Stoke's excellent goals difference could well count at some stage.

In truth Stoke should have won by a clearer margin yesterday.Strikers Fuller and Parkin again provided the goals.Parkin curled a beautiful shot from outside the box around the diving Palace keeper and into the corner of the net.Three goals in three games.It may be my imagination but he always seems to be in the right place at the right time.Yesterday he led the line with considerable determination and aplomb.

Fuller's effort carried his trademark.A lovely ball from Dickinson played him to the byline to the left side to the Palace penalty area.Marked by two defenders Fuller accelerated, bustled between them into the area as he does so often and fired a fierce shot which ricocheted into the net.

Unfortuately for Stoke Palace got themselves back into the game a few minutes later.From a corner Cort's header was on its way into the net.Zakuani's desperate diving effort to stop it, failed with an own goal being the result.

Stoke playing some beautiful slick interpassing football,at times making a good Palace side look very ordinary,created plenty of chances to extend their lead.At the end of the first half Hendrie,who had an excellent game,had a 1 on 1 with the keeper saved.Towards the end of the second half with people inevitably biting their fingernails Lawrence missed a sitter from 1 yard (or less!).It was difficult to make sense of what he was trying to do with the cross shot cum centre.Was he trying to get out of the way or was he applying a finishing touch to a ball which seemed on its way into the net in any case? Not sure what to make of Manager Pulis'after match radio comment that "he(Lawrence) isn't the brightest shilling in your pocket".

A great team effort from Stoke in which they never sat back too deep.The goal threat was there all afternoon which is not something we could have said just over a month ago.There was even time at the end for Mr.Pericard to come on for a gentle stroll.

Stoke Goals:

Parkin (20)
Fuller (27)

Stoke Team: Simonsen ,Zakuani ,Fortune ,Higginbotham ,Dickinson ,Lawrence ,Eustace ,Hoefkens ,Hendrie (Martin ,81 ) ,Parkin ,Fuller (Pericard ,89)

Other Subs: Hoult,Wilkinson,Paterson,

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Wow! West Bromwich Albion 1 Stoke City 3

Oh how Stoke seem to enjoy playing against the Baggies!! Stoke were 3-0 up within 22 minutes. For the second match in succession Ricardo Fuller turned on the magic showing what a handful he can be,in a 3 minute spell scoring one goal and making the other 2 via a Greening own goal and Parkin (getting his second in 2 games).Parkin had just replaced the injured Sidibe,who needed 12 stitches in an injury to his leg.

Koumas got a late consolation goal for WBA.

With results going their way the Potters are now only 2 points off the playoff places. With one or two teams above them seemingly going off the boil it could now be very much in Stoke’s hands whether they qualify or not.
Once again Monday’s match against Crystal Palace assumes great importance. A win could see Stoke push into the top six.Currently they are 8th.

Stoke Goals:

Fuller (13)
Greening (og 20)
Parkin (21)

Stoke Team:

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Stoke City4 Leicester City 2

Leicester came to Stoke, to their credit, aiming to win the game,rather than putting 10 men behind the ball as others have done at the Britannia Stadium recently.

This made for an excellent game of football much enjoyed by the fans,Stoke eventually emerging worthy 4 - 2 winners.

The official man of the match was John Eustace who indeed played very well showing some of his old touch in the midfield,but for me the obvious selection was Ricardo Fuller,who made 3 goals for his colleagues,and scored one,a penalty,after he had been upended in the box.

Leicester opened the scoring with Kenton tapping in when Simonsen dropped the ball (little doubt for me that he was jostled as he tried to make the catch).Stoke soon equalised when Fuller played a delightful ball from the right into the path of Parkin who took the chance confidently.

10 minutes later Fuller was brought down in the box,took the penalty himself,sent the goalkeeper the wrong way and placed the ball in the net with ease.

On 58 minutes Leicester came back into the match when Hammond's shot was deflected past a helpless Simonsen in the Stoke goal.

Stoke responded by rolling up their sleeves and continuing to get stuck into Leicester.Their reward came when Fuller rolled the ball in from the left to Sidibe who was charging toward goal.The opportunity was identical to Parkin's earlier in the match.I must confess I fully expected the usual Sidibe outcome which we have seen many times this season ie the ball sails over the bar into the crowd or either side of the goal into the advertising boards.Sidibe had other ideas this time finishing every bit as confidently as Parkin had done earlier,placing the ball firmly into the net.

Stoke's final goal,the icing on the cake, came from Lawrence in added on time,from a Ricardo Fuller pass.

Stoke still remain 5 points from the playoffs, still in 9th place,and with 61 points

Stoke: Simonsen ,Hoefkens ,Zakuani ,Fortune ,Higginbotham ,Lawrence ,Eustace ,Russell (Dickinson ,46 ) ,Martin (Hendrie ,73 ) ,Parkin (Sidibe ,63 ) ,Fuller
Subs not used: Hoult,Vass,

Friday, March 30, 2007

Massive Game For Stoke

Stoke play Leicester tomorrow with Manager Tony Pulis looking for nothing less than a win from his team. He has clearly (publicly at least) not given up on Stoke reaching the playoffs, even though it might only be an outside chance.

Several players are struggling with injuries - in a couple of cases needing late fitness checks - and Andy Griffin is suspended.

Beckham & McClaren & Ferguson....&Stoke City FC

To his great credit David Beckham resisted any temptation to put the knife into England manager Steve McClaren.As he received a Sports Industry Award he had nothing to say about McClaren but praised the way in which the England team came through what in so many different ways was a difficult game against Andorra.

Alex Ferguson was critical of what he called the mocking culture which has taken root certainly in England.He has to be right that the treatment meeted out to the England manager and team from the earliest stages of the match on Wednesday night was seriously unhelpful if not potentially positively destructive.

Much is made of the fans right to demonstrate their feelings.All well and good after the match but as John Terry rightly remarked such behaviour isn't going to improve things, as players inevitably retreat into their shells in the face of it.

Which brings me round to Stoke.Could negativity from a small but vocal (at the matches and through the media) proportion of the fan base in some way have damaged Stoke's chances this season?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Strong Stoke Performance.....So Near....Sunderland 2 Stoke City 2

Stoke were within a minute of pulling off a splendid victory at Sunderland,the home side equalising in the dying moments.Strong Stoke were good value for their 2-1 lead with goals from Russell and Hoefkens (a cracking strike this one!)

Fuller came on in the second half and made one typically forceful run down the right then leaving Sunderland defenders in his wake as he made toward goal along the by line.His cut back was back heel flicked by Sidibe,who was very unlucky to see his excellent effort come back off the post.

A goal and it would have been game over.As it is Stoke remain 5 points off the playoffs,but again they can go forward with great confidence to the Norwich match.It's definitely not over yet!!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Crucial Win For Stoke...Stoke City 2 Southampton 1

Stoke got back to winning ways at home today,coming from behind to beat Southampton with goals from returnee Jonathan Fortune,and loanee Lee Martin.

Following a spate of home draws this win ensures Stoke do not fall any further behind the clubs in the playoff places,and sets them up well for their important away match at Sunderland on Tuesday night.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Could Well Be That's It For This Season...Plymouth 1 Stoke City 1

Stoke could only manage a draw with Plymouth today.Darel Russell scored in the second half to cancel out Plymouth's penalty opener just before halftime.

Surprisingly Stoke are still in 9th position,and although only 5 points off the playoff places, they have played more matches than a good few of the teams ahead of them.It does not look good just now,but you never know....as long as it is mathematically possible...... still 30 points to play for !!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Fortune Recalled By Charlton

Jonathan Fortune has been recalled as defensive cover by Charlton manager Alan Pardew.He has put in some impressive performances whilst at Stoke City.

Monday, February 26, 2007

"Barnsley Staying Up...Stoke Going Nowhere !" Stoke City 0 Barnsley 1.

These words from the BBC Midlands Radio reporter at the match say it all.Another dull and ultimately disappointing match at The Britannia Stadium.A fair estimate would be that Stoke had 80% of the possession,and spent a considerable proportion of the match in the visitors half.

Some idea of how they used it can be gained from the fact that the visiting keeper made his first save in the 70th minute.All that Stoke had to show by way of real goal threat was one Sidibe header cleared off the line.Barnsley defended stoutly and in depth.Once again Stoke could find no real answers to this and despite some tidy approach football, at times, they showed little real penetration.

By contrast Barnsley converted their one and only chance just before halftime.Their breakaway, after Stoke lost the ball in the visitors half,led to a quality goal skilfully taken by Hungarian international Ferenczy.

Despite much huff and puff from Stoke throughout the second half the result did not look in any real doubt.Currently they cannot field anyone capable of putting the ball into the net.

The visitors by contrast have the services of striker Ferenczy,who has played 5 times for them since signing at the very end of the January transfer window,and in the last 3 matches (including this one) has scored 4 goals.

Are there any positives? Fortune still looks to be a player worth pursuing for the future.Griffin and Higginbottom look what they are...a class apart from most of their teamates, the former winning man of the match once again.Simonsen only had to pick the ball out of the net.Hoefkens had a tidy game and showed real determination to make things happen for Stoke.Eustace is looking better each match,but needs to be looking to play the incisively forward more frequently.

Diao and Hendrie are not as influential as they were in their first coming.Lawrence is a major disappointment lately....increasingly it seems Roy Keane is a good judge of a player...to sell.

Stoke Team: Simonsen ,Hoefkens ,Fortune ,Higginbotham ,Griffin ,Russell (Rooney ,61 ) ,Diao ,Matteo (Eustace ,23 ) ,Lawrence (Martin ,83 ) ,Hendrie ,Sidibe
Subs not used: Hoult,Zakuani,

A Must Win Match For Stoke?

With the gap to the playoff places currently 6 points Stoke's televised game against Barnsley this evening is one that they must win.They can ill afford another stalemate draw at the Britannia Stadium.If the excellent result at Derby last week is anything to go by then I expect Stoke to go all out for the win that will keep them in the hunt !

Friday, February 23, 2007

John Ritchie (1941 - 2007) ...One Of Stoke City's 'Greats' Passes Away.

We were only talking at the last home match about what John Ritchie would have done with some of the chances that the Stoke team have been missing of late.

The agreed view was that with his goalscoring touch, particularly his heading ability,we would have bagged more goals and even more points.

Sad news indeed but it was a pleasure and a privilege to watch him play in the red and white stripes at the old Victoria Ground.Plenty of memories of really good times!

Link: The Sentinel

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Derby County 0 Stoke City 2 : Well Didn't You Just Know They Would !!

Stoke City went to Championship leaders Derby County last night on the back of some indifferent form which had seen them drop out of the playoff places.Some of the prophets of doom had been predicting not only mid-table mediocrity for the rest of the season,but also inevitable defeat in this difficult fixture.With a patched up team,due to injuries and suspension, Stoke faced a Derby outfit on which a great deal more has been spent in a bid to gain promotion to the Premiership.

Typical of Stoke the team rose to the challenge winning the game with a penalty from Higginbottom - returning to one of his former clubs - and a headed goal by Matteo from Hendrie's corner.Having secured this lead in the first half, Stoke defended stoutly, rode their luck a little in the second half,and emerged victorious.

A brilliant effort from the team,once again only 3 points form the playoffs,and now,no doubt, itching to get at Barnsley next Monday night,in the televised match at the Britannia Stadium. Can't wait !

Stoke Team: Simonsen ,Hoefkens ,Zakuani ,Higginbotham ,Griffin ,Lawrence ,Russell ,Matteo (Eustace ,63 ) ,Diao ,Hendrie (Dickinson ,85 ) ,Sidibe (Rooney ,89)