Weather conditions at The Britannia Stadium were not conducive to precision football.The wind was blustery,variable in direction,and unpredictable.The ball was played in the air quite a lot by both teams.Once it was actually up there,there was no certainty about where it would come down...sometimes carried forward,sometimes held up, falling short of where the players expected it to drop.
That said the teams managed to produce an entertaining,at times exciting,but always watchable game for the 15,882 fans,with the draw being a fair result.Both sides hit the woodwork in the first half,Stoke's Fuller hitting the post,Kightly the bar from distance for Wolves.
Both goals came from set pieces,which in itself was not surprising,with the swirling wind making defending more difficult and less predictable than it would normally be.Both were scored by defenders,Collins opening for Wolves from a corner,and Clint Hill equalising for Stoke in the 85th minute from a Liam Lawrence free kick.
Salif Diao had steady game in what will hopefully not be his last appearance for the Potters.Fuller looked really lively at times,but got a booking which will take him out of next week's match against former club Preston.
Sidibe got into quite a state in the first half clashing frequently with Breen,at one stage looking favourite for a sending off.The red mists had cleared in the second half and he remained a difficult handful for the Wolves defence.He will rue the missed chance in front of the Wolves goal,when, set up by Fuller,instead of blasting the ball into the net,he seemed - inexplicably - to attempt a (as it turned out.. scuffed) pass back to Fuller who was more heavily marked,and the ball was cleared.
Sweeney was brought on for Pericard 10 minutes into the second half,and made no noticeable difference in the 25 minutes that he was on.Subbed by Rooney, Sweeney - clearly in a huff - left the pitch direct for the dressing room,bypassing the manager.Disappointed he may have been,but there is no doubt that the introduction of Rooney made much more of an impact on the game.
Wilkinson made a confident contribution when he replaced the injured Hoefkens at right back.
During the match there were real doubts about the performance of Premiership referee,Peter Walton, but on reflection it would be fair to say that he handled the 'derby' niggle and potential flashpoints pretty well.
Given the other results yesterday,it is as you were,with Stoke remaining in 7th spot.They are definitely missing the creative contributions of the likes of Hendrie and Griffin,but we can only be patient as player situations are resolved higher up the food chain, hopefully to Stoke's benefit.