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)