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.