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.