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?