A season record 1900 partying fans followed The Potters to Bloomfield Road, a complete sell out of the away ticket allocation.
Stoke fell behind in the 13th minute to a great strike from the edge of the box, Flynn’s goal being the first time this season that the home side had scored earlier than the 30th minute in any game.
Blackpool found the physically bigger Stoke team difficult to cope with, Fuller’s pace particularly troubling the slow Blackpool defence. Fuller missed several chances, then broke his barren goalscoring spell, equalising in the 37th minute. A Lawrence free kick from the right cleared the keeper and found him unmarked to left of goal.He brought the ball under control well, and hammered it into the net off the top right angle of bar and post. Completely on top at this stage Stoke went ahead on 41 minutes when a Lawrence corner was met by the incoming Cort (furthest right in pic),the big defender heading his 3rd goal since joining The Potters on loan from Crystal Palace. Throughout the half Stoke’s lively counter-attacking exposed the ponderous Blackpool back four. Stoke went in with a well deserved half time lead.
Immediately after the restart Fuller turned several defenders inside out as he cut in toward the home goal. About to shoot he was knocked to the ground but no penalty followed. Play was end to end as the home team committed players forward, with Stoke playing a much more open game than usual. Blackpool looked dangerous moving forward on occasions, with the tricky Hoolahan making a real impression.
Just as a livelier Blackpool seemed to be coming back into the game, Fuller was put through on goal by a Lawrence flick on, outpaced the defenders, and netted his 8th goal of the season to the keeper's right. On 75 minutes Morrell missed from 7 yards out during a period of home pressure, as the ball was coming back onto the Stoke defence a little too often for comfort, as they sat back on their lead.
On 88 minutes a home corner was poorly defended , and with the visitors asleep, Barker placed his free header into the Stoke net to make it 2-3, and set up a difficult last few minutes. Stoke were hanging on at the end, but scraped through to bag the three points , lifting themselves into 4th place in the table in the process.
Increasingly Liam Lawrence is emerging as a vital cog in the Stoke attacking machine,having a direct hand in all three goals.Certainly all his recent performances mark him out as another seriously effective bargain buy at £500,000.
It is reported that Fuller had a chat with the manager during the week...a most constructive one if yesterday's individual performance is anything to go by!
Bring on The Baggies next Saturday…1st against 4th at The Brit….hopefully a pre- Christmas Cracker!!