A New Year's Day crowd of 15788 saw Stoke share the points with a very determined Hull team. Both sides had chances to snatch a win in the closing minutes but to be honest the draw was a fair result.Stoke were without Ricardo Fuller - attending a close family funeral in Jamaica - and it showed.
Jon Parkin playing against his old club was unable to make any impression,apart from one close range effort which looked all the way a goal until the visiting keeper got down to pull off a brilliant stop.His replacement Pericard had a few minutes at the end of the game but as you would expect looked well off the pace,so that the two late chances which saw him in on the Hull goal were not converted.
Mama Sidibe,goal-less but seriously active for most of the season so far,seemed somewhat distracted throughout.It was suggested after the match that his mind might have been on the African Nations Cup which starts shortly.My money would be on the fact that his style of play demands a lot physically and that playing three tough games in a short space of time there had not been enough time for recovery.
Stoke's 33rd minute goal came coutesy of a Cort header from Delap's long throw in from the right.Hull equalised on 61 minutes with Folan heading in Windass'left wing cross at the far post.Just before halftime a tremendous Liam Lawrence shot - destined for the top right corner of the net - was clawed away right handed by keeper Myhill at full stretch.
Seriously disappointing was the reaction of an element of the home crowd ....first Sidibe's substitution was greeted with ironic cheers,then at the end of the match,again, the team's efforts were rewarded with quite audible boos from some.Where they are coming from it really is difficult to imagine, but perhaps I'm missing something or maybe its now become a minority cultural thing, best ignored by the players and the rest of us!
Where does all this - and the completed holiday programme - leave us? Very handily placed after yesterday's results still in fourth spot in the table, 4 points off the top.That can't be bad...can it? Go...arrn Stoke!