2016 - 2017

2016 - 2017

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Not Stoke's Night! Preston NE 2 Stoke CityFC 0

Stoke-top of the table against third from bottom Preston- found themselves 2-0 down just after the half hour mark,Chaplow (22,31) getting both goals for the home side.Stoke had plenty of chances themselves but were unable to convert.Ryan Shawcross hit the post with one effort,and headed wide with another.Shortly before half time Ricardo Fuller was upended by Chilvers in the penalty area.The referee refused the penalty appeal from Stoke,and for good measure gave Fuller a talking to.Plenty of chances then but no finish from Stoke.

Just after the restart Delap should have scored,but squared the ball to Lawrence who also failed to cash in almost trying to walk the ball into the Preston net.Either player could have scored with a firm shot, and with just one man covering the goal line. On 53 minutes Lonergan saved well from Ricardo Fuller one on one.Three minutes from time he repeated the feat pushing Fuller's shot from 6 yards around the post and away to safety.

Throughout the match the Stoke defence was strangely out of sorts with Ryan Shawcross uncharacteristically shakey.Another worrying aspect of the game was that Leon Cort was injured,and taken off on a stretcher,with every indication that it might be a serious long term problem.Wilkinson,back from his recent hernia operation took his place at the centre of the defence.

Stoke racked up the bookings,Lawrence moving onto 9,Whelan 10,so increasingly the squad is threatened with decimation not only by injury but also by suspension.

Referee Oliver really did not seem to be up to speed throughout the game.Certainly he did Stoke no favours,maybe not a 'homer',but he offered Stoke little protection against a Preston side determined to take no prisoners.

Not Stoke's night then, with enough chances to have won the game.Hopefully they can get this game out of their system before they take on QPR away.The Potters bounced back from the Charlton disappointment...no reason why they should not bounce back from this evening of frustration.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Well Worth A Read !!

Tim Killeen's "Exciting Times".....great read about Stoke City FC......

"But for me, the most invigorating story in football at present is the rise of my beloved Stoke City to the summit of the Championship; who after years of suffering & degradation find themselves on the verge of top flight football once again. And I have never been more excited." .......

Take a look...its well worth it


Today's Papers!...(And Liam Lawrence)

Following on from ITV's Championship highlights yesterday,which carried an excellent item on Liam Lawrence (family man as well as footballer!)it didn't matter which paper you picked up today the reporting of Stoke's match was pretty much the same in its focus....Liam has been here before red and white striped shirts,good team,great team spirit, and he hopes the outcome will be the same....Stoke reaching the Premiership as Sunderland did 3 years ago!(So do we.)

The overall impression, certainly from the TV footage,was of a sensible young man with his feet very much on the ground,not getting carried away by any hype (now that the journo's have rediscovered Stoke)and a pretty good sense of humour ( was it Ronaldo he said he had to chase down the tunnel to get a shirt and autograph?).

He's clearly hoping that the new Republic of Ireland coach will notice his form.It was good of The Sun this morning to provide Trapetoni with a little map showing exactly where Stoke is....should be handy,but not just for him!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Still There! Stoke City FC 1 Ipswich Town 0

Stoke maintained their position at the top of The Championship,seeing off a serious challenge from the the Tractor Boys in front of an appreciative and supportive season's highest crowd of almost 23,500!

Ipswich had chances,notably falling to Lee, before Stoke took the lead just before halftime.Again it was Liam Lawrence doing the honours.He latched onto a defensive clearance as he came in from the right wing.He was well outside the box on the right as he struck the ball,which flew straight and true into the top left corner of the visitors net.Goalkeeper Bywater had absolutely no chance of getting a hand on the ball.Sponsors Man of the Match,Liam now has 13 goals for the season,one behind Ricardo Fuller.

While there were a few scares this match had nothing like the feel of the previous two home games.You always had the feeling that Stoke were going to come out with the right result.

With each match he plays Whelan looks like a real steal from Sheffield Wednesday.A quality midfielder well able to break up attacks but also able to play a perceptive defence splitting through ball to his forwards.He had a great game.

Bearing in mind the acquisition of Fulop from Sunderland attention focussed on Simonsen's performance....one flap at a cross,one fumble, and one fine save!For the most part then a steady performance.

Top then at least until Tuesday night....and the team clearly determined to hold on to what they have!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Stoke Go Top! Stoke City FC3 Scunthorpe United 2

(Courtesy of Sky Sports)
At 7pm the 'voice of Radio Stoke Sport',Nigel Johnson wondered whether this match against the bottom club was a potential banana skin for The Potters.By 8.08pm,these appeared to be sage words indeed with Stoke already two goals down,and looking strangely disjointed as the visitors buzzed around purposefully.

Ex Stokie Martin Paterson - whose 13 goals this season following his summer move to Scunthorpe from the Potteries have pushed his value up near the £1m mark - opened the scoring in the 7th minute,running onto a pass over the Stoke defence from the right,beating Simonsen's despairing dive to his right.Things got worse on 23 minutes when Hobbs ran in late and unchallenged to meet a left wing corner,heading strongly into the Stoke net.

Tuesday's match against Southampton was very much a game of two contrasting halves.We were left hoping at half time that this game would be too!To begin with it looked like not a great deal had changed,but then on 53 minutes Stoke got themselves back into the game.A long Delap throw in from the right was headed on by a central defender as he attempted to clear.The ball reached Liam Lawrence who was unmarked on the left edge of the six yard box.His left foot shot found the back of the net to the great relief of the home crowd.With Cresswell on for the strangely lethargic Diao Stoke increased the tempo of their play and began to move the ball about the field to great effect.

In the 63rd minute Fuller was set free down the right.He chased the ball - which at one moment looked like a lost cause - managed to hook it back from the byline to the centre of goal.Cresswell took a touch before shooting goalwards.The ball ricocheted off a defender,and against the goal post on its way into the net.

Another piece of Fuller magic set up Stoke's winner four minutes later.Receiving the ball on the left he spun away from a defender and accelerated toward the byline.Leaving three defenders some what bewildered as to how he had got past them along the line. Fuller cut a short sharp pass to the incoming Lawrence who had no trouble scoring his twelfth goal of the season.

A brilliant night's entertainment witnessed by 20979 fans,most of them deliriously happy as their team went to the top of the league!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Mama Nets His First Of The Season! Stoke City FC 3 Southampton 2

Stoke eased into a comfortable 3-0 lead in the first half.They looked assured,playing some good passing football.The opener, an own goal on 27minutes,resulted from a period of sustained Stoke pressure on the Southampton goal,and a goal mouth scramble caused by a Lawrence corner.Shawcross scored the second (35),rising to head in Lawrence's corner from the right.Mama Sidibe scored his first goal of the season,heading the ball into the net in an exceptionally busy goalmouth a minute from halftime.Another successful right side corner from Lawrence.

To borrow a phrase from rugby commentator Brian Moore "were the team given oranges or sedatives at half time?".Something in the tea probably.Stoke made a ponderous/sluggish start to the second half and were punished for it as Southampton upped the tempo of their game. Stern John scored his first a minute after the restart and added another goal on 54 minutes.Stoke were on the ropes for some 20 minutes with the ball zipping around their penalty area as the visitors went for an equaliser.

Several very near misses and two fine saves from Simonsen later The Potters emerged from their slumbers and took charge of the game again.Whilst at no stage looking quite as threatening as they had done in the first half they saw the game out for the 3-2 win.

Nevertheless another excellent 3 points,which with WBA drawing,were sufficient to move Stoke into 3rd place behind Watford and Bristol City.Ricardo Fuller was booked and Liam Lawrence sustained an injury to his arm/wrist/hand (can't be sure which !)which he seemed to carry awkwardly for the remainder of the match.Hopefully there is no break...Lawrence is so central to many of the good things that the team are doing at the moment that any injury which might take him out of the team could have serious consequences for us.This evenings assists - corners in all three cases - produced Powell's own goal,Shawcross's header, and Mama's 'starter for ten'.

Manager Tony Pulis was happy with the result....for full interview follow the link below.

Link Radio Stoke...Nigel Johnson with Tony pulis post match.

Virgin Media Free (Video)Match Highlights Link

50 great photos from the match (running as slideshow) at the bottom of the article "This One's For You"

Saturday, February 09, 2008

53 Points....We're Not Going Down This Season! Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 Stoke City FC 4

Stoke took an early lead in this game,suffered the double blow of the home team equalising on half time(Edwards 45) and then going ahead immediately after the break (Keogh 47).Yet such is the belief in this Stoke side that they not only fought back to equalise themselves, but also netted two more goals to confirm their win,and continued 4th spot in the league table.

Delap opened the scoring in the 4th minute,when Sidibe took advantage of a sloppy defensive back pass rounded the keeper,and played the ball in from the byline for him to nod the ball home.Stoke's second goal on 49 minutes resulted from a searching ball out of defence by Delap for Whelan to turn astutely and pass to his right, setting Liam Lawrence free on goal.He shot confidently past keeper Hennessey - his 10th goal of the season!

End to end open football was the order of the day,as it had been in the first half,with Stoke giving as good as they got.On 74 minutes Pugh won a corner on the left.Lawrence's corner kick was headed on goal by Sidibe - a thorn in Wolves' side throughout the afternoon - pushed onto the bar by the keeper.It rebounded and fell kindly to Cort who prodded the ball into the net.

Stoke did not start the match with Fuller, a late arrival back from a midweek international.He came on as sub for Gallagher in the 64th minute.Half an hour later he produced his party piece...a one man break from his own half (this time only a few yards outside his own penalty box) - how many of these runs have we seen this season? - culminating in a confident powerful cross shot from the right across the keeper into the net.A comprehensive win in the end,in a match which could at times have gone either way.
Stoke now find themselves 2 points of top spot and 1 off second place,with three consecutive home games to come in the next week or so.Very much all to play for...and looking good!

Monday, February 04, 2008

To Be Or Not To Be....Sid?

Could well be Mama in the middle!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Well England Couldn't Do It But.......Stoke City FC 2 Cardiff City 1

Stoke duly completed the double over Dave Jones's team,bringing their 10 game unbeaten run to an end into the bargain.Stoke had enough good chances to win the game comfortably,but in particular Mama Sidibe's failure to convert Fuller's squared pass - when faced with an open goal - with the score at 2-0, provided encouragement to the Bluebirds, who promptly reduced the deficit,leaving us all biting our fingernails for the last few minutes.

Except for short periods Stoke bossed the match.Cardiff were neat in midfield but were beaten back by the very determined Stoke rearguard marshalled by England U 21 call up Ryan Shawcross.Fuller was a real handful for the visiting defenders all afternoon.Sidibe performed well as target man.Rory Delap showed some nice touches in midfield,and Salif Diao was very much a steadying influence.

Stoke took the lead on 39 minutes when Johnson turned the ball into his own net from a Lawrence corner.After the break Fuller continued to threaten Cardiff, driving at the heart of their defence at every opportunity.On 57 minutes he picked up the ball near the half way line in the middle of the pitch and set off directly for the Cardiff goal.Two defenders converged on him inside the penalty area, bringing him down. Ref Steve Bennett had no hesitation in awarding the penalty,which Fuller himself coolly converted,sliding the ball along the ground into the bottom right corner of the net - his 13 th goal of the season so far.Within seconds of Mama missing his opportunity on 63 minutes Hasselbaink pulled one back for Cardiff.

The tense finale was punctuated by Stoke attacks which could have brought another goal.Ricardo Fuller for example had another one on one with the keeper but was unable to take advantage.

With this result Stoke temporarily lifted themselves into 3rd spot on 50 points.Following Watford's televised win against Wolves ( to which incidently John Eustace contributed a very solid performance) they reverted to 4th place.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Into predictions?....Its Cheaper To Buy A Stoke City Calendar Than A Crystal Ball

Yesterday...a little surprise on the transfer front...if only I'd turned my calendar over a day early I'd have known!

Transfer Window Closes.....Signings

It looks very much like a good last day's business for Stoke.

Something of a surprise is the departure of John Eustace to Watford for £250,000,rising to £ 400,000 if they get promoted.Although he has re-established himself in the first team after a lengthy period out with injury,and has improved his performance steadily many Stokies would argue that he is not the player he used to be when he first came to the club.

His replacement in the team will be 24 years old Glenn Whelan signed from Sheffield Wednesday for £500,000.By all accounts Whelan is the creative midfielder many people have been calling for.

Another welcome arrival is Blackburn striker Paul Gallager,joining the club for a second spell on loan, until the end of the season.

Tony Pulis indicated earlier this week that the club had approached 4 or 5 players.Maybe there is still the possibility of others coming in on loan.