2016 - 2017

2016 - 2017

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Sheffield Wed 1 Stoke City 1

Oops!You go on holiday...you cross your fingers....you try not to worry...El Kenno provides the news you've been hoping to hear at half time...everything going Stoke's way.

Make a brew...take in the Spanish view...life's sweet!

What a difference 45 minutes can make...Stoke swizzed,Brizzle get back on track,WBA recover.......

Put all that to one side...great holiday...thanks Ken and Chris....now refreshed to get behind the lads as they take us to the promised land!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Stalemate! Stoke City FC 1 Blackpool 1

Stoke continued their run of indifferent form against The Seasiders,yet still managed to stay on top of the table as Bristol City slipped to defeat at Cardiff.
Stoke's performance was once again a reflection of a mixture of adverse circumstances.The weather,swirling wind (though less so than against Burnley) plus snow flurries,played its part in making accurate football difficult, the team lost its real attacking cutting edge with the absence through suspension of Fuller and Lawrence at the same time,and injuries during the match ( Diao early on to a hamstring problem, and Cort in the second half to a calf muscle strain) caused upset in various already new pairings both in attack and defence.

Early exchanges were even but Blackpool took the lead on 37 minutes.Cort got no real distance on his headed clearance of a right wing cross.The ball was brought down,played to Burgess,whose shot looked a comfortable save for Nash,but was deflected past the keeper and into the net by Cort.Stoke's play was somewhat disjointed and they did not really look like getting a goal back as the half closed.

A positive start to the second half with pressure brought to bear on the Blackpool goal.A left side corner from Gallagher was headed back into a ruck of players by Burgess.Cort (second from right) reacted to put the ball into the net off a Blackpool defender (47 mins).

Stoke tried really hard as the game progressed but all they had to show for it was a clearance off the Blackpool goal line .

Again on the balance of play a match Stoke could have won but didn’t! To their credit Blackpool themselves could have come away with something more than the one point .

Although they remain top Stoke will need to recapture some real form if they are not to end up in the play off pack. Hull certainly look to be a real threat at the moment and with the momentum to overhaul the Potters.A win at Sheffield Wednesday next week is imperative,but will not be easy as the home side battle to escape the relegation places.

When he came on Bothroyd showed some neat touches. One of his crosses from the right deserved a goal finish, and a long range shot brought a good save from the visiting keeper.

Still looking on the bright side, still hanging in there…and who knows WHERE WE’LL END UP? Six games to go….


Saturday, March 15, 2008

We Are Top The League...Again!! Watford 0 Stoke City FC 0

Before today's game we would have taken a 0-0 draw and a point against a strong Watford team.In the end we got one,and it pushed us back to the top of the table.

Much of this match was about referee Rob Styles showboating.It only took him 20minutes or so to get his red card out.Fortunately this time it was not one of our players dismissed,rather the recently departed Stokie John Eustace,Hornets captain for the day.His challenge on Cresswell was mistimed and high,meriting a booking rather than a sending off.

Five other names went into his book,two of which are significant for The Potters run in fixtures.Both Fuller and Shawcross have now accumulated 10 bookings and will miss the next two games.For next week's game against Blackpool they will be missing,and of course join Liam Lawrence who still has one match left of his suspension.Team selection against Blackpool could be interesting.

Stoke started with three centrebacks and three forwards,but after halftime reverted to 4-4-2.Despite Watford being reduced to 10 men Stoke were still second best and under pressure for much of the time.

A further Styles contribution was to award the home side a penalty for an innocuous ball to hand involving Andy Griffin.Stoke have Carlo Nash to thank for pulling off a save from Henderson.Given his penalty failure in another high profile goalless encounter against Bristol City the other night one would imagine a change in penalty taker is on the cards at Vicarage Road.

With both Bristol City and WBA losing,Stoke's result is useful.7 matches to go then and still all to play for....the Manager's view was that his team was nervous today.....as he said it is to be hoped that the nervousness was caused by the card happy ref rather than their position at the top!!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Jay Bothroyd ...On Months Loan At Stoke City FC.

Stoke have signed 25 years old Bothroyd from Wolves on a months loan.He's scored 4 goals this season but recently has not figured in Mick McCarthy's plans at Molineux.

Tony Pulis could well push him straight into the team against Watford if Mama Sidibe is still troubled by his damaged hamstring

Vincent Pericard has moved out to Southampton on a month's loan.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Stoke Stay In Second Spot! Norwich City 0 Stoke City FC 1

Stoke established a solid defensive platform as the first half progressed.The closest they came to scoring was when the crossbar denied a Dickinson effort as the half closed. This followed a weak Cort header straight at keeper Marshall from a Lawrence corner on 26 minutes,which was saved easily. Neither side was able to establish prolonged superiority from the possession they enjoyed.

The Potters emerged from the break and put the home side under more concerted pressure.Diao was replaced by Fuller who, perhaps surprisingly, started the match on the bench.Stoke took the lead on 58 minutes when Mama Sidibe got his head to a Delap long throw,flicking the ball on and into the net.Only his second goal of the season but potentially a very important one.

Ryan Shawcross replaced Cort on 81 minutes,and Gallagher took Sidibe's place on 84 minutes.Throughout the second half Stoke were the stronger team without being able to give themselves the second goal to consolidate their winning position.

A deserved win on balance.Riggott again looked a very shrewd acquisition cool calm and collected at the heart of the defence,with Carlo Nash behind him dealing effectively whenever he was called upon,particularly with two fine second half saves from Cureton.

With Bristol City drawing against Watford Stoke continue in second place.Bristol lead the table on 67 points,with Stoke on 66 points.Both have played 38 games.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Potters Turn It Round. Stoke City FC1 Burnley1

Windy,wet weather at the Brit!Certainly conditions that had a very decided effect on the quality of football.A lack lustre performance from Stoke, but at least the result put an end to their losing run.

It could be argued that Stoke gifted Burnley their opener as early as the third minute.With play and players all compressed into an area on the Seddon Stand side of the pitch,Pugh just in his own half for some reason produced a nondescript header back toward his own goal.This reached Akinbiyi,whose deft back flick set James O'Connor free to slide the ball across to Lafferty,coming in from the left.He beat on loan keeper Nash at the near post,the ball seeming to go under his body.

Shortly after that Stoke had a major let off when Akinbiyi in front of goal made a complete hash of an excellent chance to put the visitors two up.(Interviewed after the match Tony Pulis said he would be buying the player a drink!)As well,because Stoke never really looked as though they would be able to turn round a two goal deficit.

Stoke's defence,given the tricky conditions,looked pretty steady.Middlesborough loanee Riggott had an excellent game,coming in for Shawcross,who spent the afternoon on the bench.Burnley only had a couple of chances for the rest of the game.The best one fell to substitute Andy Cole in the second half.Coming in from the left he hammered the ball from close range.Carlo Nash saved instinctively at his near post,pushing the ball away for a corner.

Stoke pushed on forward substitutes in the latter part of the second half.Gallagher replaced the largely ineffective Sidibe,and Parkin came on for Diao ( still not the player we remember from last season,but not a bad contribution today)as Stoke went for broke.Earlier in the half Fuller looked to have been wrestled to the ground in the Burnley penalty area,but referee Webb - strangely inconsistent on the day in many of his decisions - was having none of it.However a genuine head of steam generated by the Potters in the last few minutes,it must be said for the first time in the game,saw Cresswell chasing through on goal.A Burnley defender gave him the slightest of touches,down he went,and Webb awarded a penalty.

Liam Lawrence held his nerve,placing his kick to the keepers left.The ball hit the post,and was on its way out,where,fortunately it hit the back of Kiraly's head (maybe back!)and rebounded into the net(90 min).

Stoke still had three extra minutes to try for the winner.Gallagher - as at QPR making a real difference to the team effort- managed two cracking shots from the edge of the box.He was particularly unlucky with the second one which looked all the way a goal until it was deflected away unwittingly for a corner off the shoulder of a Burnley defender.

A difficult game then but with a positive outcome.Difficult weather overcome,losing run ended,a point gained rather than three more lost...and with it a return to second spot in the table.Realistically Stoke need 4 points from their next two games,both away, if they are to maintain their challenge for automatic promotion...

Sunday, March 02, 2008

D'Urso Guns Down Griffin ! QPR 3 Stoke City FC 0

Stoke may have approached this game with some optimism,but in the end it proved to be a miserable afternoon for The Potters.Literally seconds after hitting the Rangers bar they went a goal down on 12 minutes to a magnificent strike from Leigertwood which Simonsen,even at full stretch, had no chance with.The same player added anotherin the 21st minute.The ball was played into the Stoke penalty area in front of goal.Despite a challenge from two Stoke defenders Vine managed to get the ball back to the advancing Leigertwood who volleyed the ball sweetly into the net.Stoke huffed and puffed but did not look the real threat of recent weeks as they were harried out of their stride by the home side.

Experienced referee Andy d'Urso put paid to any real chance of a Stoke recovery when he gave captain Andy Griffin his marching orders,a quite unjustified sending off as Griffin won the ball cleanly,and did not play the man.Refs seem to be on some red card feeding frenzy at the moment and none of them wishes to be left out....this particular decision was appalling....where was the Assistant ref?He would have had a clear view of the injustice!

Even with 10 men,just before half time Ricardo Fuller,challenged by 2 defenders got his shot away and was unlucky to see his shot come away off a post with the keeper beaten.

Two goals would have been a tall order for the 10 men,but Buzsaky killed the game off in the 56th minute with the 3rd goal,scored ,it must be said, from an offside position.Another disastrous miss by the officials!

Stoke made personnel changes in the second half to better cope in the circumstances.Wilkinson replaced Sidibe,Gallagher came on for Diao, and Buxton for Lawrence.Whilst defensively Stoke looked more solid, up front Ricardo Fuller ploughed a lone furrow.His performance was admirable.Singlehandedly he forced 5 corners out of the home side,although unfortunately on the day these came to nothing.
Gallager,in a midfield roll did his best to make things happen with some intelligent touches.Whelan had a fierce goalbound effort turned aside by the home keeper.Liam Lawrence did not seem quite himself...is he carrying an injury?

A stout second half effort from Stoke in difficult circumstances, but essentially a lost cause.Our goal difference must now be more of a concern than it was.Position wise we are still second in the table,but unless we are mighty lucky that will change on Tuesday/Wednesday when teams around us play their game in hand.

Tony Pulis will have identified what needs to be done ahead of Saturday's game at home to Burnley.The training ground will be a busy place this week.