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...