2016 - 2017

2016 - 2017

Monday, April 28, 2008

Promotion Permutations.....

To all intents and purposes the Baggies are there....as many expected they made hard work of drawing with Southampton tonight,but the point coupled with their seriously superior goal difference makes it highly unlikely that Stoke AND Hull could top them come Sunday.

Let's be positive,what this result means however is that with the right combination of results from The Brit and Loftus Road on Sunday Stoke could go up as Champions!!!

Now we've got used to playing in front of the Sky cameras,and spurred on by a sell out 26,000 crowd I see Stoke going for the win against Leicester,replicating the fine professional ( not pretty!) performance against Colchester.We've certainly enjoyed a good run of form since the accidental rediscovery of the right team blend and balance at half time at Coventry.Our players didn't freeze in the last vital televised match against Bristol City,so expect something similar in this one on Sunday.

Given their position just above the bottom three (on goal difference!!) it looks as though Leicester will be going for the 3 points to be sure of staying up.Whether that is to our advantage remains to be seen.

GO........AAARRRRRRN Stoke.....You can do it.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Colchester 0 Stoke City FC1 Potters Go Top!

The last game at Layer Road was controlled by Stoke.A scrappy Cresswell goal just before half time earned the points.There were more unconverted chances in the second half.

Crystal Palace almost did it for us at Hull,drawing until the final few minutes,but conceding at the death.Until then Stoke looked to have booked their automatic promotion place.

So it all moves on to The Brit and the final match a week tomorrow in front of a full house.Leicester will not be easy opposition,but with everything in their own hands - needing a point to be certain - there is no reason why Stoke should not gain the promotion they richly deserve.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Great Mama News.

The Sentinel reports that Mama Sidibe's scan revealed no serious damage to the ankle that the player injured during Saturday's game agaainst Bristol City,and that there is every chance of him taking the field against Colchester in Saturday's vital match.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

El Sid Strikes....Twice In One Game!


If you are into omens and signs then things did not look good to start with at The Brit yesterday.A crash caused the closure of the A50 both ways.....the SKY cameras were present and we know how that has affected our performance in recent times...and - oh no - Mike Riley for referee.!Four sent off in his last visit to the Championship.Pottermouth's Battlecry totally mangled by the PA system to the point of being virtually unrecognisable.I won't go on...

Whatever, our magnificent TEAM rose brilliantly to the occasion.They bullied Bristol out of their stride, took a 2 goal lead by half time,were applauded off the pitch at the break,conceded Adebola his statuory goal at Stoke from a needless corner thus contriving to let Bristol back into the match for the last 20 minutes or so.That period had plenty of Alamo moments in which the rock that is Shawcross was prominent in helping us maintain our lead with last ditch interventions.Everyone on the edge of their seats willing the team on....25,000 in the ground and millions worldwide being richly entertained.

Stoke set a fast tempo from the start, playing the ball about well,and harrying the visitors,giving them no time to settle at all.Stoke took the lead on 14 minutes.Lawrence was fouled and from his free kick Mama Sidibe,making a difficult header look easy,powered the ball just under the bar into the net.His celebratory dance next to the corner flag was a surprisingly nimble affair.His second goal (thus doubling his tally for the season) was taken with aplomb.Playing the ball to Fuller Sidibe sped forward and clear of the defence onto Fullers flicked ball.On numerous occasions this season we have seen Ricardo himself in this position without being able to convert.Mama had no doubts at all as to what he was going to do.As keeper Basso came out he placed the ball deliberately past him along the ground into the net(36 mins).Cue delirious celebration in the stands.

The second half initially followed the pattern of the first.Stoke could and should have added to their goal tally but with Adebola's goal Bristol moved up a gear,causing us more problems ...and heart stopping moments.

The match ended with wild celebration from fans and players alike.Throughout Mike Riley had given us absolutely nothing,but hadn't wreaked his usual havoc.Automatic promotion??Given results earlier in the day this result places our fate fully in our own hands...as an exceedingly happy Denis Smith said on Radio Stoke "It's our's to throw away now..." but he didn't think we would judged on what we had just seen.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Need A Confidence Booster? Pottermouth's Your Man!!`

So the the sequence of near rivals results favouring us was rudely ended the other night when both WBA and Hull City used their match in hand to good effect,both winning and going above us in the table (for the time being that is).Are you down in the dumps?

Like many other Stokies I've been enjoying Pottermouth's witty contributions to Praise and Grumble throughout the season.

Need to boost that sagging confidence? Well then do what 6,ooo Stokies have done online so far.....listen to Pottermouth's Battlecry...you will be moved to tears by the experience....so powerful is this offering that there are rumours that it will be played at The Brit on Saturday before the Bristol City match!


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Roller Coaster Hits Cov...Coventry City 1 Stoke City FC 2

Great day out...great result....and thanks to WBA and Watford table toppers again tonight

Beefburger outside the ground £3.20p.....bap fresh maybe sometime last week (you sort of know this when you bite the front of the bap and the back edge falls off!)...not the best.Inside the ground a pie (tasty steak and kidney)/carling(500ml bottle) combo...£5.Neither matched the fare on offer on the pitch,particularly in the second half.

Coventry bossed the first half,skimming the bar not long after kick off,having one or two other chances,but finally netting through Elliot(31mins) from the penalty spot,after a desparate Stoke boot attempting to clear caught a Coventry player rather than the ball.Ameobi went off injured (replaced by Sidibe) having had no real chance to strike up an understanding with Fuller.Next to go was Griffin (40mins),who once again was being given a really hard time.He really is only a pale shadow of the player that we had last season,so much so that there is speculation that he is carrying an injury of some sort.As it turned out his replacement Shawcross put in a virtually flawless performance,partnering Cort in the centre,with Riggott moving out to fullback.To be honest Stoke's defence was rarely troubled after this change.

The second half belonged more or less entirely to Stoke.Coventry offered less and less in attack as Stoke built up real momentum.Rory Delap,stand in Captain,prompted his forwards.On 54 minutes Fuller was put through on goal in front of the Stokie supporters.Four defenders converged on him,one taking his legs.Uriah Rennie had no hesitation awarding the penalty.Fuller took it himself tucking the ball inches inside the right post with Schmeichel diving the right way.

Tony Pulis' masterstroke was to bring on Liam Lawrence for Pearson in the 67th minute.This built up the pressure on the Coventry defence,with two crosses in particular passing in front of the home goal without a Stoke forward being able to apply a finishing touch.However in the 79th minute Stoke interplay - the final telling touch again just an oh so important toe in by Mama Sidibe,to deflect the ball- put Cresswell clear in on goal.Schmeichel blocked, but the ball ran out kindly to Lawrence who had no trouble netting the winner.

The funny thing about the game was that circumstances-in the form of enforced changes - brought about a better balance in the team,plus more bite and aggression.A fine win for The Potters appreciated and wildly celebrated by the 3000 fans present.

With WBA and Watford cancelling each other out Stoke go top.WBA have a local derby match -their remaining match in hand- with Wolves on Tuesday night.

It seems ever so simple... can we win the next three games to gain automatic promotion...yes we can!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Slip Slidin' Away......Out Of The Spotlight! It Might Suit Us.

So WBA run another version of their late show,trailing Blackpool for 50 minutes,then hitting 3 goals to win in the last 10 minutes.Not quite as late as against Colchester,but just as effective.

West Brom now head the table,a point in front of us still with a game in hand.Without the distraction of the FA Cup and on the back of some good form in the league,you have to think that they will now bag one of the automatic promotion spots.

Stoke have not really been performing, as we know they can,I think since they attracted greater media attention just a few weeks back.Remember the papers and TV were full of Liam Lawrence,the poison chalice that is Manager of the Month,and so forth.

Although I would much rather we had stayed out in front,I have a hunch that being in the position we are now might relieve a bit of the pressure,ease the nerves,and with that the results we need might follow.

There were real signs in the second half on Monday night that the goals we are so desparately missing might begin to flow again.Here's hoping!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Stoke Still Stuttering!...Stoke City 1 Crystal Palace 2

It is unusually difficult to put into words what this result means to Stoke.I was there,Sky TV were there,15,756 fans were there,the former and the latter just hoping that things would turn out right.Would the team be there too?

At the pub and in the ground last night there was a real buzz of expectation ...but not a little apprehension too!As the match progressed,particularly the first half,the less phlegmatic characters in the crowd were soon very much in evidence.The team started brightly enough with strong vocal backing,but a few missed passes later coupled with the disappointing reaction from quite a few Stokies (from sheer frustration as much as anything else) had one or two players retreating into their shells.

The Manager contends that Stoke are not getting the breaks at the moment and you have to have some sympathy with that view.Had the early doors header that hit the base of the post gone in, instead of running along the goal line and away to safety, things might have been very different....

To be frank Stoke looked like a team playing get to know you much of the time,which is entirely understandable.A good few new faces have been drafted in...inevitably they need time to gel...we don't have that time unfortunately.

Palace took the lead against the run of play.Sinclair, a class act on loan from Chelsea skinned Pugh,chipped the ball across the goal mouth for Soares to head firmly into the net.Things got worse just before half time when Portugese defender Fonte netted from the edge of the penalty box.

To be fair the second half was all Stoke as they tried to salvage something from the wreckage.In particular sub Fuller and Ameobi began to torment the Palace defence,pulling it about,creating plenty of chances to score,but unable to convert.Plenty of scrambles and near misses,but nothing to show for it until Whelan's volley from the edge of the box finally defeated keeper Speroni (who had certainly ridden his luck at times!) in the 85th minute.You wondered if it was too late.To their credit Stoke mounted a frantic assault in the last five minutes,plus the five minutes of added time,but were unable to score again...so even the point that would have taken us back to the top escaped us.

Any positives from the game? Still second (will WBA do us another favour tonight?)....four games to play....Ameobi looked better as the match went on (in the first half he gave a passable impression of Gifton Noel-Williams - how many kids does he have now?)....the Ameobi Fuller pairing looked promising ( although in the closing minutes both were guilty of taking an extra touch when they should have been having a pop at goal)...certainly they are capable of unhinging lesser sides than Palace.Negatives....I fear that Griff is now a busted flush...he had a torrid time again...Pugh looked uncomfortable throughout....Pearson looks rusty,possibly still shell shocked from his Derby County experiences this season,his contribution at set plays nothing like as threatening or precise as those of the absent Liam Lawrence(groin strain).

Each game is now going to be a must win,if we are to get automatic promotion.
Crossed fingers? Cross everything!

To misquote