STOKE CITY FC 2 BRISTOL CITY1
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.