Stoke looked reasonably comfortable for the opening 30 minutes of their Premiership campaign.They then proceeded to ship three goals in the run up to halftime.
Bolton fullback Gretar Steinsson scored the first,advancing down the right his intended cross flew over keeper Sorensen into the Stoke net.A seemingly shellshocked Stoke defence then marked up poorly at two free-kicks leaving Kevin Davies and Johan Elmander with straightforward headers for their goals.
The second half was a tighter affair,something of a spirited fightback,which culminated in Fullers goal in added on time.
A baptism of fire then and defeat against a team which the pundits expect to struggle against relegation.As many fans suspected the defence will need reinforcements.Some have already been recruited but did not play today....others will probably sign next week.
Quite a few fans have expressed disappointment that the team did not look a great deal different to the one that finished last season,criticising the manager for his team selection.Looked at a different way this is a manager who is loyal to his players,giving them every chance of making it at the top level (whether we think they are good enough or not)having got the team to where they are today.Equally having done that,he will not be slow to make changes where they are revealed to be necessary.I suspect the players know that,will respect any changes,without damaging the team spirit built up over the last two years.
Potters 2008 - 9 still very much a work in progress and certainly not disgraced!!!!
Stoke: Sorensen ,Wilkinson ,Cort ,Shawcross ,Griffin ,Delap ,Olofinjana ,Whelan ,Cresswell ,Kitson ,Sidibe
Subs: Simonsen,Lawrence,Pericard,Diao,Amdy Faye,Dickinson,