Monday, December 29, 2008
I seem to recall that around the time of the Arsenal match - when Mr Wenger was voicing his displeasure at Stoke's physical style of play(as cover for a pretty dismal Arsenal perfomance some suggested) - that TP sought/received reassurance from the referees that Stoke's play was fair,robust, but within the rules of the game.
We know that refs are on a pro footing,that they gather for briefings, analysis,development, sharing etc.For my money from the evidence of recent matches there seems to be a 'ref's narrative' influencing events and refereeing decisions with regard to Stoke city FC.
They seem to perceive us as being overly physical and seem to be trying to compensate for that by being overly protective of opposition players. Man U and West Ham had players who were every bit as physical as ours but were not penalised to the same extent as the Stoke team.
Leave aside Fuller's stupid and entirely avoidable dismissal yesterday, he has been growing increasingly frustrated in recent weeks.I am sure there are many contributory causes for this, but I can't help feeling that he has been on the end of some pretty rough treatment from the opposition,which refs have consistently ignored/not seen (take your pick....another part of the refs narrative I think).Fuller was fouled heavily on four occasions on Saturday but got no joy from the ref,Ryan Giggs got protection from Mr.Foy immediately.
Don't think we are getting a fair crack at the moment.....
Sunday, December 28, 2008
For the second game running Stoke faced trying to save a point with only 10 men on the pitch.....this time, bizarrely, losing Ricardo Fuller.......sent off after he had cuffed his own captain!
Stoke got off to just the start they wanted with a headed goal from Abdy Faye,getting up well to Pugh's corner.Six minutes into the second half West Ham equalised with a quality goal from Carlton Cole, and late on took all 3 points with Tristan's 88th minute winner,an unfortunate deflection from a Cole shot.There was more than a hint of offside about the goal.
For those wondering how the Stoke manager Tony Pulis will handle this situation, his post match comment.....
"Andy Griffin had hurt his knee, I played him because Andy Wilkinson was suspended but he was happy to play. Before half-time he felt his calf but he wanted to give it five minutes to see how it was.
We're desperately disappointed to lose as we were against Manchester United, what's important is how we pick ourselves up.
We've got a good group of players who care about things and Ricardo Fuller cared too much - we'll deal with it in house, not through the media."
Friday, December 26, 2008
I have watched MU televised matches against other teams in recent seasons and on occasions been left with the slight feeling that very subtley they manipulated the officials in charge.
Sitting watching this game unfold at The Brit left me with more than just a slight feeling.........the ref gave the very real impression of a man on a mission...... to save an endangered species.
Stoke were uncompromising,energetic, and very much in the visitors faces.For the most part the challenges were fair.The (over) reactions of one or two United players to challenges caused Ref Foy to rush to their rescue.Penalising and booking Stoke players, Foy seemed less inclined to punish MU misdemeanours.....notably Rooney for seemingly elbowing the immaculate Amdy Faye, and Ronaldo for kicking out at Wilkinson.
There is an argument to be made that the United star could have been sent off for this......had that happened the chances are that Wilkinson himself would not have been sent off following a second yellow card (for his injudicious tackle on the portugese player).
Stoke gave a gutsy performance throughout, indeed would in my view have secured at least a point,had it not been for Wilko's dismissal.Having contained and frustrated United well for the majority of the game heartbreakingly Stoke conceded 6 minutes from the end of the match.A Neville cross from the right found sub Berbatov to the right of goal.He helped the ball on toward the oncoming Tevez,who blasted the ball into the roof of Sorensen's net from 6 yards out.
A great display from Stoke,with nothing to show for their efforts at the end.Worse, results elsewhere ensured that we dropped into the bottom three in the Premiership.
Mind you a win at West Ham could see us return to mid table..here's hoping!!
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Throughout the game Stoke did not generate any substantial threat,despite having plenty of the ball and the home side not playing at all well. Whelan clipped Robinson's bar early on,and at the death sub Olofinjana brought a reaction save out of the surprised home keeper.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Saturday, December 06, 2008
Stoke recovered brilliantly from an abysmal start. Going two goals down in the first 25 minutes to a brace from ex England striker Michael Owen,The Mighty Potters turned the game around in the second half,dominating the play,gaining a well deserved point with goals from Sidibe and Abdy Faye.
The first half saw Stoke exposed down both flanks,N'Zogbia giving Griffin a particularly torrid time.Owen was put through by Gutierrez for the opening goal on 8 minutes.Sixteen minutes later he bagged his second,tapping in from Martin's cross.
Given Stoke's away record this season people would be forgiven for feeling that was that.But we reckon without the spirit in the team, and the inspiration provided by the manager.Whelan had come on for Diao in the first half.He was joined by Fuller,and Tongue as the half progressed.
The fightback was sparked by Fuller's run to the byline, his cutback ball being netted by the now prolific Mama Sidibe.Stoke increasingly bossed the half, harrying the home players,denying them the time and spacethat they had enjoyed in the first half.
The icing was put on the cake in the 90th minute when Griffin's right side freekick was not cleared from the home six yard box,leaving Abdy Faye to blast the ball into the net from close range.
It has to be said that Stoke played some really good football, and again made plenty of chances.
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Stoke started brightly enough but in the first 20 minutes there was not much quality football, though The Potters looked dangerous on the break.They had two opportunities to deploy Rory Delap's threatening throws but Derby defended against them well.As in a number of games this season Stoke lacked guile in the midfield, someone to play a penetrating through ball to set Fuller or Sidibe free on goal.As on Saturday Stoke created/were gifted a number of half chances but were not able to convert.
On 36 minutes Cresswell had the ball in the net from Fuller's pass, but the goal was chalked off by ref Rob Styles seemingly for handball by Creswell.Despite their pressure The Potters did not force a single save from Carroll in the Derby goal. Just on halftime Connolly blocked a goal bound Sidibe shot.
Immediately after the break Kris Commons header rattled the Stoke bar.If a wake up call was needed for the home team this was it, and Stoke certainly upped their effort for a while. Ricardo Fuller was denied a run on goal by a Derby sliding tackle.A headed on ball reached Fuller,but he powered his header over the goal when he should have done better.This was followed by a powerful Commons shot which fortunately was deflected up over the goal for a corner.
Following a Connolly foul on Sidibe Whelan's free kick was cleared for a corner.Shortly after, Sidibe blew an excellent chance from 7 yards out.Derby then were out of luck when a corner was headed across goal by Addison, hitting the Stoke post before going away safely for a goalkick.Then Sidibe's header from a Whelan freekick was brilliantly saved by keeper Carroll.Fuller's follow up was cleared over the bar by a Derby defender.
A tricky Fuller turn was stopped on the edge of the box. From Whelan's splendid freekick Carroll expertly palmed the ball away for a corner.The corner saw Fuller head over the bar.With 3 minutes added time being played the second of two Delap throws dropped to Sidibe who shot over the bar.Ref Styles controversially awarded a penalty to Derby for handball against Griffin. This was converted by Nathan Ellington with 30 seconds to go.
No coming back from that........