STOKE CITY FC 2 BOLTON 0
The Proud Potters continue to inch toward Premiership safety.Another cold night at The Brit,with a good snow shower before (and during) halftime.Our heroes came through a stiff challenge from a capable Bolton team,netting twice and keeping a cleansheet.The three points lifts us out of the bottom three,to a respectable 15th place in the table on 29 points.
James Beattie continues to prove a fabulously astute signing.His opener on 14 minutes being his 5th goal in 7 starts.Class by anyone's standards.Who made the goal for him? Mr Whelan !His thrust through the centre and header forward to set Beattie clear was superb.Beattie one on one with the keeper.....you just knew he was going to score....its been a long while since we have had a striker who inspires such confidence.
Bolton made a strong start to the second half.Tony Pulis countered by putting Ricardo Fuller on.We only had to wait to the 73rd minute for this to pay off.Who was the inspiration?Mr Whelan!He struck a fierce shot from the edge of the penalty box.Keeper Jaaskelainen could only parry away.The ball fell to Fuller who lashed it into the net.Game over.
Oh the clean sheet? Sorensen looked accomplished,pulling off some fine saves,one in particular from a Taylor freekick.Abdy Faye and Shawcross were magnificent in defence.Alongside them Wilkinson continues to get better and better,especially going forward.MOTD pundits drooled over the intricacy of the West Ham build up to Carlton Cole's goal at Wigan.Sadly they never showed some fine interpassing between the Stoke players leading to a Wilko/Fuller/Wilko one two,with the fullback's shot on the run going narrowly wide of Jaaskelainen's post.
You may recall that when he was a Reading player Ibrahima Sonko often got onto the score sheet.He was unlucky not to add Stoke's third on the night when his powerful header smacked against the Bolton crossbar.
A fine,mainly confident performance from the Potters.This is no longer a one dimensional team,reliant on setplays and throw ins.We are playing some good football,the manager has a much improved squad to work with,we don't look out of place in this league.
Long may it continue....GO....ARRRRN STOKE! (and.....Mr Shearer thinks we are going to stay up too!!)