One of those days........if we had played on for hours we were destined not to score.
Here Stoke came up against a younger faster more skilful team,which played some excellent football .Defensively they were solid,standing up well to our known threats, albeit sometimes with a degree of desperation.
For all that, in my estimation they were lucky to leave The Brit with all three points.They penetrated only twice in the whole game,the first of those occasions being Tristan's quality goal on 33 minutes from a freekick centrally placed on the edge of stoke's penalty area.The second came after the break as Stoke began to chase the game.In a one on one Thomas Sorensen came out on top.
To my mind there is now a pattern to the refereeing displays that we are seeing at The Brit. Stoke are clearly perceived as an overly physical team and are being 'reffed'as such,rightly or wrongly protection is being given to the opposition, with our players being penalised for perfectly legitimate challenges.There is a presumption that in goal mouth crowd scenes if the keeper drops the ball-which Green did few times today-then by definition they must have been fouled.
We had our chances,headers going wide,over the bar,or being cleared from the line.Shots were blocked or blazed over the bar.
So still on 39 points,with results going our way for the second week running.With another game gone we drop only one place in the table.WBA can no longer catch us.Middlesborough are eight points adrift with three games to play.Currently their goal difference is inferior to ours -26 to -17.A tall order.But we are still in reach for others........I'm sure Manager Pulis was impressing this on the players after the game,when they failed to emerge for the customary warm down.
So off to Hull........can we wrap it up there next week?