STOKE CITY FC 3 V ARSENAL 1
I have to confess to feeling less than confident before the match.We have so much cup history with Arsenal,most of it bad in my lifetime,especially the two semi-final swindles in the early '70's.O ye of little faith!!
Total elation then, within 70 seconds of the start,when Fuller headed home a Delap long throw,to give us the lead.Ominously the visitors began to get their game together,as the half progressed.It was no real surprise,although somewhat fortuitous,when they got an equaliser just before halftime.
Whitehead somewhat harshly was judged to have handled just outside the box.Arsenal played the ball square.Denison's low drive was deflected by Collins beyond Sorensen into the Stoke net
In the second half Stoke took a measure of control.Tony Pulis was just about to sub his strikers when they combined to craft a fine goal to restore our lead.
Now Mama Sidibe sometimes doesn't look particularly quick,but on this occasion he took off down the right wing his long strides leaving the Arsenal fullback trailing in his wake.Cutting in slightly he clipped the ball delicately towards goal where the incoming Fuller headed home for his second of the day.
Arsenal had introduced additional big guns Arshavin,Edwardo,and Ramsey but they made no impression on a combative Stoke outfit.
Etherington had been busy and successful down the left.He played a number of tremendous balls across the Arsenal six yard box without a Stoke player getting a finishing touch.On 80 minutes he crossed again,but this time Whitehead was on hand to tap home,and put the game beyond The Gunners.Unbelieveably shortly afterwards Tuncay had the ball in the net again,a classy finish, but he was adjudged to have handled.
Stoke played out the remaining time reasonably comfortably,securing a well deserved victory,and earn a tie against...Manchester City !!!!
Anyone at home would have been a fitting reward...but what the hell.Enjoy the evening!