STOKE CITY FC 3 BLACKBURN ROVERS 0
There can be little doubt that in footballing terms Stoke have progressed,no longer a one (two?) trick pony.Long balls and long throws have been overtaken by, but not replaced,rather complemented by a slick brand of carpet football.
Today after a solid start Blackburn were totally eclipsed.Stoke opened the scoring through Higginbotham on 8 minutes.Lawrence's corner from the left was headed out,but directly to Higginbotham twelve yards or so out.He connected powerfully with the dropping ball,his shot arrowing into the bottom left corner of Robinson's net.
We had to endure some serious pressure as the visitors pressed to get on terms.One period saw Stoke besieged by what seemed like a never ending continuous succession of corners from the visitors,each corner leading to another.You had the feeling that a goal must come....but we're made of sterner stuff nowadays...and the treat blew itself out.
Just on halftime a Rory Delap long throw from the right was cleared to find Etherington just outside the penalty box on the left.He played a beautiful ball to the right over the Blackburn defence,which dropped to Mama Sidibe.He managed to get goalside of Givet to tap the ball home.
Stoke opened the second half looking to add to their lead.Just after the hour Sidibe once again unsettled the Blackburn defenders,this time on the left.The ball broke to Matty Etherington,who headed infield,pursued by four defenders.Centrally placed on the edge of the box he played a one two with Lawrence,wrongfooted a defender by turning back onto his left,sidefooting an exquisite curling shot along the ground,beyond Robinson's dive, into the bottom left corner of the Blackburn net.
It is many a long year since us faithful Stokies have seen such quality from our team.
Long may it continue.So 29 points,games in hand,our Manager - 300 games in charge for Stoke - typically refuses to get carried away with what might be in the future.His focus is squarely on Tuesday's visit to Wigan and no further!