STOKE CITY FC 0 EVERTON 0
This was not a bore draw, far from it.Both sides played some good football.Stoke had to clear their heads after last week's hammering - they did that! Everton continued their excellent run,undefeated in 10 games I think it is - they did that.
Chances were few and far between. Everton had the ball in the net , a header from Jagielka,but this was rightly chalked off, for Anichebe's offside/in some way obstructing keeper Begovic. This was balanced up by Rory Delap's glaring miss when faced with an open goal at the other end.
Stoke had three real chances to my mind,all coming in the second half.For the first Sidibe,who had a brilliant game yesterday, took the ball down the left,played a super ball to Etherington,moving fast down the centre.His measured ball to his right put Rory Delap free on goal.With just Howard to beat - the keeper was already into a full length dive to his left - our midfielder inexplicable turned his shot outside the righthand post.
The second saw Ricardo Fuller blast the ball over the bar from the edge of the penalty area.The third featured two of the three subs, all of whom joined the fray with three minutes to go. Again the move started down the left. A perceptive pass by Tuncay set Pugh clear of the Everton defence.He reached the byline and had only to cut the ball back to Lawrence,unmarked in front of goal.Looked easy to do, and a goal for certain given Liam's accomplished finish against Hull.Sadly Pugh fluffed his pass,and it was not to be.
Stoke were up for this one.The backline,changed from last week, looked solid with Shawcross and Huth paired in the centre, Higginbotham reverting to left back ( a big improvement on Collins), and Wilkinson adding bite on the left side.
Mama earned his Man of the Match award.Ricardo gave everything,and eventually was afforded some protection from constant over physical buffeting by Ref Howard Webb.Begovic,for the most part looked assured.
So ends a very enjoyable - well most of the time anyway - home season. Oh, that match ball....it disappeared into the Everton fans.........