Sunday, October 31, 2010
Wenger and Co knew what they were doing with their constant criticism of The Potters style.Some of the mud they were throwing would stick,and so it has, as I have said before.Referees have bought into this stereotypical view,and are officiating in the light of it.Certainly they are giving us absolutely nothing at the moment,or so it seems.
Yesterday Ref Probert ruled out a perfectly good goal by Tuncay,before Everton had scored.He judged that fullback Baines had been pushed,virtually on the line by the Turk prior to the ball trickling into the net.
To these tired eyes of mine it was clear that Baines was already on his way down in an attempt to clear the ball.Tuncay brushed past him to score.
Clearly Probert and others see these as 'after you Claude....no after you Cecil! ' situations.No physical contact (if Stoke are involved) .....its not football,players politely avoiding even minimal contact by running around each other,and to hell with scoring rough and tumble goals (which this most definitely was not).
So having been denied a legitimate goal you sort of knew that something would happen at the other end of the pitch.A ball into our box by Pienaar was shinned by Abdy Faye as he attempted to exert some form of control, fell to Yakubu,who hit the post with his shot,fortunately got a direct rebound back,and drove the ball over Begovic into the Stoke net for the winner.
So three league defeats in a row again.We deserved more than we got against Bolton and Man Utd,and you could argue that the same could be said about this match.
Not the time to panic yet......with a rub of the green.....things will turn around again.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Stoke bossed the first 40 minutes,taking a deserved lead in the 6th minute,when Kenwyne Jones nodded in from a Pennant corner,but they did not build on their advantage.The last few minutes of the half West Ham came on stronger,which set the pattern for the second half.
Nevertheless it took West Ham until the 84th minute to get back on terms,a Parker header ,as Stoke visibly wilted.A day less for Stoke to recover from the weekend games?Several players included who were not full match fit?Who knows?What we do know is that defeat became something of an inevitablity as the momentum switched to,and remained with The Hammers.Extra time saw goals from Da Costa (96mins) and Obinna (118mins) which sealed Stoke's fate,and exit from the competition.
Tuncay started the match but did not finish it,maybe because he will be in the lineup at Everton.Eidur Gudjonsen came on as sub,but unlike the West ham subs made little impression,except perhaps Berbertov like that he could not be bothered unless the ball was played to his feet.
Some speculation that the approach of winter has led him to reconsider his position:nice boats in Monaco harbour, better weather, warming the Monaco bench,now a rather more attractive proposition than the incinerator,rain,and the cold of the Brit.He has not figured in as many games for Stoke as I thought he might,but each time we have seen him so far he has seemed a little sluggish,maybe even still carrying a little extra weight despite the fitness regime at Stoke.
So a night that started so promisingly,ended in disappointment,and with more than a few messages in the ether which will need to be interpreted,and maybe acted upon.
Monday, October 25, 2010
What about the Stokie chants? Memorable yes definitely (well more or less in the case of the second one,the words of which I think I remember).” Robbed by a scouser,you’ve just been robbed by a Scouser”. Mint, I think is the word. The second...”You’re shite, Rooney says you are” (repeated).You all know the tunes....
A novelty - if my memory serves me well – our goal was the first that we have scored against them in the five games since we returned to the Prem. Bigger novelty....Tuncay even got onto the pitch to massive acclaim by the fans, who had been calling for him earlier. Massive bigger novelty....he scored our equaliser....a cracking shot across Van Der Sar, after a mistake by Scholes (who didn’t have one of his better days).What struck me most was that the fans unreserved adulation and celebration was not altogether matched by his team mates,who seemed reluctant to join him as he milked the applause.Did wonder whether this shows what they really feel about him.
Still there we were drawing with one of the greats with just a few minutes to go and a seriously pumped up full house daring to hope that we would get a deserved hard earned point from a game in which we had had to do a lot of running to win the ball,but to which we had contributed some fine football too.
United’s opener toward the end of the first half came from a corner,a brilliant improvised header from Hernandez which left our defence flat footed.The late winner was notched from close in by the same player after a series of one two’s between Berbertov and others around the edge of our penalty box.Two years ago we would have knocked him over,before the final ball was played in,and taken our chances with the free kick. The man who would might well have intervened as he does so often breaking moves up, Dean Whitehead, was missing yesterday,and it showed at times.
Talking of breaking things up......Gary Neville.....he knew Ethers had the beating of him...his nasty first foul earned him a yellow card, when a red might have been more appropriate. His second foul, which was not a great deal prettier but brought no sanction.As everyone around commented.....if he’d been a Stoke player he would have been sent off. But there you are....
C’est la vie!!
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Sunday, October 03, 2010
STOKE CITY FC 1 BLACKBURN ROVERS 0
A very pleasant afternoon weatherwise in the Potteries,with not quite a full house at The Brit.Still over 25,000, but with a very small Blackburn contingent numbering around 500 against their allocation of 2000.
One or two changes in personnel for the Potters from last week's successful outing.Abdy Faye in for Wilko,accomplished by Huth moving to left back;Delap into midfield for Whelan;and the biggest/best surprise the return of Jermaine Pennant for Salif Diao on the right side of midfield.
Two big sides,evenly matched in most respects.The media anticipated heavy duty slugging fest did not materialise.Sure there were the aerial bombardments in both boxes with the usual thrills and spills,but both teams played some very tidy football at times.
Stoke continued their current practice of hitting the woodwork several times rather than the net,and drew excellent saves from ex-England keeper Robinson.Halftime saw the game nicely balanced at 0-0. First time this season for us!
The Potters got off to a flyer in the second half.A defensive clearance was nodded on and down by Kenwyne Jones (who gave big centreback Samba a busy afternoon,with honours just about even) to Etherington,who played the ball through Samba's legs to Walters speeding up on his right.The striker faced by the advancing Robinson finished as cool as you like slotting the ball into the right hand corner of the Blackburn net,his first goal for Stoke in the Prem.
Stoke continued to press with Etherington and Pennant prominent with there respective brands of magic to unsettle the Blackburn rearguard.Ethers had three chances,one he should have buried,the last coming from a beautiful Pennant cross.He struck the ball well,a goal looked a certainty until Robinson stuck up an arm to deflect the ball away to safety.A brilliant save in the end.
In the dying minutes Blackburn pushed Samba upfront and were able to cause one or two alarms for us,but at the final whistle the three points were ours....and a move up to a heady 7th place in the table.
It was good to see Ricardo Fuller back on the field so soon after his shoulder dislocation.Rory Delap had a better game.Dean Whitehead was just about everywhere on the pitch and had a storming game.
One word about Robinson.....no doubt about it yesterday he looked to be a keeper of the highest quality,producing some superb saves to keep his team in contention.