STOKE CITY FC 3 BIRMINGHAM 2
Stoke bossed this game for a good 60 minutes or more,then got an attack of the jitters,allowed the Brummies back in,and at the death were fortunate to take all three points, to finally break that disheartening losing run.
Ref Clattenburg's performance was impeccable.
Stoke's opener was thumped into the net by captain Robert Huth,who throughout looked every inch the part.A 1-0 lead at halftime was doubled by Ricardo Fuller's superlative effort,beating a man out on the right wing,haring off toward the penalty box,before unleashing a tremendous left foot shot which curled wonderfully into the net giving ex-Stokie keeper Foster absolutely no chance.
The crowd's delirious celebration was a mixture of relief and elation....that goal would would bring us the much needed points.It also reflected the fact that seconds before Ricardo's stunner our goal mouth had resembled the Alamo,plentiful shots,blocks,posts,as the ball pinged around fortunately without actually finding our net.
As we inexplicably dropped back Birmingham began to look more threatening,driven on by sub Fahey.Within two minutes we moved from elation to despair as Fahey and Jerome brought the score back to 2-2.The Brit was stunned into graveyard silence.Hundreds got up and left....muttering to themselves.Only one side looked likely to win,and it wasn't us.Our resident undertaker,however had other ideas.Dean Whitehead had had his customary all action game.He ran through on the visitors goal,the ball reached him via Etherington and Fuller,he tangled, on the floor, with Foster and a defender,and unbelievably the ball squirted up and out of the melee,and bobbled into the net.
The winner!!!Birmingham visibly deflated and did not really show again in the remaining minutes.
The winner!!! On the evidence of the Everton match Lee Probert would definitely have disallowed it,there was even less contact between the unlucky Tuncay and Baines for the disallowed goal that day.On another day Mark Clattenburg might have done.You can't help but think that the insistent, continuous, universal media view since the weekend (MOTD,SKY, the papers,et alia)that Stoke really were not getting a fair crack,might have impacted/resonated.
We have a manager who has the courage of his own convictions,and is not afraid to say what he thinks.Certainly he was not afraid to shine the spotlight where it was most needed.....when it was most needed.
More strength to his elbow!