2016 - 2017

2016 - 2017

Sunday, September 26, 2010

PULIS'S GRITTY POTTERS TAKE THE SPOILS.....


NEWCASTLE UNITED 1 STOKE CITY FC 2

The reception from Les Geordies suggested that they felt this match was against  rival neighbours Sunderland's reserves,particularly they laid into Kenwyne Jones,and Rory Delap when he came on in  the second half.Sorensen's kicking in the first half was consistently wayward,and you had to wonder if he had history and former connections weighing on his mind.

Tony Pulis set out his team to ensure that we gave nothing away,in consequence it was not particularly adventurous,there being no real surprise that we were pinned back in our own half for the first 45 minutes,with Newcastle having the bulk of the possession.His back four saw a repeat of the lineup from Tuesday, the exception being Collins in for Higginbotham .No room for Abdy Faye returning to his old club. Salif Diao was retained in midfield to partner Whelan with Etherington and Whitehead on the flanks.Walters supported Jones up front.

The first half saw plenty of huffing and puffing,with neat moves, but no end product until Huth was adjudged to have brought down Carrol just before the break,with the ball about to make its way harmlessly to Sorensen.The resultant penalty was converted by Nolan,to put the home side in front,deservedly on the balance of play.

The second half, in its very early stage seemed to be going the same way as the first,which prompted the manager to make changes.Ricardo Fuller,on for Diao (50 mins),certainly livened things up,and Delap for Whelan (57 mins),increased Stoke's attacking options.Pressure was brought to bear on the home defence,with Jones,Etherington, and Fuller all looking dangerous.Jones headed against a post,and Fuller's follow up shot went wide of the post.Then Jones headed against the bar,causing him to wonder whether it was going to be his day,if the rueful smile was anything to go by.

Around the 67th minute Fuller fell awkwardly onto his shoulder, fouled as he cut between two defenders.He was replaced by Eidur Gudjohnsen.Etherington took the freekick, flighting the ball to the far post where Huth headed back across goal for Kenwyne Jones to head firmly into the net,the equaliser,and his fourth goal in four games.

Stoke edged in front on 85 minutes.This time Etherington's corner from the left looked likely to reach the inrushing Huth. It didn't because Perch, in trying to clear, headed firmly into his own net.

Newcastle had chances in the last 5 minutes plus the 6 minutes of added on time,but were unable to convert any,as Stoke stuck gamely to their task,enjoying just a little luck in the process.

Three points then,and 14th in the table....a good days work! Looks as though Ricardo Fuller may be missing for a few weeks with what might well be a dislocated shoulder.To compensate his replacement  Gudjohnsen showed one or two nice touches as he moves toward full fitness.

Now Tony Pulis has been saying that Kenwyne Jones can get better.....he's not the finished article....can't wait !!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

CARLING CUP ROUND 4 HERE WE COME....

STOKE CITY FC 2 FULHAM 0

Stoke comfortably eased past fellow Premiership travellers Fulham at The Brit in front of a very respectable 12,778 fans.It is surely a sign of the times and the strength of the squad that Tony Pulis was able to make SEVEN changes to Mark Hughes ONE to the teams fielded for last Saturday's league matches.

Among the pleasant surprises was the situation with regard to two of the three players apparently seriously injured against West Ham.Kenwyne Jones was fit to play with Jon Walters on the bench. Tuncay came into the team on the left side with Matty Etherington switching to the right.Ricardo Fuller partnered Jones. It was interesting to see Salif Diao reappear in midfield.



A goal in each half saw off the Fulham challenge.On 23 minutes Etherington's pacey corner from the right seemed to clear everyone bar Higginbotham whose powerful header from 6 yards out found the net to set us on our way.On 67 minutes Delap came on for Diao who had had an excellent game,outshining midfield partner Whelan,who,it has to be said,was again looking somewhat out of sorts and off the pace in the first half (though much improved in the second).With 12 minutes to go,and with Fulham just having mounted a late challenge,Kenwyne Jones met a Delap long throw to head in,his third goal in three consecutive matches,to put Stoke through.

With 7 minutes to go Tuncay was replaced by Pugh.The Turk had certainly made his mark with a busy performance. It remains to be seen whether this will bring him into contention for Sunday's match at Newcastle United,if Pennant is not over his hamstring strain.

Our first clean sheet of the season,a remodelled back four of Wilkinson,Shawcross,Huth, and Higginbotham that looked solid (not putting a foot wrong until Wilko's rash heavy challenge on Dembele in added on time.Yellow card but he was lucky not to get sent off.) Some pleasing attractive football from The Potters at times,and much the best side on the night.

STOKE TEAM:

Begovic, Huth, Wilkinson, Higginbotham, Shawcross, Whelan, Tuncay (Pugh, 83 ) , Etherington, Diao (Delap, 68 ) , Fuller (Walters, 75 ) , Jones

Subs not used: Tonge,Gudjohnsen,Soares,Sorensen,


Monday, September 20, 2010

NEVER TAKE A RESULT FOR GRANTED

STOKE CITY FC  1 WEST HAM UNITED 1

It may have been a reaction to Monday night's heroics, or it may be that subconsciously some were feeling that we just had to turn up to collect the points.Whatever, several players were distinctly below par in the first half on Saturday. We contrived to make a poor West ham side look better than they actually are.

Once again we fell behind, again to a goal which had an element of farce about it.A West Ham freekick  just in from the corner flag caused mayhem in our goalmouth.Rory Delap,on the goal line ,put in a clearing kick,only to see the ball, for the second time this season strike the unfortunate Ryan Shawcross in the face in a crucial area,deflect across goal to Scott Parker,who hooked the ball into the net.The Hammers and their fans could scarcely believe their luck.For our part we had none....well not much anyway.Sure Piquionne hit our bar with keeper Sorensen well beaten,but so too a less than confident Green in the West Ham goal fumbled early and could only watch as Huth's resultant effort struck his post to rebound away.

The second half saw Stoke in charge. Just after the restart Walters played a ball down the right to Pennant.Although he was at full pace to catch the ball,he produced a wonderful cross which Kenwyne Jones had no trouble heading in for a splendid equaliser.Stoke then turned up the gas further.Jones it was again, leaving Upson in his wake as he cut in from the left.His brilliant  shot across goal was heading for the net until the flying Green managed to get finger tips to it,the ball deflecting onto the post and away.Another effort by sub Ricardo Fuller came back off the bar with the West Ham players beaten.

Stoke had enough chances to win the game......a good sign with our forward players looking really dangerous at times.....and on another day might have scored four!

The downside? Three key new forward players picked up injuries.Kenwynne Jones has a groin strain,Jon Walters an ankle problem,and the influential Jermaine Pennant has a hamstring problem.

The upside? For me, a much better showing in the second half,four points on the board for the week, which we would probably have taken last Sunday night!The other two would have made quite a difference in terms of position in the league table,but then its early days.

Eidur Gudjohnsen did come on to a tremendous reception from the crowd,though he clearly has some way to go on the fitness (and weight?)front,before he's up to speed.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

THEN.....

STOKE CITY FC 2 ASTON VILLA 1

Have to confess that I approached the Brit with some trepidation on Monday night,for some reason feeling that the best we would do would be a draw.No points,second from bottom.The side that was selected had something of the safety first about it.

We started brightly enough with Kenwyne Jones looking a real handful on his home debut.A superb volley from distance had Friedel hurriedly palming the ball away...he should have done better when put clear by new boy Marc Wilso's sublime sliderule pass.Other chances from set pieces were headed over or around the woodwork.

Gradually Villa took hold of the match,although it was still something of a surprise when Downing headed them into the lead.

It did not look good as Villa missed out on two further golden opportunities to put the match beyond our reach.Ashley Young missed with an easy header, and a  grubber cross again from Ashley Young fizzed along our goaline and away to safety....that would have been the missing Carew's tap in chance for his customary goal against us!!

THEN ........the man we thought would be missing the game because of close family bereavement appeared along the touchline....dressed for action.

I have been following Stoke for a long time,and I cannot think of a more spontaneously  emotional moment than this one.A virtually full ground rising as one to clap and cheer the inestimable Tony Pulis!!

Uplifting,indeed.The whole atmosphere in the ground changed...a remarkable experience for those who were lucky enough to be there.

Substitutions followed ,the flow of the game changed,as The Mighty Potters ratcheted up the pressure on Villa.Stoke began to weave patterns of their own.Ten minutes from time Dean Whitehead did well to retain the ball on the Villa byline.His ball to Pennant was intelligently played across to Etherington. Interplay between Fuller and Etherington saw the latter put in a low trajectory cross which Kenwyne Jones netted with aplomb.

Fans around were settling for a draw,although the players clearly were not.In the last of the 3 minutes of added on time Jermaine Pennant won a free kick on the right.His cross arrowed to the heart of the Villa penalty area....eventually found its way to Matty Etherington....his left foot effort was diverted by Robert Huth beyond Friedel into the corner of the net.Cue serious celebration on and off the pitch......

The latest of late winners....season up and running....on what I can only describe as a very special night at the Brit!!

 


NEW SEASON BUT THE USUAL BUZZ WENT AWOL.....THEN....

Returning from holiday on the opening day of the season.......2½ hours of stop, start,crawl on one section of the M25 meant that we were still on the M40 as the Wolves match was played out.

Impressive indeed that we had paid £8m for Kenwyne Jones, that he had looked dangerous hitting the bar with one effort in this opening fixture,only to be clogged off injured by Jody Craddock's follow through tackle.

Beaten eventually by David Jones incredibly skillful freekick....the like of which he will probably never repeat.  2-1!

Get the season ticket out,the following week,trek off to The Brit,to witness the Gareth Bale Show with supporting cast.He scores one goal without knowing much about it,Ryan's attempted clearance,striking him in the face and rebounding into our net.For the second week running we concede a wonder goal,Bale's spectacular volley leaving Sorro with no chance.The supporting cast.....Chris Foy (I think it was......but I couldn't see clearly myself) as the blind referee.....ball definitely over the line for an equaliser but only 27,500 people saw it.One,the decision maker,missed it!! 1-2!

Off to Chelsea less confident than we would like to have been....a solid showing though,much better than our previous visit....still in it as a contest, Whelan hits a belter from distance,beats Cech all ends up,but the ball goes clear after striking the bar.... 2-0!

Three matches three defeats in the Prem (although we did manage to see off Shrewsbury in the Carling Cup)......the international break was probably fortuitously timed for us.Closing transfer window provided something of a lift.......quality added to the squad,with a list of names going in the opposite direction,some permanently some on loan.

THEN.....