2016 - 2017

2016 - 2017

Sunday, November 28, 2010

TALE OF TWO CITIES

STOKE CITY FC 1 MANCHESTER CITY 1


Yet another good game of football,with The Potters every bit a match for their expensively assembled visitors.Man City were outplayed by Stoke for a large part of the first half,in which frankly a few of their players gave the impression that they wished they were somewhere else doing something else!Certainly Stoke were in their faces and they did not fancy it.Our pressure was not just physical,but involved some tidy footballing moves,featuring particularly the attacking duo,Ricardo Fuller and Kenwyne Jones,aided and abetted by the superb Pennant and Etherington.


Stoke should have been a goal or two up by halftime,Ricardo Fuller missing the best chance as a fine backheel by Jones set him free one on one with keeper Joe Hart.Unfortunately the Jamaican screwed the ball ouside the righthand post.


Manchester started the second half more strongly,the Potters having to hang on doggedly at times.The game seemed to be drifting to a goalless conclusion,when ten minutes from the end Micah Richards sold Collins an outrageous dummy on the edge of the box,took a step forward,before driving the ball powerfully past Begovic into the net.


The visitors then set about retaining the ball,and to be honest successfully for the most part.An undeserved defeat looked the most likely result as we moved into added on time.Then a touch of Turkish magic  unlocked the door.A long Begovic punt upfield was headed down  by Kenwyne Jones to his new central partner Tuncay standing on the edge of the penalty box.The Turk's clever diagonal backheel  to the left found Etherington.Hart got a hand to Ethers cross-shot,but couldn't stop it entering the net.A brilliantly worked goal and richly deserved equaliser.


20 points from 15 games ,8th in the table.Not bad for the end of November.Plus,if you knew neither team,on yesterday's evidence you would have to say that the Mighty Potters expenditure on players looked to be better value for money than their rich list visitors.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

"WE ALWAYS BEAT WEST BROM"

WEST BROMWICH ALBION 0 STOKE CITY FC 3


You have to wonder what it is about Stoke City versus West Bromwich Albion....it’s so long since they beat us that no-one can remember. Many people expressed the fear over the last week that this was a different Baggies setup, that we would not be gifted the points as in days gone by. Yet Stoke pitched up at The Hawthorns, didn’t play at all well, and duly came away with all three points, and to boot three goals, which improved our goal difference to 0!Add to that rising to a dizzying 8th in the Prem, all in all this was a good day. The only concern was Jermaine Pennant leaving the fray early on with a hamstring problem.


The first half was largely forgettable with WBA the better team. Stoke took the lead through a debatable penalty. Keeper Carson came out to meet Kenwyne Jones as the striker tracked across the front edge of the penalty box. There was minimal – if any – contact. Kenwyne went down, Ref Foy made the award in our favour. Matty Etherington cooly slotted the penalty into the bottom right corner of the net. Carson guessed right but the accuracy of the kick beat his despairing dive.


West Bromwich tried to get back into the game, but without any luck at all. They found keeper Begovich in fine form, dealing well with the little he had to do. One point blank save was particularly fine,and brave too, diving as he did, in amongst flying boots as Ibanez looked odds on to score.


Sub Tuncay contributed to the second goal. Working down the left he played a clever ball into Whitehead who was charging down the left side of the penalty box, only to be bundled over by Cech as he attempted to collect the ball. Sub Walters made no mistake with the penalty placing it in the bottom right corner of the net again with Carson this time guessing wrong.


But the fun was not over. Walters won a throw in on the left. Delap’s throw reached Jones on the bye line to left of goal inside the penalty area. He drew in three defenders, outwitted them with a deft backheel to Walters. Carson saved the striker’s first effort brilliantly, but the ball ricocheted back to Walters off a defenders leg. He drove his second effort firmly into the roof of the net.

PS What's with the sudden appearance amongst the players of beards and moustaches? 


Sunday, November 14, 2010

JOB'S A GOOD 'UN

STOKE CITY FC 2 LIVERPOOL 0

Absolutely marvellous….what a difference a week makes! After Tuesday’s fingernail chewing experience as the Potters struggled in the last 20 minutes to finish off Birmingham to claim the three points ,this match was a breeze!

Liverpool are not the team they were, so you could argue that if we were going to beat them for the first time in 27 years there would not be a better time.True enough but what we witnessed in this match was a Stoke team outplaying their once illustrious visitors throughout.

How things have changed in a few short years. How far we have moved from our first tentative inevitably defensive  steps in the Prem.Tony Pulis fielded an attack minded side here to take the game to Liverpool. Etherington,Pennant,Fuller, and Jones are all happiest going forward, neither is our central defensive pairing of Huth and Shawcross averse to roaming forward.Add to this emergence of  Whitehead from the defensive cage, and the relative youth and energy of Wilkinson.

Stoke had Liverpool on the backfoot from the start,and kept them there with an all action performance for the entire 90 minutes.It say something that Begovic had less saves to make than against Birmingham.I can only remember two. The first a full length dive to push away a low Gerrard drive from outside the box,the second from very close range from Maxi as he connected with Kuyt’s cut back from the byline.

Liverpool were never allowed to settle or the time and space to build from the back.Delap and Whitehead between them effectively shackled Gerrard. Service to Torres was snuffed out. As we pressed forward the Liverpool defence looked decidedly rocky.We had to wait until the second half or our goals.The first came from a Ricardo Fuller toe poke to conclude a goalmouth melee.The second,to wrap the match,saw Kenwyne Jones get back on the goal trail.An errant Gerrard pass forward was intercepted by Wilkinson,who  chested the ball forward to Jermaine Pennant.He ran a few yards forward before slipping a short pass to Jones, which took him between the Liverpool central defenders in on keeper Reina.Kenwyne cooly finished with style, his right foot shot past the advancing keeper, nestling in the corner of the net.Cue acrobatic celebrations on the pitch,and serious mentals in the crowd.No way back for the visitors.

Rory Delap has come in for some criticism recently some of it unfair.Over the last two matches ,playing in his favoured central midfield position, he has been super, getting about the pitch, breaking  up moves, making timely interceptions. Whitehead has been a revelation.He was absolutely everywhere,the oil in our machine,even shooting on sight! Etherington and Pennant were a constant intelligent attacking threat,and judging by the amount of scampering about they have 100% bought into the Pulis way of doing things,also taking their defensive responsibilities seriously.

So six points out of six, where most of us would happily have settled for four (maybe even two to break our losing streak!) just a week ago .A brief visit to the bottom three at five o’ clock, 10th in the table by seven thirty.Oh and a very welcome clean sheet too.

An impressive show indeed……wheel on the Baggies!


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

WELL THAT WAS LUCKY IN THE END

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!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

OH BY THE WAY.....WE PLAYED AT SUNDERLAND YESTERDAY

SUNDERLAND 2 STOKE CITY FC 0

Another massive dollop dropped on us in this game.....a first half in which we were not really at the races,and were lucky to still be in touch,a second half which promised more but ended in disappointing defeat.

Unmarked £13m striker Gyan was in the right place to tap home on 9 minutes after Begovic saved but could not hold the ball.We were kept in the game by our keeper ,who saved Malbranque's penalty effort after Walters was adjudged to have fouled Gyan.

Stoke looked much more likely after the break.Eventually mounting Stoke pressure saw Jones head Etherington's corner goalwards.The ball was probably over the line as Catermole handled TWICE.Ref Atkinson and his assistant saw none of this.No goal...no penalty.....no sending off..no equaliser.From the resultant corner Kenwyne Jones was unlucky again as his header was cleared off the line.

Much frustration amongst the Stoke players, a rash of bookings,including two for captain Ryan Shawcross,inevitably sent off,and to add insult to injury the 10 ten men conceded another goal to the excellent Gyan,this time from a fine drive following a poor clearance by Huth.

So we're outside the bottom three on goal difference only.Two home matches to come from which we need some return...to break the losing sequence,and the abysmal run of bad luck.

OFFICIAL'S KIT FOR TUESDAY NIGHT




PS SORRY SHOULD HAVE BEEN 3 PAIRS OF SPECS!

LUCKY CLOVER SOUGHT URGENTLY