2016 - 2017

2016 - 2017

Monday, January 24, 2011



We took six points from The Cottagers last season,none this.The Stokie wrist slashers have been out in force this weekend on the messageboards.All manner of advice for the manager.....if he's listening (or reading!).Fulham got off to a flier in the last match.Stoke could have in this one,had Ryan Shawcross netted Etherington's fine cross early doors.Similarly things could have been different had Kenwyne Jones' piledriver gone in off the post instead of rebounding away to safety.

It could be argued that the injury Higginbotham suffered at Cardiff cost us today,because replacement Danny Collins was led a merry dance by winger Duff.Fulham's first goal was worked down the left side with Johnson getting in behind our defence and cutting the ball back for Dempsey to net from close range on 33 minutes.To me,to shift all the blame onto Collins would be unfair.There were plenty of defenders about,but Johnson was given too much space.

After a bright start our performance as a TEAM was, in the manager's word, FLAT.Any rejigging at halftime, with a view to getting back into the game, was undermined on 53 minutes when Ryan Shawcross was dismissed for a tangle with Dempsey in front of goal as the striker prepared to shoot.Dempsey netted the penalty sending Begovic the wrong way.

The rest of the game was an exercise in damage limitation as far as Stoke were concerned.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011



A whole new experience sitting watching this match on "Reading Brian's" 42" inch TV screen. S4C offered us live coverage of the whole match.Nice bottle of Chianti followed by Hungarian Merlot ensured that the occasionally excited commentary in Welsh (was that squeaky voice Jonathan Davies moonlighting from the Beeb?) receded into the background.No English subtitles.....was someone at The Sentinel pulling our legs? John Hartson fluently (we presume) summarising the highlights in Welsh.Chocolate labrador licking my left hand....very friendly or something there of real interest (residue from poppadom flavoured Pringles perhaps).Great company,great conversation.....and the match?

Well ,Stoke Reserves pitched up in the Principality played Cardiff Reserves and duly delivered a place in the Cwpan FA 4th Round.A stalemate through virtually the entirety of the 90 minutes,from a Stoke point of view the game burst into life at the start of extra time.

Two minutes in Walters at the near post got his head to Tonge's fine cornerkick from the left.The ball flew into the net past keeper Heaton who perhaps should have done better.Jon Walters netted his second on 115 minutes.Having forced his way to the byeline his first shot was beaten away by the Cardiff keeper.The ball found its way to our striker again.From a very tight angle he drove the ball along the ground into the net.Game over.

Wolves hammered Doncaster 5-0  so its off to Molineux next.

Sunday, January 16, 2011



Stoke took this game by the scruff of the neck,at no stage letting go,despite some occasionally penetrative moves from the visitors.The whole game was played in very strong winds which appeared to be blowing the length of the pitch toward the Boothen Stand.This accompanied by a few rain squalls made playing football extremely difficult,but particularly so for defenders who had to improvise or adjust for clearances as the ball held up in the wind.This made for hairy moments.

Ricardo Fuller was unavailable for family reasons,his place being taken by Tuncay,who in turn was featuring from the off for the third game in a row.Quite a run for him.He took the chance with both hands,linking well with strike partner Kenwyne Jones,popping up all over the pitch tormenting the Bolton team with his energy,pace, and impish skills.He was even seen at one point in the second half filling in at fullback for Wilkinson ,who had ventured upfield.TP must have been proud of him at that moment.

We had to wait until the 37th minute for the opener.Tuncay took a corner from the left in front of the South Stand.It caught a little in the wind before dropping to Higginbotham who gleefully bundled the ball  just over the line (to the satisfaction of  Ref Oliver to our great relief - Oliver had earlier busied himself affording excessive protection to the visiting keeper).

The second goal on 63 minutes owed much to Tuncay's well timed pass.Picking up a defensive clearance from Huth, he carried the ball forward from centre field to the right,heading at the heart of the Bolton defence. The Turk was overtaken by Etherington..He pushed the ball through ,Ethers received and headed into the penalty box at full speed.Much too pacey for  Zat Knight,the centreback was inevitably drawn into a poor challenge.The winger took the resultant penalty himself,placing his effort to the right,just managing to find the net,despite Jaaskelainen finger tipping the ball onto the post.

Stoke move up to 8th in the table again, with a very respectable 30 points.No signs of complacency from our manager in his post match interviews though.Quite right too.

A cynic would suggest that the way Stoke were set up today,with Wilson joining Delap and Whitehead in midfield, afforded Tuncay the freedom to do his own thing, with a view to putting him firmly in the shop window.On today's evidence it would be a considerable loss to us if he did indeed move on.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011



Stoke’s previous two visits to the ‘Theatre of Dreams’had seen a total of 9 goals conceded without reply.It was no great surprise, therefore, that The Potters proceeded with caution,though this time less in the way of trepidation. Manager Tony Pulis opted for a 5 man midfield, with Kenwyne Jones ploughing a loan furrow upfront.

United made several changes for this match, notably leaving Rooney and Ferdinand out. Any suggestion that this was a weaker side than that which faced West Bromwich at the weekend should be refuted. United have a squad with strength in depth, and certainly the Mexican striker Hernandez, Rooney’s replacement,is having a better season than the scouser, if their respective goal tallies are anything to go by.

Sitting at the back of the North Stand offers a view not dissimilar to that of a Subutteo table, the players tiny and far below. That said, Old Trafford is a magnificent arena.

Stoke managed to contain and largely negate and frustrate the home team until the 27th minute, when Nani’s ball across the Stoke goal reached Hernandez adjacent to Begovic’s left goal post. As Ryan Shawcross put in a challenge the striker cleverly and cheekily backheeled the ball between the defenders legs, through the small gap between keeper and post into the net.

We started the second half in much more positive mood, and it came as a pleasant surprise, when a cross from Tuncay on the left was headed home by Whitehead for an equaliser (50 mins).Immediately United upped the ante, whilst Stoke seemed unable to build on this success.Twelve minutes later a ball from Henandez  on the left found Nani to the right of goal just outside the box.Danny Collins had the chance to challenge but did not dive in, the winger taking the opportunity to curl a finely executed left foot shot well beyond Begovic’s dive, and into the net for the winner.

Stoke increased their attacking efforts, particularly in the closing minutes, but could not find a way through.
This time then it was a much more respectable score, but still no points taken from United since we returned to the top division.

Monday, January 03, 2011



Some change around in just a couple of days.Against Fulham Stoke treated us to a lethargic start,and a fitful performance.Facing a good Everton side we were strong from the off,the old Stoke,never allowing our visitors to settle on the ball,organised under pressure,and this time taking the chances that came our way.

Kenwyne Jones looked back to his lively best again,especially teamed from the start with Ricardo Fuller.Our Jamaican ace was a constant thorn in Everton's side,unsettling and upsetting them time and again.The mystery was how he failed to notch a hattrick.On several occasions he manoeuvred himself into dangerous positions only for his final touch to let him down,or to drag his shot wide  of goal.

Danny Higginbotham deputised ably for the suspended Huth,getting in goal saving blocks,the most notable being right on halftime when he deflected Pienaar's goal bound shot up and over the crossbar.The back four as a whole,well marshalled by captain Ryan Shawcross, hardly put a foot wrong.Delap and Whitehead  worked tirelessly back and to in the midfield.

Neither Pennant nor Etherington were as electric as we know they can be.But Ethers did manage one really telling contribution.He wriggled between two defenders out on the left before putting in a delightful cross which Jones headed home for our opener (23 mins).

We had to wait until the 69th minute for our second goal.Jones headed a long ball on hopefully.Fuller challenged for the ball,sufficiently pressuring defender Jagielka that he played the ball into the roof of his own net from just a few yards out.

Stoke then set about protecting the lead,securing an excellent result,which saw us move up to 8th in the table.