STOKE CITY FC 3 SUNDERLAND 2
I certainly warmed to Gary Lineker on Match of the Day last night having watched the game at the Britannia Stadium earlier. Stoke produced a scintillating lateshow Houdini act to take all three points from a more than useful Sunderland outfit.
“Proper goals” (all three Stoke scores)netted from “a combined yardage of six yards”, he said! Appreciation from one who knows just a little bit about scoring goals, scruffy or otherwise, but a comment sure to cause a grinding of teeth in soccer purist Baggie fan Adrian Chiles.Welcome appreciation from Shearer and Lawrenson too.
The game was a cracker, Stoke twice giving the visitors a helping hand. Given the awful weather conditions, heavy rain and swirling wind, they played some excellent football going forward, crisp passing, keeping the ball on the ground and to feet. Richardson put them a goal up on 2 minutes, with Gyan restoring their lead only 3 minutes into the second half.
You had the feeling though that their weakness lay in defence. Having fallen behind so early in the first half Stoke steadily built up pressure, and deservedly equalised in the 32nd minute. Delap threw long into the heart of the Sunderland penalty area.From the ensuing melee the ball rose into the air, and as it fell Huth challenged. With the ball heading goalwards Carew managed a balletic toe poke to secure the equaliser.
It looked as though he had bagged our second equaliser heading in a Pennant freekick on 82 minutes. The goal was eventually credited to Huth. Stoke pressed hard for a winner.Two minutes into added on time Whitehead was fouled out on the left. Jermaine Pennant’s superb free kick cleared the cluster of players in the Sunderland box ,dropping invitingly to Huth running in behind them from the right. The German found the net with aplomb.Cue serious celebration amongst the players and the home faithful.
With other teams below us winning games recently this win was vital to us. Three points lifts us into 9th spot in the table.
A splendid never say die team effort. Carew looks as though he could be very good for us. Etherington twinkled occasionally, but yesterday it was Jermaine Pennant who caught the eye. His corners and freekicks were a constant threat, he seemed to pop up everywhere on the pitch, and was involved in much intelligent link play.