2016 - 2017

2016 - 2017

Saturday, March 19, 2011



This was Stoke getting back to some of their best football of the season.For the most part we looked really solid at the back, but most pleasingly with the quality of Pennant AND Etherington down the right and left flanks we rediscovered a real cutting edge.

Walters continues to be a revelation. There have been those who, right from the outset, have pronounced him not up to Premiership standard. Those who can’t understand why he gets picked every match. Well I think they need to take a closer more objective view of what he brings to the team. Yesterday, as in last week’s Cup match, he was everywhere about the pitch, unsettling Newcastle players and closing them down when they had the ball, linking play as we went forward. Now it might be my imagination but he seems to have got quicker, and that plus the knack of being in the right place at the right time, brought our crucial opener in this vital match.

Jermaine Pennant was set free down the right side, immediately delivered a delightful cross, which the incoming Walters met at the near post to head powerfully into the net past Harper.

Kenwynne Jones did not find the net himself but worked hard for the team. Just after the break he won the ball from keeper Harper on the edge of the penalty box, and rolled the ball left to Etherington. He took off toward the byline .His cross from the left reached Pennant coming in from the right. From the edge of the six yard box he placed his shot to Harpers left into the net.

Next KJ won a freekick on the edge of the box, from which Higginbotham repeated his West Ham trick,thumping the ball through the wall into the net.

So within four minutes of the restart a three goal cushion, which we fought hard to protect. Asmir Begovic has had one or two uncertain moments in recent games, but today his performance was immaculate with, particularly memorable, one superb diving save from Barton’s goalbound freekick from the edge of the box.

The icing on the cake, for me, was the fourth goal just before the final whistle in added on time. Ricardo Fuller has looked out of sorts for a good while now, the instinctive approach to striking somehow mysteriously disappeared. Well our super sub rediscovered his mojo. Set free on goal by Walters ,running in from the right, he hammered the ball across the keeper into the far corner of the net....just like he used to!!!

A brilliant result, which put a little more daylight between us and the bottom three places. But maybe still just a little too close for comfort.

Just wondering like, but could next week see us getting something from Chelsea?

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