2016 - 2017

2016 - 2017

Wednesday, April 27, 2011



If you believe what you are told then this result gives us another year in the Premier League and possibly European football too .Romping  up to 9th in the table with 42 points there would have to be a bizarre sequence of results to see us relegated (West Ham were the last to go down with that points total.).

There was absolutely no doubt Stoke wanted this one.No one epitomised that more than Man of the Match Jermaine Pennant.Kenwynne Jones set him free down the right.Pennant's superb mid height cross under pressure from two defenders was headed home by Jones from close range for the opener.

Forever probing a poor Wolves defence Pennant bagged the final  goal himself early in the second half.Walters crossed from the right,the ball found Pennant on the left side of the penalty area.He hammered a shot on goal,which Craddock attempted to block,but the ball looped up into the air, over the stranded keeper Henessey and into the net.

Sandwiched between those goals, towards the end of the first half, Ryan Shawcross netted for the first time this season.From a central position just outside the Wolves box Glen Whelan attempted one of his trademark thunderbolt low shots.He may have miscued but the ball shot left, reaching our captain six yards out.He had little trouble diverting the ball firmly into the net.

It has to be said that by the end Wolves were looking a pretty poor outfit,but still with enough points to play for to beat the drop.

Happy as we were with the outcome,there has to be real concern about Matty Etherington.He went down with what appeared to be a hamstring problem,to be stretchered off in what looked like considerable pain.His body language suggested he knew that this was a serious injury.On last night's evidence there must be real doubts that he will make the Cup Final, which would be a real pity.

So in a sense pressure off for our visit to the seaside on Saturday.Somehow,though,I think Stoke will be going for it against Blackpool....six points needed to better last season's total!

Sunday, April 24, 2011



Another point closer to safety,the safety cushion to the bottom three is still five points,another fine headed goal for Kenwynne Jones,no 8th consecutive away loss, and a first half performance that was of a high standard until we tired noticeably,against a Villa side that has been doing rather better of late.Another netbuster of a shot from Robert Huth,which Brad Friedel had all on to parry away as he did with an earlier Jones effort.Our German star has clearly developed a taste for goal scoring,I wonder if he's aiming to be the club's leading scorer come the end of the season.

Bring on the Wolves.Hopefully a good result will put our worries to bed for another season!

Monday, April 18, 2011




Pinched myself again this morning to make sure I was awake,and not just having one of those footy dreams,where Stoke win everything and Arsenal get relegated.(Been having them off and on since 1971,1972.)This result took most of the pundits by surprise.Even at halftime with The Mighty Potters 3-0 up Kevin Keegan was talking about  Bolton recovering to win 4 - 3!

Now I've always had Robbie Savage down as one of the awkward squad.True to form yesterday he was predicting a Stoke win in the face of  the unanimous view of the other experts that it would be close but it would be Bolton's day.

He ignored the attempted put downs,and didn't he have fun in the end reminding his colleagues of their predictions.Loved every minute of it,he did,and so did I.

The experts found it impossible to take the edge off this superb Stoke victory.They tried.Still talking about route one unattractive football......didn't see much of that myself yesterday.Still looking for imagined penalties,with Stoke players roughing up their cultured counterparts.....well ref Howard Webb ( what a class performance from him too) was having none of that.Then it was the line 'Bolton were poor'........Sorry but they were played out of it.....

Anyway I stopped listening and disappeared into my Stokie bubble.On the day Bolton were outclassed,by a determined team which clearly took real pleasure in proving people wrong.Etherington's sublime opening strike,Huth's scuff (looked a pretty good scuff to me),Kenwyne Jones's Caribbean cool finish,the immaculate Jon Walters first ( 'the keeper should have done better'they said....no he couldn't....a brilliant shot from distance which curled around the keeper's full length dive to pass just inside the post.....they would have been in raptures on another day if the scorer was Torres or Drogba....but today it was a misjudgement by the keeper!),Walters second a scruffy affair past demoralised Bolton defenders,but they all count the same.

5 - 0....a rout.....highest semi final score for nearly a century....Gollihocks to the pundits.....more strength to Robbie's elbow.....and he's Welsh too!

Monday, April 11, 2011



Stoke were set up for this match as many people expect them to play against Bolton in the FA Cup semi-final next week..Pennant and Etherington down the flanks providing a service to Kenwyne Jones and Walters,a midfield featuring Delap and Whelan,with Huth and Shawcross paired centrally at the back.Higginbotham's absence was covered by switching Marc Wilson to the left,to allow Andy Wilkinson to play in his customary right back position..

Following an almost habitual slow start we could have been out of it within 20 minutes,2-0 down,through Crouch and Moderic, and the home team having failed to cash in on other chances.

Then a flash of genius from ex-Spurs man Etherington,clearly determined to show what they had lost.He picked up the ball in our half on the left,motored down the wing pursued by Huddlestone,cut around the outside of him as they entered the penalty area,drew and nutmegged the keeper, before sliding the ball into the far side of the net.

Yes we then lost another softish goal to Crouch before the next helping of good news.KENWYNE SCORES....AGAIN....AT LAST!!! So pleased for him,he's clearly been trying so hard, but things have just not been happening for him.Well on this occasion Bale was dallying on the ball,not a good idea with a very determined looking Wilkinson approaching at speed.No contest.....Welshman loses ball,which breaks conveniently to Jones.Kenwyne headed directly toward goal before smacking an unstoppable shot into the top right corner of the net from twenty yards out.

So you could say, summarising the half,Stoke outplayed but very much in it.

As with Chelsea last week Stoke gathered momentum as they pushed further up the field.Jon Walters had one golden opportunity but was unable to make anything of what seemed like an open goal equalizer chance.Not sure that the ball did not go off his thigh and onto the post,with Gomez nowhere in sight.Kenwyne hit another twenty yarder,which the keeper got a hand to,plus he placed a header wide,a chance he would definitely have netted earlier in the season.

So no points,still 6 points off the drop,and a performance, in the end,which would have seen off lesser sides than Spurs.

Sunday, April 03, 2011



Chelsea are not the team they were,but they are still very very good.Loaded with skilful,clever players,they came to us on the back of a good run of form.

Stoke took the lead after 8 minutes or so....a solo effort by the ever improving and hugely influential Jon Walters.He picked up the ball on the left,headed down the touchline leaving Ruiz trailing.It looked as though Essien would get to him just inside the penalty area,but Walters wrong footed him by cutting inside.His thumping finish beat Cech at his near post,to signal an outbreak of delirium in the Stokie crowd.

Thereafter for much of the remainder of the half Stoke were penned back by the visitors.Chelsea probed but could find no way through the determined Stoke rearguard,until Anelka,in centre midfield,clipped a ball into our box.Drogba stole a yard on Danny Higginbotham,sufficient space to allow him to place an imperious header past the  helpless Begovic.

What was already an entertaining match,became a thriller in the second half.Stoke made a shed load of chances  but simply could not finish them off.Wilson's freekick was a goal all the way until Cech tipped it onto the bar.From the corner the keeper performed miracles scooping Huth's powerful point blank header onto the bar,and away to safety.At the death,seconds from the end of the 6 minutes of added time with the full goal at his mercy Ricardo Fuller contrived to head Etherington's astute cross beyond the far post.Had he netted that,just imagine the 'mentals' !

Chelsea had their chances too.Drogba in particular was dangerous striking the base of the Stoke post with a cross shot, and crashing a left foot shot against the bar.

Chelsea fielded a very strong first pick team as they searched for the 3 points to keep them in the title race.What struck me was that,particularly in the second half,was that they were unable to play within themselves (with a view to their upcoming  European  match),but simply had all on to keep out a very determined Stoke outfit.

A draw was on balance a fair result,but if either team deserved to take all the spoils then it would have to be Stoke.

So we edge a point closer to safety,a point many would concede - before the match - would be a bonus.What we have proved is that ,certainly at home we can live with the big spenders.Stoke team yesterday,say £50m,Chelsea striker Torres on the bench £50m.......and not very effective when he came on either! Get the distinct impression he does not like The Potteries!

A full house at The Brit,a magnificent atmosphere and support from beginning to end,and,well,some of the chants were superbly timed , priceless, and certainly contributed to ruffling the visitors feathers.