2016 - 2017

2016 - 2017

Sunday, February 26, 2012



Stoke got down to business today,business as used to be usual.We registered our first win at home since mid December.scored two good goals in the first half,could have had more in the second,but importantly pressured our visitors ,most of the time disrupting their free flowing passing game.Perhaps this match represents the beginnings of a return to Fortress Britannia.

Manager Pulis is a canny fellow.The team that he put out,featured 11 changes from Thursday night in Valencia.Well rested they certainly were,with much energetic scampering about,far removed from some of the jaded lethargic looking efforts that we have witnessed of late.Its true to say that again we didn't really get any breaks,but what was different was that we didn't have any go against us.

Begovic,back in goal,had very little to do,apart from two telling interventions,one in each half.In the first half he came out fearlessly into a congested penalty box to punch a dangerous cross away imperiously, flooring a visiting striker into the bargain.Right at the end of the second a marvellous reflex save saw the ball deflect onto our bar and away to safety.

Wilkinson kept star flanker Sinclair very quiet,while Wilson had more of a struggle with the tricky Dyer on the right.Upson and Shawcross were solid at the centre of defence.Etherington is not the force that he was last season,for whatever reason,but his contributions from set plays are still vital.Today his cornerkick was headed home by Upson for our opener.

Crouch looked more comfortable than he has done recently,maybe something to do with the onset of clement weather.He notched the second,heading in from Shotton's long throw in.

Three vital points gained,and an end to a depressing run of results.We rise to 12th in the table,the lowest of four teams on 33 points,on goal difference.

Monday, February 13, 2012



Now you would be forgiven for thinking that at the moment our great ship,our galleon, is not moving forward at speed.But you would be right.Flat seas,and little wind in our sails,just about sums things up....we are becalmed on 30 points!! Our Captain has not seemed as buoyant, of late, in his after match comments, seeming to be at something of a loss to explain our current situation.

But the Titanic we are not.

By the way Stoke played Fulham.Their new Russian signing Pogrebnyak netted superbly on his debut to give the Cottagers the lead on 16 minutes,but if there was any justice ( or ref consistency) in the world,he should have walked for a dreadful tackle putting his studs into Palacios knee.Certainly not deliberate,but will the FA look at that one?Not at all likely in my book..

Then we had a stroke of bad luck.On 27 minutes Dempsey had a speculative shot,which struck our bar with Tommy Sorensen rooted to the spot.No problem until the ricocheting ball hit our keeper,redirecting into our net for an own goal.

The latter part of the second half saw us get back into the match,as Ryan Shawcross at the near post got his head to sub Pennant's excellent corner,the ball finding its way to the far corner of the Fulham net (78 mins).Despite exerting considerable pressure we failed to find the net again.

So we move onto Thursday.Is HMS SCFC, capable of sinking a Spanish galleon? Time will tell, but unlike the pessimists, I'm looking forward to seeing the crew try.

Sunday, February 05, 2012



You have to wonder whether or not this game should have been played.The appalling sub zero temperatures and continuous snowfall did not make for an edifying spectacle.Same for both sides you might say,but not with deeply unimpressive officials like Ref Atkinson about.Commonsense...he uses none,thinking time he gives himself ....none.Both factors would go a long way to explaining why he is by far,over the last two years,the red card leader with 24 sendings off.

Just on halftime he dispatched Robert Huth for an early bath.He couldn't get his red card out fast fast enough,in fact so eager was he to respond to the Sunderland players card waving antics (Bardsley giving the lead on this one),that his hand and the card got stuck half way out of his pocket.

Now I'm not sure who is priming these idiots, but not much thought went into this decision.For a start Atkinson's view was partially blocked by a Sunderland player.Huth looked as though he was heading into a challenge for the ball with Meyler, single footed,and when he realised he was not going to get to the ball,slid through,foot and studs down.No contact was made with the opposing player.Meyler,though, seeing the possible challenge,went into an award winning elaborate cartwheel,followed on landing, with a prolonged period of writhing on the ground as if pollaxed.As shameful a piece of cynical conning as I have seen in a long while,and our ref fell for it hook,line,and sinker.

We only had to wait 15 minutes into the second period for the gap in our defences (plus the dreadful underfoot conditions,which made changing direction at short notice,all but impossible)to yield Sunderland the opportunity to score.McClean left Wilko behind, coming in from the left, dodged the onrushing Shawcross,slipping the ball under Sorensen's dive into the corner of our net.Another case of game over thereafter,I'm afraid.

Not the end for suffering Stokies though,as they faced a nightmarish journey home through the frozen wastes,and seized up traffic.

Update: Quite rightly Pulis is upset....he even went as far sending MOTD a still photo of the alleged Huth offence.The pundits unanimously agreed,the red card was wrong, yellow at worst in their opinion.


Wednesday, February 01, 2012



The last time we came away from Old Trafford with a point was way back in 1980.To be honest we never really looked likely to get anything from this match,for a variety of reasons.

Overall our performance lacked drive,we frankly looked jaded.This was typified by the usually excellent Jon Walters,the sparkle was missing,he looked laboured,and left the fray early,perhaps being saved for the Sunderland game.Crouch,Jones,and Jerome moved back and to across the pitch,but to little effect in an attacking sense. Pennant was the only player who seemed to pose United a problem or two.

United themselves were nothing special on the night.They did not have much joy picking their way through our defence,until,on 37 minutes, assistance arrived in the form of Ref Jones.Park was played into our area,where he fell under challenge from Pennant.It looked as though our man got something on the ball,but the ref judged it to be a foul.Hernandez made no mistake from the spotkick,sending Sorensen the wrong way.Given our minimal attacking threat,this was effectively game over.Talking among themselves,the Man U fans around me had doubts that it was in fact a penalty at all.

Valencia for me was by far the best player on the pitch,giving whichever Stoke players he faced down the right a torrid time.On 53 minutes he was simply too quick and too clever for Walters,who was judged,maybe harshly,to have impeded him in the area.Minimal contact,but more than enough for Mr.Jones!Berbatov was lucky to convert the penalty,Sorro this time guessing the right way,and only narrowly failing to make the save.

We never looked  as though we could come back.Their keeper had only one save to make in the entire match.To be fair to Tony Pulis, we did not seek to park the bus across the goalmouth this time round.

It needs to be said,too, that we were not penalised on two more obvious occasions when penalty awards would have been entirely justified.On the second of those Mr. Jones' body language suggested that he felt that he had done enough for one night.