2016 - 2017

2016 - 2017

Saturday, March 31, 2012



This was a  flat and lifeless performance from Stoke,with too many players below their best .The whole game saw the home keeper threatened just twice.Wigan clearly looked to build on their win at Liverpool,moved the ball around confidently,and if anyone was going to score it was going to be them.

The first half finished scoreless although Beausejour ought to have opened Wigan's account.He made amends on 54 minutes,managing a wonderfully firm cross from the left into the Stoke box,where Alcaraz headed crisply into the net.Beausejour found himself with an open goal minutes later but failed to convert.

As Stoke pressed forward in the 4 minutes added on time Wilkinson was sloppy,Moses took the ball from him headed off for goal,rounded Begovic,and with Wilko still in attendance,rolled the ball into the Stoke net ,to put matters beyond doubt.

Crouch and Walters were largely anonymous.Etherington was taken out of the game once more.Pennant had one or two good touches.The midfield was simply not good enough,seemingly incapable of mounting any threat.Our passing at times would best be described as slipshod.

Jerome and Palacios coming on as subs injected a little more energy and purpose.The other sub Ricardo Fuller was hardly seen until the last couple of minutes.He wriggled his way to the byline,cut the ball across.In the resultant chaos the ball came back to him.A short pass to Jerome provided an excellent chance of an equaliser,but he skied the ball over the net.

Some stats,which if we had studied them closely would have provided pointers to the outcome of this game.

Wigan had only won once at home this season,way back last August.
This was the first time this season that they had won two matches on the bounce.
When did they do that the last time? You guessed..the last two games of last season....courtesy of...STOKE!!

So this leaves us 13th on 38 points.We really didn't look up for this one!

Sunday, March 25, 2012



Well this was a game which was not for the purist ( witness BBC commentator - I'll be as lazy not bothering to remember his name  as he was lazy describing events - the gist of which was not much of a game,scrappy) but what we were treated to was end to end stuff,plenty of excitment, the visiting fans adding tremendously to the pulsating atmosphere inside The Brit.

Our commentator was clearly at a different match than the one that we attended,the editors,as ever doing Stoke no favours.But then again we should be pleased that we were not last up ( I know, because its Man City, not us!!) because some of the comments suggested that we ought to have been.

Both sides defended when they had to,but both probed continually for openings,and there was no doubt that right to the final whistle both were going for the win.

Roberto Mancini's team is full of clever players,some of whom seem sometimes that they cannot be bothered,before suddenly bursting into life to cause a real threat.One such was Balotelli,who really does not like The Brit or its denizens.We couldn't manage any snow for him this visit,but the fading Spring sunlight and warmth persuaded him to up his game only occasionally.Yaya Toure is without doubt our Man City bogeyman,some player though.He ambles about from side to side,before sliding a killer pass in toward goal,or even bursting into goalward sprint,which takes those around him by surprise.Silva is a class act,but today was knocked off his game by a collision with Dean Whitehead.

Stoke worked hard and made chances which they were again unable to take.John Walters shot wide of the post again when in on goal,but,that said,he was a thorn in the visitors side throughout,involved in much link play.Cameron Jerome was busy,his highlight being an attempted bicycle kick when faced with an open goal.No real contact,but a bold effort.

Peter Crouch impresses me more each time I see him play.His instant control of the ball,his hold up play,his ability to see what is on ,are first class.Going forward so much seems to revolve around him.BUT ABOVE ALL HE HAS THE ABILITY TO PRODUCE THE UNEXPECTED.

Now when Begovic punts the ball out to the edge of the opposing penalty area to a Stoke striker we've got used to a header on for someone to chase.What we got in the 59th minute yesterday was SPECIAL.Peter Crouch took the force out of the keepers kick with a gentle nod on to Jermain Pennant.He nodded the ball back.Ball still in the air,Crouch flicked it up a little,before volleying right footed,from at least 25 yards out.The ball looped over helpless England keeper Hart into the far corner of the net.A BRILLIANT GOAL FROM OPEN PLAY BY A STOKE PLAYER.So exciting that some Stoke fans celebrated with a 'POZNAN'!!

For 20 minutes Man City probed without being able to convert the chances they were carving out.It was beginning to look as though it might be our day,until Yaya Toure stirred himself,centrefield,and mustered a shot from well outside the penalty area.Begovic was wrong footed when Shawcross got a deflecting touch on
the ball.Although the keeper adjusted,getting both hands to the ball,he could not keep it out of the net (79mins).

A further 15 minutes were played,both sides chasing the win.Stoke sub Palacios was in the thick of it bursting forward on three occasions,and also shooting narrowly over at the death.

No Cup revenge this time,but a well earned point,and 12th in the table.

Crouch goal.... |Linky Thing to .gif

Wednesday, March 21, 2012



Stoke arrived at White Hart Lane where Saturday’s traumatic event was fresh and raw. Warming was the shared hope expressed by the teams for a full recovery for Fabrice Muamba, and also the prolonged applause from the crowd.

Stoke gave as good as they got for the first 25 minutes or so, with good chances falling to Cameron Jerome and Peter Crouch. Spurs gradually came into the picture, and were in control as the half came to an end.

The Potters held firm from the beginning of the second period, growing in strength. Spurs were clearly frustrated, pushing men forward in an effort to break through the Stoke rearguard. Stoke themselves looked increasingly strong on the break.

We were well worth our goal on 74 minutes. A freekick from the left outside the Spurs penalty area, was flighted in beautifully by Jermaine Pennant. It seemed as though Robert Huth got a head on the ball, but it was a lightening dart forward from Jerome that culminated in him stretching out a foot to push the ball into the net between keeper Friedel and his post.

Despite some, but hardly concerted, Spurs pressure, we looked likely to take three points, until 3 minutes into the 6 minutes of added on time, when Bale fired in a dangerous cross which Van der Vaart headed home to take a share of the points.

Still one point means we’re up to 11th again. Time to take Man City on with confidence on Saturday,blacksheep Tevez an’ all.

Monday, March 12, 2012


Chelsea are not the team they used to be at the moment.The team rebuild that Villas-Boas was attempting is no more,unwisely I suspect.Di Matteo is unlikely to be given the time or money for the major surgery that is necessary.His inclination for this match was to bring back into the side some of the players who have caused AVB to fall short.

Stoke, you felt,had their best chance to take points away from Stamford Bridge since promotion to the Premiership.Certainly,looking at the teamsheet they were set  to do so.We rode our luck early doors,looked to be blunting the home side's edge,when Ricaro Fuller - so often our saviour over six wonderful years - applied a one man wrecking ball to our masterplan.

So often he has turned a game in our favour with his magical skills, close control,and eye for goal.Selected to start the game perhaps he could snatch a goal from nothing as he has done so often.No-one who has seen him play could have been in any doubt that he has a short fuse.

Only he can know what was going through his mind,when, following several niggles with Serbian defender Ivanovic,following a further challenge on 25 minutes, our man turned back and stamped on his man.An immediate red card,and realistically an end to our chances of getting anything from this match.

Chelsea were poor,taking a further 40 minutes to break the ten men down.Mata put Drogba in to score from close range on 65 minutes.

Sunday, March 04, 2012



Two successive solid ,if unspectacular home wins see The Mighty Potters return to 8th place in the Premiership.With 36 points in the bag and 11 matches to play we look to be in for another season at the top table,barring major disasters,and miracle runs from the teams below us.

Like Swansea last week Norwich did not really have a look in,though they were much more streetwise than the Welshmen.Pushing,shoving,niggling in the best Stoke fashion,it looked increasingly as if The Canaries would escape with a point,despite Stoke creating  a number of good chances.

Our play was creative at times,but our finishing was far from clinical.Three really good chances spring to mind from the first half.Walters,trying hard and with some nice linking touches (but still looking tired in my view) was unfortunate with a strong shot.Some fine one two interplay put Whitehead in,clear on goal,but he scuffed a weak shot,which the Norwich keeper had little trouble saving.Crouch was given a rough ride by the Norwich defenders,throughout his time on the pitch.He found himself free just the once in the 6 yard box.He rifled a fine shot,which most days would bring him a goal.On this occasion he was frustrated as the keeper pulled off a brilliant reflex save.

The second half saw mounting Potter pressure,but again mounting frustration.Something of a stalemate,until Manager Pulis rang the changes upfront,replacing Walters and Crouch with Jerome and Jones.From a disputed Stoke throw in on the left,Jerome nodded the ball into Etherington's path.He powered into the Norwich box,eluding two defenders,before lashing the ball left footed into the net past Ruddy at his near post.

Still Stoke were not finished.Receiving the ball on the right Kenwyne Jones fed a superb ball to Jerome,in centrefield.Had the striker hit the ball with his left foot he may have converted the chance,but as he tried desperately to get the ball onto his right foot for a shot he was closed down.