2016 - 2017

2016 - 2017

Thursday, November 29, 2012



Stoke were good value for this win, although you might not have got that impression IF:

  • you had watched the MOTD highlights

  • listened to any of Newcastle Manager Alan Pardew's sour faced comments

  • read the majority of the reports of the match in the press today.

Stoke are still massively,and wrongly stereotyped in the media.The Beeb's coverage particularly of the first half did not accurately portray the balance of play,it was better for the second.

For Mr.P his team were the better of the two and deserved a result because they had a game plan,AND they had carried it out.What twaddle....was their game plan  then to lose the match?They had the best of the play...the stats don't bear that out.Take a look at posession and a corner count hugely in our favour. Oh and they should have had a penalty.We can only presume this was the occasion that Demba Ba blasted the ball against Huth from all of a yard and a half !

As for some of the halfwits who produce column inches  for the papers,well we don't really need to go there.We've been there before and nothing much is changing in their mindset.There is football for the 'purist',and then there is Stoke's ugly Pulisball.Some of these clowns need to actually get to the match,AND with an open mind.

What they would see is some pretty useful passing football,much less route 1.N'Zonzi and Whelan a producing some  neat stuff in the midfield,probing rather than battering visiting  teams defences.

Just after the break Begovic fluffed a take from Ba's long range shot.Cisse was quickest to the ball,to provide the opening goal.Gaining some confidence from this Newcastle enjoyed their only period on top.

Everything changed with the introduction of Jerome and Kightly,joining Kenwyne Jones,already on for Crouch.Increased mobility unsettled Newcastle.Jones ought to have scored with a header from Kightlys delightful 'dink' from the left.

On 81 minutes a Shotton throw in down the right was met by Jon Walters.With his back to the Newcastle goal he flicked the ball over his shoulder for Jerome to run on to.He made for the corner ,turned back before delivering a fine cross.Walters on his way toward the box rose to head this ball above keeper Krul into the far corner of the net.

Four minutes later the comeback was complete.N'Zonzi received the ball from Shotton in midfield,pushing it to his right to Walters.He looped a wonderful ball forward onto Jones'head outside the Newcastle box.His knockdown to the right was met first time by Jerome,his strong shot on the run  giving Krul no chance.

 So 19 points from 14 games,10 points from the last 12,9th in the table, subs doing so well what they are paid to do.

Oh and take care what you read on the messageboard.....someone is bound to be knocking Jon Walters performance.

'Don't know why Pulis picks him week in week out!' Plenty of evidence ....you just need to be able to see it.

Sunday, November 25, 2012



Even if only for 24hours Stoke moved up to a respectable mid table 11th place in the Premiership,with 16 points from 13 games,and 0 goal difference. For the second home game running Charlie Adam notched the crucial goal,bringing us all three points.

Fulham had more of the possession overall,but - the last ten minutes or so apart – they did not do as much with it as Stoke. Our team managed a threat down both wings. On the left Etherington continues to progress,looking more like the player we had two years ago. He is beginning to take his man on in a way that leaves you feeling that he might have some joy. The confidence is returning. Down the right,surprisingly you might say, we possessed an even more potent threat. Not from Jon Walters,but rather from his fullback partner Ryan Shotton.

Ryan Shotton showed a real appetite for overlapping,much as he did in some of our Euro matches last year. He was responsible for a number of dangerous crosses into the Fulham goalmouth. On 26 minutes,prompted by Walters and N'Zonzi,he took the ball behind the Fulham defensive line before crossing a wicked curling ball.It reached Crouch, as ever, closely marked by two defenders, on the edge of the visitors six yard box. Our ex-England man headed the ball down to Adam,more centrally placed,who controlled the ball before swivelling to hit the ball crisply past Schwarzer into the net.

Numerous chances came our way ...and went! Huth had two near miss headers. Shawcross, looking more dangerous than he has for a while at the attacking end of the pitch, followed a header wide with another that crashed against the crossbar but came out to safety. Whelan,who for me had a fine all round game,had two near misses,one past the post,the other narrowly over the bar. Late on sub Kenwyne Jones was put clear,netted expertly,but was adjudged offside,narrowly it seemed.

Stoke looked nervous in the closing minutes, and allowed Fulham to come onto them,but fortunately did not concede.

Asmir Begovic earned his corn, especially when making a fine save from dangerman Berbatov's powerful on target cross shot.

An excellent team performance from Stoke with Fulham very much second best.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012



Very similar in some ways to the Man U game. Stoke got off to a particularly bright start,quietening the home crowd,unsettling the high flying home team.

The highlight of the first half,dominated by Stoke,was Walters' superb finish on 13 minutes to give us the lead. A Whelan corner from the right,played along the ground,was smashed in by our striker,after running from one side of the six yard box to the other,with various other team members successfully completing their tasks, in what was clearly a worked move.

We held the lead until the early minutes of the second half. Whatever Sam Alladyce said to his team at halftime it worked. For pretty much the whole of the half they were on top,going forward,and forcing Stoke into some frantic defending at times. The equaliser came on 48 minutes from fullback O'Brian from very close in.His first goal in the Premiership. Shades of Chelsea! Remember another fullback,who does not score many goals, notching a winner late on from close in.

The one that got away? During our period of first half control,and after Walters goal,N'Zonzi had first a sighter shot,which he then followed with a thunderous strike.The ball hit the bar then rebounded to the floor,and then out to safety.Had we gone in two goals up then the result could have been so different.

Sunday, November 11, 2012



Stoke had to work really hard for this win,and the three points. From a team confidence point of view the result was vital. Watching ALL the players on the pitch there was plenty of tension about. Our visitors have spent heavily on players,many of them talented,but what they do not yet have is a team,just a collection of individuals. Stoke by contrast definitely are a team, all for one,one for all,though maybe sometimes looking like the unfinished article that the manager argues that it is.

As in recent weeks elsewhere Rangers set out to stifle Crouch, and to a point enjoyed some success. However, despite the close attentions of one,two, and sometimes three defenders,and with little protection from the referee,he still managed to get to the ball,and make things happen. He got a couple of powerful shots away on target,which were blocked; he still managed numerous flick ons of varying accuracy which no other Stoke player could take advantage of; but,unlike some strikers we've had in the past, he does not seem to be discouraged by this close attention. He just keeps on coming.

He didn't score,but he got his reward just after halftime. Huth took a freekick from out on the left,flighting the ball into the Rangers penalty box. Jon Walters – he had a much better game today – got up well to head the ball across the front of goal. Crouch did not seem to get much on the ball as it moved out to the right,but what he did do was attract three QPR defenders,as if flies to fly paper. Charlie Adam felt the benefit as the ball reached him coming in from the right unmarked. His cool left footed shot curled past helpless keeper Caesar into the left side of the net. The winner! Adam's first goal to boot!

QPR had their chances,but were simply unable to take them.

Now this result defied all the usual Stokie logic!They took all six points from us last season. They have not won a match this season. Their last away win was at Stoke twelve months ago. Their last win was against The Mighty Potters at Loftus Road last April. It's the custom at Stoke,that we always extend charity on these occasions. The buzz in the pub before the match....a QPR win was inevitable!

Lots of happy faces afterwards,all glad to be wrong!

Sunday, November 04, 2012



Looks to me like we are suffering a combination of these factors,PLUS tactics and overall match strategy.Let's turn the whole thing on its head.No Stokie watching would be in any doubt that in the last quarter of this match,and the one against Sunderland we have not only looked dangerous,but have created enough chances to win the games twice over.For threequarters of each game our play has seemed predictable,even laboured,fairly easily handled and stifled by the opposition.

Our attacking fulcrum is Crouchie.Take him out,by fair means or foul and we have less penetration as a team, given the tactical set up.Norwich successfully followed Sunderland's lead,roughing Crouch out of it,our man again getting little protection from the referee,or even being ruled against when he'd clearly been impeded.The odd chance or two were not taken,one by Jon Walters who is becoming the 'nearly' man,getting himself into wonderful scoring positions,but failing to put the ball in the net.Toothless....well not entirely.

Andre Marriner....what can you say?Have we ever won with him officiating?Maybe I'm wrong on this one,but I can't recall a win! He booked Adam for diving,but he was clearly elbowed on his way by a Norwich player.Crucially he backed his assistant's view that Wilkinson had fouled Snodgrass as he approached our area just before halftime.He was closer to the play than the lino with a clear view.The contact,if any, was minimal,certainly less than the earlier incident with Adam.Wilkinson seemed to be trying to avoid contact as Snodgrass ran across him.Yet rather than book the Norwich man for simulation,he awarded a freekick,and booked Wilko into the bargain.As they say its all about opinions,and entirely subjective at times!

This decision proved to be the turning point of the match.Snodgrass's freekick was headed on its way by a poorly marked Johnson beyond Begovic into the top corner of the Stoke net.The winner as it turned out.

But what about the last 20 minutes or so?Kightly had been replaced by Etherington,Walters by Jones.Things changed,the final stages of the game were all Stoke.Chances fell to Kenwyne Jones.First he he met a freekick from Adam.His header was saved by Ruddy,down on his goal line.Then an Adam freekick reached him 6 yards out He got his shot away,but sadly it passed narrowly outside the post.Eighteen months ago he would have bagged one of those chances,but take nothing away from him,Stoke looked more dangerous with him on the pitch with Crouch at this time.

On 90 minutes Bassong had hold of Etherington on the edge of the Norwich 6 yard box.The Norwich player then fell to the floor,Mr.Marriner obliged with a booking for Etherington!