2016 - 2017

2016 - 2017

Sunday, January 22, 2012

WINDY CITY



STOKE CITY FC 1 WEST BROMWICH ALBION 2


Now I,ve seen no TV highlights,and I've not listened to any radio punditry,commentary or 'Praise and Grumble',so what I'm about to write is what I think I saw at The Britannia Stadium.

The winds were fierce,and their effects seriously unpredictable,a reminder of an earlier time when this fixture was postponed,because the conditions were deemed unplayable.As they left the stadium at the end of the match Stokie voices were heard to remark that it was a pity that referee Mr.Taylor had not come to the same decision as his predecessor.

To say that Stoke were a disappointment in the first half would be something of an understatment.It wasn't that the wind negated a part of our game,rather that,first,some of our team didn't seem to fancy it much,second West Brom adapted better to the conditions.They kept the ball on the ground for the most part,with Dorrans and Morrison,in particular shooting on sight.

Crouchy seemed more than a little out of sorts.It could have been increased wind resistance due to his higher altitude.More likely it was the close attentions of defender Olsson,who,it will be remembered,roughed Kenwyne Jones out of the corresponding match last year.

The Baggies seemed sharper on and to the ball,moving it around quickly on the ground.They presented a real threat down our right side where Woodgate and Shotton had trouble coping.Their shoot on sight policy paid dividends.After some wayward efforts they found their range.We had a warning as Sorensen brought off a fine diving one handed save,tipping a goalbound effort up onto the woodwork,but he was found wanting later,making a hash of saving a firm Morisson drive to concede the opener in rather untidy fashion.

From a Stoke point of view the second half was altogether brighter.We did not have long to wait for Tony Pulis to change things around.Pennant came on to give us much more threat and balance.Things could have been so different had the usually reliable Walters netted from the penalty that he won.But he didn't,Ben Foster getting down well to his right to push the ball away to safety.The visitors hit our post again,and Sorensen made two superb saves before we finally found the net.Lively sub,Jerome headed home with out too much trouble from Pennant's ball in from the right.Relief all round the ground,but not for long.

At the death Walters conceded a needless freekick on the edge of our penalty box.Our normal defensive response would have been organised,but for some reason it seemed uncertain and sloppy .Dorrans took full advantage,driving the ball directly along the ground across the keeper,past stationary defenders into our net for the winner.


Sunday, January 15, 2012

SICK TO DEATH OF PLAYERS MOBBING REFS!!

LIVERPOOL FC  0  STOKE CITY FC  0

Doesn't matter what match you watch or at what level, player discipline more and more leaves a lot to be desired.Increasingly much player activity seems to be angled at undermining the referee and assistants,to secure some advantage.We have progressed rapidly through from the odd few words of complaint, when a decision is plain wrong,to remonstrations when a decision does not suit; to the knowing smile accompanied by a shaking of the head; to the idiot finger wagging at some unfortunate official,again accompanied by vigorous head shaking;to individual players heading directly for the nearest official, exhibiting a lack of self control reminiscent of a full blown toddler tantrum;to the waving of imaginery cards - sometimes yellow,more often red  - in the ref's face;to mobbing the referee with intent to bully and intimidate. Is it me or has this latter phenomenon got seriously out of hand in recent months.

We have managers jumping up and down like something demented when something does not go their way.We have tv commentators,and so called pundits going hysterical,claiming to be non-judgemental about refereeing decisions,but doing exactly the opposite.Very few of them cut the ref any slack,as they sit back comfortably in the studio,holding forth and collecting a fat fee.

The game is the poorer for all this.From top to bottom, FA to players, plus various media hangers on,it is time to call time,enough is enough.The message needs to be sent out loud and clear that the act needs to be cleaned up.Stick your head in the ref's face,sufficient to cause him to take backward step (as we have seen a few times in recent televised games) should attract a red card. Take a leaf or two out of Rugby Union's book.....dispute a decision,move the point of freekick ten yards upfield;professional foul,send the offender for 10 minutes in a sin bin!!Surely it is not beyond the wit of the FA to do more,but do they have the resolve?

Rant over......

By the way Stoke managed a magnificent point at Liverpool,with some heroic defending.Brilliant lads....still 8th,ten points from safety!!!!!


Sunday, January 08, 2012

LOCAL DERBY

FA CUP 4TH ROUND DRAW



Brighton or Wrexham v Newcastle

Sunderland v Middlesbrough

Dagenham & Redbridge or Millwall v Southampton

Hull City v Crawley

MK Dons or QPR v Chelsea

West Brom v Norwich

Blackpool v Sheffield Wednesday

Arsenal or Leeds v Aston Villa

Stevenage v Notts County

Watford v Tottenham

Liverpool v Manchester United

Derby v Stoke City

Everton v Fulham

Macclesfield or Bolton v Swansea

Sheffield United v Birmingham or Wolves

Nottingham Forest or Leicester v Swindon

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

SWINGS AND ROUNDABOUTS....FIXED !!



BLACKBURN ROVERS  1  STOKE CITY FC  2


Serves me right for banging on about things not evening themselves out.......they certainly did in this match.Stoke undoubtedly enjoyed the rub of the green,early doors.Before we had really got going Samba had headed against our bar from a corner.Shortly afterwards the same player escaped Shawcross's clutches in the six yard box,and found the net,only to have what looked like a good goal chalked off because Yakubu was adjudged to have fouled keeper Sorensen.

Stoke took charge as the half progressed,building a two goal lead,thanks to superb striking from Crouch.Both goals involved a sublime controlling initial touch.For the first the ball reached him,courtesy of a Whitehead chip into the box.As Samba slipped and fell Crouch rifled the ball into the net to keeper Bunn's right.With halftime approaching Etherington picked up the ball in his own half,and scampered down the left wing.Looking up he managed to produce a precision cross to Crouch in the penalty box.He pulled away from his marker,brought the ball down on his right thigh,and hammered home with his left foot.

The second half was shaded by the home side.They got back into the game with Goodwillie's first Premiership goal,and mounted increasing pressure for a while.They were denied an equaliser when Woodgate blocked Yakubu's point blank effort on the line,within minutes of Goodwillie's goal.

Lots of positives to be taken from this game.We seem to be travelling away with increasing confidence,style,and more attacking intent.Jonathan Woodgate had a superb game,and although a yard slower than in his pomp,he looked every inch the class player that he is.He combines well with the ever improving Shotton down the right.Matty Etherington looks to be back to his best.

8th place consolidated,29 points in the bag from 20 games........11 points needed to stay up....Happy days to be a Potter!!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

SWINGS AND ROUNDABOUTS......BROKEN?

STOKE CITY FC  2 WIGAN ATHLETIC  2

I suppose its another point gained,although 2 points from two home games is a mite disappointing.And all this stuff about things evening themselves out,your swings and roundabouts,well I'm not convinced by it.From where I was amongst the 'sheep shearers' in Cardiff for the New Year,it looked to me that things were somewhat awry in the playground.

We didn't play as well as we might have to begin with,and we fell behind on the stroke of halftime.Had Moses been a Stoke player he would have been a disappointed man because the ball,instead of finding the net,would have cannoned back out off the bar ,and away to safety,or of course it would have rebounded into a grateful keeper's arms.But he scored,unlike Huth later,and as we all know from his fine header the ball did indeed rebound off a post into keeper Al Habsi's arms.

Fair do's though in the second half the referee did see Jerome's goal bound header deflected away/saved by a defenders arm.Walter's netted the subsequent penalty to bring us level,and Caldwell was dispatched by Mr.Oliver for an early bath.Then it got better still,a Crouch flick was headed further forward by Walters into the path of the fast moving Jerome.He scored with aplomb,steering the ball to Al Habsi's left into the bottom right corner of the net.Job done with six minutes to go!

But no,three minutes later,the ref provided the ten men with a leg up.A 50/50 mutual push/ shove/grab in our penalty area,featuring Shotton and Rodallega,saw the latter fall to the ground after the fashion of a swooning pantomime dame.The tug  on the heartstrings  was too much for our warmhearted official to resist,and he duly awarded a penalty,which sub Watson converted.

Now being a fairminded man you can imagine my confusion,when in the closing moments,Shawcross was hauled down much more obviously in the Wigan area,but we got nothing.Clearly the ref's well of Christmas spirit had run dry.

A very happy New Year to you,but don't talk to me about swings and roundabouts,at least for the time being!