2016 - 2017

2016 - 2017

Sunday, September 30, 2012



There we are, up and running with our first win of the new season.In the first half Tony Pulis's unchanged team simply carried on from where they left off last week.The team proved much too strong for a lightweight (literally) Swansea outfit.

Most of the good work was done in the first half,when the game was to all intents and purposes won.Swansea got more purchase on the game for 20 minutes or so after the break,but Stoke finished the stronger and could have added to the first half score.

Just as against Chelsea we looked busy and purposeful.Kightley had too much for left back Davies,and proved to be a constant threat to the visitors.Cameron once again marauded to great effect,some player,indeed.His crosses are powerful,but not always threatening....yet.N'Zonzi and Adam are clearly bringing the best out of a rejuvenated Whelan in midfield.Shame the Irishman  had to leave the field early with what unfortunately looked like a hamstring problem..

We are getting pretty teed off with  so called Stoke fans sniping at Jon Walters.He had a cracking game again yesterday, was absolutely everywhere about the pitch,and with his energy and mobility  made lots of things happen.His manager,as no less an authority than Denis Smith pointed out,trusts him to deliver,hence he picks him week in week out.Body language usually tells all.....his teammates clearly hold him in high regard too!!No one more than Peter Crouch who,once again yesterday,benefitted from Walters putting himself about.In the 36th minute Walters created alarm in the Swansea defence getting to a cross from the right.Fair enough he didn't get to control the ball,but he caused it to break to Crouch.He had his first shot parried by keeper Vorm,who could do nothing as our leading marksman followed up to slot the ball home into the right corner of the net,for his second of the afternoon.

Earlier (12th minute) Crouch had opened our account with a fine headed goal.Swansea's defenders were unable to cope with their marking tasks and our movement as Whelan took a excellent corner from the left.Crouchie was able to ghost in unmarked to pick his spot in the centre of the visitors net.

Just as last season Swansea tipped and tapped the ball about,but not to great effect.Stoke could perhaps have added to the two goals.In the last quarter Matthew Etherington made a lively entry and contribution.He really did look like the Etherington of old.He raided down the left, beating three defenders to the byline before producing an exquisite cross for Crouch to the right of goal.It looked for all the world that we would have our first hattrick hero for a long while (was Peter Thorne the last?),but unfortunately his header hit the bar and went away to safety.

Sunday, September 23, 2012



Make no bones about it Stoke's fine team performance deserved better than this.We were unlucky to come away from Stamford Bridge empty handed.

Our previous results there indicate the progress we have been making from the infamous 7-0 thrashing four years ago,through 2-0,to now two close encounter narrow 1-0 defeats.Last year we were undone by Mata's trickery late on.The same medicine this year administered by the same player,but later still,just five minutes to go!

Both Chelsea fullback's found their way down the flanks and into our penalty box on numerous occasions,but not to any great effect until the 85th minute.Cole advanced on goal more in hope than anything else.The ball reached the busy Mata some 8 yards out.He immediately backheeled the ball blind,hoping someone would be there.On this occasion Cole was.Begovic got fingers to his weak flicked shot - a reflection, perhaps, of the fact that he had not scored for two years - from very close in,but was unable to make a save.Heartbreaking....

So was this offering from Stoke any better than last year's?

For certain...the match stats speak for themselves.Stoke?? 49% possession in an away match!!One way traffic,I don't think so,although the corners stat might suggest differently.The best chances of the first half fell to us.Jon Walters hit the bar getting a powerful header onto Whelan's dangerous freekick from the right,keeper Cech beaten all ends up.

Cameron had a superbly composed game at right back in place of Wilkinson.In addition to his defensive duties he found opportunities to raid down the right.Two were notable,one in each half.The first saw him receive the ball from Crouch at speed. His cross was too powerful for the incoming Kightly to head home.The second saw a deep cross,which sub Kenwyne Jones did well to head back across goal to pick out fellow sub Etherington just outside the six yard box.In his purple patch two years ago our winger would have netted.On this occasion his effort was off target to the right.

Stoke refused to lie down to the end.As we chased we saw Michael Owen lurking in positions near goal from which we have seen him score many times in the past.Think this augurs well for the future if he stays fit. On this occasion no equaliser,against a very relieved looking Chelsea side,but some very promising signs indeed

Sunday, September 16, 2012



..........but Roberto you are getting confused.What we all saw yesterday was a'dink' not a 'dunk before the ball hit the net in the 15th minute.Dinks are much more subtle than dunks,certainly we didn't see Crouchie hanging from the goal frame in celebration after he had netted.So it can't have been basketball,it must have been soccer!

This was in the end a fair result between a busy Stoke side,who showed not a little skill and creativity,and an expensively assembled Manchester outfit,some of whom,again,did not really fancy the challenge on a beautiful afternoon at the Brit.

Crouch's goal was built upon a wonderful / hopeful elevated reverse flick by the ever willing Jon Walters.The ball reached Crouchie in a crowded goal mouth.There was a hint of handball,but in two or three touches he had the ball beyond Hart into the net.The suggestion of handball paralysed the Man City defence,all appealing rather than playing to the whistle.Ref Clattenburg....he saw nothing amiss!Always said he was a good 'un really.

The visitors equaliser came from a freekick on the left,Javi Garcia heading home unchallenged from close in.
The second half was notable for three splendid moments.Asmir Begovic was involved in all three.First he saved brilliantly from Yaya Toure,coming out fast with the midfielder looking odds on to score,he deflected the ball magnificently over the bar to safety.

Second from a corner Garcia had another free header from close in.It looked for all the world a goal,but Bego got down,pawed the ball onto the goalpost,and collected the rebound.

On the third occasion it looked as though he might undo all his good work.With sub Djecko heading toward our goal in the last minute of added on time he came out to fast and too far.The striker's gentle lob over the keeper headed toward our open goal.Enter Ryan Shawcross.Our Captain read the situation intelligently,and was already on his way toward goal.It looked as though his pursuit would be in vain,until on the line and at speed,he launched himself,reaching out a long leg to clear at full stretch with the outside of his left foot.Class pure and simple.....Are you watching Woy??

A deserved point then,from a richly entertaining game.Kightly and Adam both looked sound.Of the recent acquisitions though,today,N'Zonzi was the pick,rightly being awarded MOM.Looks a real steal...

Oh and Michael Owen got a 4 minute outing..... 

Monday, September 03, 2012



In the early stages of this match you had the distinct feeling that the outcome would be on the dissappointing side.In the early minutes  Robert Huth was harshly adjudged to have handled the ball in the area,setting Wigan on their way with Maloney's penalty conversion.This seemed to set us back more than a little.

Things changed markedly for the better from half an hour in when new signing Charlie Adam replaced the injured Wilkinson.From then on,by our standards, the football flowed.Just before half time Crouch cleverly flicked the ball up and over Figueroa in the Wigan penalty box.The full back handled, Ref Atkinson evened things up,and Jon Walters made no mistake with the resultant penalty striking the ball firmly under  keeper Al Habsi's dive.There was still time before the break for Wilson to hit the Wigan bar with a shot from distance.

With Stoke slow out of the blocks Kone broke upfield,squared the ball across the area to Di Santo,who unerringly stroked the ball beyond Begovic into the corner of the net (49 mins).Stoke got back on terms through some real clever play.

A short  throw in  from the left was nodded over a Wigan defender by Jerome.The ever willing Walters,anticipating, was already on the move into the Wigan area.He took the ball on,flicked it up to his right where Crouch headed home from close range,giving the keeper no chance.

All square and with Stoke in the ascendancy we went for a winner.We so nearly had one too. With 5 minutes to go Adam's powerful shot on goal from a freekick took a deflection of Caldwell.Al Habsi was already diving left,the ball went right,but he still managed to get a hand up to his right to paw the ball away.Univerally acknowledged by all as a wonder save.Jerome followed up but the angle was much too tight for him to make anything of it.

So Stoke away.....creating plenty of chances,scoring two goals in one match,and for two thirds of the match looking likely to get a win,Adam bossing proceedings,things all of sudden begin to look much more promising for us Stokies.