Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Sunday February 24 2008
14th February 2008
Liam Lawrence rocketed the Potters to a justified 1-0 win over fellow promotion hopefuls, Ipswich Town at the Brit and consolidated their position at the top of the Championship.
Liam's 25 yard shot and contender for 'goal of the season' just before the interval was enough to see off the Tractor Boys who'd come to the Brit on the back of two away wins after a topsy-turvy season for the East Anglian club, which had seen them unbeatable at home and unable to win away.
Stoke City fielded new keeper, Marton Fulop on the bench with Steve Simonsen remaining in the starting eleven for now. But it's widely predicted that Simo will have to fight for his place starting with next week's visit to Preston as Fulop is likely to be given the opportunity to start.
Pulis made two changes to the starting line-up, bringing in Carl Dickinson for the suspended Danny Pugh and dropping Salif Diao to the bench in preference to Richard Cresswell.
Ipswich arrived at the Brit well prepared for Stoke's set pieces and the Delap long throws. They certainly looked useful in midfield and on the break, but except for a great shot from Sumulikoski which provoked a great save from Simo with twenty minutes remaining, the visitors hardly troubled the Stoke keeper.
Stoke had good chances to go further ahead. Before Lawrence's wonder goal, Ryan Shawcross had bundled the ball into the back of the net, before seeing the linesman flag for off-side. Ric Fuller had also seen a shot go narrowly wide of the post. In the second half, Mamady Sidibe was also very unfortunate to see his overhead kick squeeze just wide of the post.
Ipswich boss, Jim Magilton found himself on the bad side of the ref and was sent to the stands after complaining a little too much about the speed in which the ball boys returned the ball.
This was a good solid performance from the Potters who managed to play good football for the entire 90 minutes, unlike last week when they managed 45 minutes a match during the wins against the Saints and Scunny. Another vital win (aren't they all now?), consolidates their position in top spot and allows them the luxury of pulling away at the top - if only by one point from Bristol City.
Stoke City: Simonsen, Griffin, Shawcross, Cort, Dickinson, Lawrence, Delap, Whelan, Cresswell, Sidibe (Diao 81), Fuller
Subs not used: Fulop, Parkin, Gallagher, Wilkinson
Ipswich Town: Bywater, Bruce, Naylor, De Vos, Harding, Norris (Garvan 76), Sumulikoski, Miller, Quinn (Haynes 46), Walters, Lee (Counago 72)
Subs not used: Colgan, Wright
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Date:Sunday February 24 2008
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