Mean Stoke take a point
7th March 2006 7.45pm
A mean spirited Stoke defence managed to keep a clean screen tonight at Molineux against a Wolves side battling to stay in contention for the play-offs.
The Potters could even count themselves as unlucky not to have come away from this Staffordshire derby with all three points as several chances went begging.
The match was played in a quagmire as the continuous rain which had fallen all day nearly put paid to the game before kick-off.
Wolves played three in attack, whilst the Potters reverted to a more defensive formation with just Sam Bangoura upfront and it was Stoke that made a good steady start to the game with loan signing, Josip Skoko having two early shots on goal going wide.
Carl Cort had Wolves' best chance of the game after 30 minutes as he hit the ball just wide of the post with Steve Simonsen beaten. Paul Gallagher had a good shot saved at the other end just before half time.
At the start of the second half, Johan Boskamp brought on Mamady Sidibe in place of Luke Chadwick and Stoke started brightly with Bangoura going close before Clint Hill heading on to goal from a Gallagher free kick which was well saved by Stefan Postma.
After 60 minutes, Skoko put Sidibe through who held it up for Carl Hoefkens, but his shot narrowly missed the far post.
Stoke's defence battled well to keep the Wolves at bay and could have even snatched a winner from Bangoura in the closing minutes, but his weak header was easily saved.
Stoke's assistant manager, Jan De Koning, said that he was pleased with the way the defence had played: 'The defenders were the masters of the game. We played 4-3-3 and we sat back deeper than we usually do and that made it difficult for them to score a goal.”
De Koning added “it was a good point for us because Wolves is always a difficult game to play away. At home they murdered us, but especially defensively we did well tonight.'
All in all, a reasonable display from a Stoke side still suffering from “goal amnesia”. At the moment we'll take any points whenever and wherever they come from.