Stoke 0, Styles 1
2nd December 2008
So it was not to be....
The writing was on the wall when referee, Rob Styles was announced to jeers from the Stoke faithful, but you can't blame him too much as Stoke failed to wrap up the game with many missed chances. Although not many people saw much wrong with Richard Cresswell's disallowed goal, except for Mr Styles, who blew his whistle for handball, and only dear Mr Styles would have been brave enough to blow for a penalty with just 15 seconds remaining of added on time.
But Stoke really should have taken the game by the scruff of the neck a long time before Andy Griffin handled the ball in the 95th minute. Ricardo Fuller was not on form and several chances, inexplicably, went begging throughout the game. Glenn Whelan had the best chance when his free kick seemed destined for the top right hand corner of the net in the second half, but it was just turned over by Derby keeper, Roy Carroll.
Even Rory Delap's long throws never hit the mark, forcing Tony Pulis into a change of tactics at half time with the Exocet deliveries condemned to just the occasional outing in the second half.
Derby did give the Potters the odd fright or two as well, but neither side really capitalised on the misfortune of the other team until the referee decided that it was too cold to warrant another thirty minutes and decided to cut short the proceedings.
Oh well, it's back to concentrating on the Premier League - tough life, but someone's got to do it....
Stoke City: Simonsen, Griffin, Cort, Sonko, Higginbotham, Delap, Olofinjana (Pugh 81), Whelan, Cresswell, Sidibe, Fuller
Subs not used: Sorensen, Pericard, Amdy Faye, Davies, Abdoulaye Faye, Dickinson
Derby County: Carroll, Connolly, Powell, Tomkins, Stewart, Kazmierczak, Green (Teale 90), Addison, Commons, Hulse (Villa 86), Ellington
Subs not used: Bywater, Sterjovski