Potters Cup Classic
22nd Sept 2009
The size of the crowd showed that many did not think it had the makings of anything special, those that did make to the Brit were wondering by the middle of the second half why we had bothered to ignore the comforts of our sofas, but that all changed in the space of five short minutes as the Potters came from 0-2 down to win with just seconds remaining.
Not for the first time we were treated to an appalling first half performance from the Potters in which they conceded a soft first goal, following by a Pulis roasting at half time which finally seemed to stir the Stoke second string into action, but they still managed to concede a even softer second just a couple of minutes into the restart and then capped it with a Liam Lawrence soft penalty kick that was easily saved. For many, including the manager himself, it seemed that the night was only going to get worse and that the Seasiders were going to claim their second Premier League scalp of their Carling Cup campaign.
But then Tony Pulis made his last throw of the dice with just under 30 minutes remaining and brought on Ricardo Fuller and Matty Etherington for an ineffective Tom Soares and an out of sorts James Beattie who seemed to have more than just one eye on a position in Saturday's starting eleven against Man United.
That change revitalised City, including our latest full debutant, Tuncay, and just ten minutes later the goal fest started.
First it was Danny Higginbotham who headed home from Etherington's corner: 1-2
Just 3 minutes and 40 seconds later, Matty gets a goal of his own after a neat flick on from Tuncay: 2-2
1 minute, 30 seconds later, it was Ricardo's turn to get in on the action with a low shot straight into the back of the net from 15 yards: 3-2
But the Blackpool fight-back continued just one and half minutes later as they refused to succumb to the Potters' onslaught: 3-3
Pause for breath, but not before Fuller was forced to limp off with a groin injury. No subs remaining, so Stoke are now down to 10 men.
But just as it looks like we'll be staying at least another 30 minutes and we've already played the five original minutes of added on time (the ref had added further time on for a late 'Pool substitution), up pops the veteran, grey haired, full back Andy Griffin (and we were beginning to wonder what had become of him) to slot the ball past the keeper to make the score 4-3.
So to paraphrase Shakespeare (not usually easy on a Stoke report) it was all well that ended well. Fair play to Blackpool, they came and very nearly conquered and even the ref, Lee Probert, must get a mention for we hardly noticed his presence on the pitch which is always a sign of a well managed game by the man in black.
08 Soares (Etherington 64)
32 Arismendi (Tonge 46)
09 Beattie (Fuller 64)
Substitutes: 29 Sorensen, 30 Shotton, 31 Dickinson, 23 Tonge, 26 Etherington, 10 Fuller, 12 Kitson
22 Eastham (Eardley 83)
19 Emmanuel-Thomas (Bouazza 90+2)
Substitutes: 13 Halstead, 03 Crainey, 05 Eardley, 04 Southern, 16 Bouazza, 10 Ormerod, 18 Euell
Since Matty Etherington and Ricardo Fuller were only on for those vital last 30 minutes, sparking the Potters' revival and both scoring, I'm going to give it jointly to the pair of them.