Battling Stoke deserve point
4th October 2009
Tony Pulis threw down the gauntlet to his team with a rare public rebuke after the disappointing performance against Man United last week and countered his critics by playing two strikers up front away from home. Both James Beattie and Ricardo Fuller returned to the fray with Glenn Whelan making way for Salif Diao as he made his first appearance of the season after recovering from a back injury.
The Potters succumbed to a 3-1 defeat here last season, but they're showing signs that they might not be as easy a push-over as they were on the road last season, but they still have to gain that elusive win away from home.
Stoke started brightly with both Fuller and Beattie getting shots on goal. Beattie's header came from a good move down the wing from Fuller and was turned in by Etherington, but the finishing wasn't strong enough to trouble Howard.
Stoke also had to withstand concerted efforts from the home side with a long range shot from Rodwell which went wide, a low header from Cahill which went straight to Sorensen and an eighteen yard effort from Osman which brought a great save from the Danish keeper to tip it over the bar. But both defences contained the opposition well with Stoke quite comfortably going into the interval level with the hosts.
The second half started as the first had ended with both sides getting forward and it was Stoke who took the first
advantage after the Potters earned a corner on 50 minutes. Etherington's corner kick was well picked up by Robert Huth who rose highest to head to the left hand corner of the net. But it didn't last long with Everton fighting back with an impressive goal from Osman whose shot from outside the penalty area left Sorensen with no chance as the ball went in off the bottom of the bar. Stoke then had to withstand a battering from the home side but Sorensen was again well positioned to stop another point blank shot from Cahill.
As we entered the four minutes of added on time, it was the Potters who threatened more to nick a last minute goal but in the end the points were shared. It was a good point for the Potters, but it was even better to see Stoke regain their confidence with an impressive, battling display which will help to dispel memories of the capitulation at the hands of United just eight days before.
07 Bilyaletdinov (Jo 75)
21 Osman (Yakubu 76)
01 Nash, 23 Neill, 19 Gosling, 11 Jo, 22 Yakubu, 35 Agard, 37 Baxter
15 Diao (Whelan 77)
10 Fuller (Kitson 90+1)
01 Simonsen, 05 Cort, 28 Wilkinson, 06 Whelan, 07 Lawrence, 20 Sanli, 12 Kitson