Stoke Super Subs rule at The Lane
White Hart Lane
24th October 2009
The omens were not good at the start of the match. The 1,800 Stokies who packed the visitors' corner of the South Stand at The Lane were treated to a brief glimpse of Thomas Sorensen arriving to warm-up and then quickly disappearing as the effects of a stomach virus curtailed any further participation in the match leaving Steve Simonsen with little warning for his first start of the season. This was virtually the same scenario as at Fratton Park last season, when Stoke played Pompey and meant that Simmo would be again facing Peter Crouch who put one past him that day with an acrobatic overhead kick.
But this was not going to be a repeat of that day twelve months ago when Stoke lost 2-1 to Pompey or indeed the match against Spurs back in January when we lost 3-1, which should act as yet another pointer as to how far the Potters have come in the last year.
With the exception of Sorensen and Robert Huth (now suspended for three games), Tony Pulis settled on the same starting eleven for the third match in a row and, as expected, brought in Andy Wilkinson for the German international.
Stoke started the brighter of the two teams and should have got into the lead after just a few minutes when Matty Etherington put the ball across the goalmouth but Woodgate managed to bundle it wide. After that early shock for the home side, they turned up the pressure on the Stoke second string keeper as Crouch and Lennon both saw their shots on target well saved by Simmo. James Beattie also got into the defensive action just before the half hour mark with a vital clearance right on the goal line that seemed destined for the net and just a couple of minutes later Spurs had their best chance as Corluka's shot had the Spurs prematurely cheering but the ball rebounded off the left hand post with Simmo beaten.
Down the right hand wing, Danny Collins struggled all afternoon with the nippiness of little Aaron Lennon. The England international was probably their best player of the day and always looked dangerous but, all-in-all, battling Stoke deserved their draw at the half-time whistle.
The second half started with Spurs maintaining their pressure on the Stoke goal and were helped along with a careless tackle from Salif Diao on the edge of the penalty area. But Lennon's free kick was well saved again by Simonsen who never put a foot wrong throughout the game.
Pulis stirred the attack up with just under half and hour remaining with the introduction of Tuncay in place of Beattie. Glenn Whelan also replaced Rory Delap. The Turkish international is keen to impress and set up about the task with enthusiasm (but, maybe not surprisingly, did seem to lack some match fitness) and he could have capped his day with his first goal for the club, but saw his effort go just wide.
But with just over ten minutes remaining, Stoke were gifted another bit of luck with the departure of Lennon. He'd been injured after falling awkwardly in a clash with Whelan and Redknapp was forced to play on with just ten players after having already used his three substitutions.
The balance of play sifted towards the visitors and Stoke poured forward with the breakthrough coming in the 85th minute. Fuller doing a typical mazy run down the wing, jinked past the defender on the edge of the penalty area and found both Whelan and Tuncay waiting. A neat pass to Glenn was all the Irish international needed and he fired the ball past Gomes for the winner right in front of the Stoke fans in the South Stand.
All we had to do was wind the clock down and it was a tense five minutes of added on time for the Stokies until the final whistle. In typical fashion, Abdy Faye cane over to celebrate with the fans in what was 'the shock result' of the day and Stoke's first win at White Hart Lane since 1975.