Hiding to nothing for Stoke
9th May 2010
At least it was only four...
We really were on a hiding to nothing at Old Trafford on Sunday as Manchester United knew that they had to win if they were going to stand even the slimmest of chances to regain the title should Chelsea lose to Wigan.
As it was, Wigan did us a favour at Stamford Bridge by obliterating our own embarrassing record held for just only two weeks by letting in eight to at least give the Potters' faithful something to cheer about - even if it was at the expense of our hosts at Old Trafford.
In all fairness, this was never a match we expected to win. When the fixture lists came out and we saw the final two away games against Chelsea and United, we always knew we had to be safe from any threat of relegation well before the final run-in and, to give the team and manager credit, that is what they had done so, for us as least, there was only pride to play for.
As you'd expect, United were all guns blazing from the start, but it took 30 minutes before they finally cracked a Stoke defence that was doggedly resisting the script that had been written, but two goals from Fletcher and Giggs relaxed the home fans, who were taunted by the visiting fans at the news of every goal in London. In fact we could have quieted them down even more if Ricardo Fuller's shot on the stroke of half-time had found it's way past Van de Sar.
The second half promised more of the same but this time it was Danny Higginbothamam who gifted the home side their third with a deflection past Asmir Begovic after Rooney had crossed the ball into a crowded six yard. I wouldn't put too much blame on the former United trainee as it seemed likely that Nani would have buried it had not Danny attempted the interception.
TP decided to throw on all three subs just past the hour mark with the unfortunate Higginbothamam, Dean Whitehead and Mamady Sidibe making way for Danny Pugh, Danny Collins and Salif Diao as the manager attempted to shore up the defence and prevent a flood. But there was more to suffer when Rooney's sub, Park scored the fourth and final goal with five minutes remaining, although Danny Pugh and Rory Delap did manage to force Van De Sar into some fine saves as the game (and season) came to an end.
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