Narrow defeat for Potters
Tuesday 4th January
Tony Pulis made three changes from the side that beat Everton on Saturday with a rare start for Tuncay, replacing Jermaine Pennant who dropped to the bench. Marc Wilson came in for Ricardo Fuller leaving Kenwyne Jones on his own upfront. Robert Huth regained his central defensive role with Danny Higginbotham also back on the bench.
This was a very creditable display by the Potters, who have suffered from heavy defeats at Old Trafford in the past two seasons, and were able to benefit from the absence of Wayne Rooney who had picked up an injury in the weekend win over the Baggies. But the league leaders were determined to hold on to the top spot and soon showed their dominance with a good goal from Hernandez on the half hour mark.
But at the start of the second half it was the Potters who came out of the starting blocks the fastest with Tuncay heading wide and it was the Turkish international who soon turned provider with a well placed cross finding an unmarked Dean Whitehead who headed home to mark the Potters' first goal at Old Trafford since 1980.
But if we had any hopes of a shock point or three it was not to be as Nani put the hosts back into the lead with another good goal with a fierce strike on 62 minutes from the edge of the penalty area.
Defeats at Old Trafford are not a surprise but it was good to see that Stoke were, at times, more than a match for United epitomised by our never-say-die attitude which should give players and fans alike the confidence and belief that we really are improving season on season.