Vital Football

Latest Stoke City News

Toothless Stoke draw

Stoke City
1 - 1
Plymouth Argyle

Britannia Stadium

26/08/06 3pm

Attendance: 11,626


Stoke City survived another dreadful performance to scrape a 1-1 draw against Tony Pulis' former club, Plymouth Argyle at the Britannia Stadium.

With the exception of Steve Simonsen, without whom the Potters would have surely lost by at least two or three goals, this was a game that nearly lived up that dismal defeat at the hands of Darlington on Tuesday night. To emphasise what a poor performance it was, I can never remember a Stoke team being booed off the field at half time - whilst winning 1-0!

Pulis brought back Luke Chadwick, Carl Hoefkens and Dave Brammer after their rest in midweek and Danny Higginbotham passed a fitness test to return to defence. On paper this is the Potters` strongest defence but they were soon allowing the Pilgrims 'access all areas' and were heavily relying on Simonsen to stop the visitors getting the early advantage. In the first half hour super Simo was a full stretch to stop a shot from Nick Chadwick going into the bottom left hand corner of the net, another finger tip save from Barry Hayles in the top left hand corner and finally with the ball rebounding off everyone, Simonsen got in the way of a goal bound ball before Hoefkens finally managed to clear.

Stoke's goal came five minutes before half time - against the run of play. Good work by Pericard, holding the ball in the penalty area and then passing back to Sidibe who fired a low shot from 12 yards past the Plymouth keeper into the bottom right hand side of the net.

The second half started livelier as Plymouth raised their game in an effort to get back on level terms. Pulis reverted to the tried and tested tactics of two seasons ago - get all eleven players back to defend and hit long balls down the park. The Pilgrims passed the ball around comfortably, whilst the Potters continued to struggle to get a rhythm going. On the hour mark, Luke Chadwick made way for Jeff Whitley. Chadwick had not been his normal energetic self and is obviously still suffering.

After 75 minutes, Plymouth finally managed to get past the redoubtable Simonsen following their third corner in quick succession. Amid a tangle of bodies in the six yard box, striker Barry Hayles managed to hit the ball past Simonsen for the predicted equaliser.

As the clock ticked towards the final whistle it was still the visitors who piled on the pressure and may even have had the final laugh had it not been for a timely tackle on sub Rueben Reid from Michael Duberry. Seconds later, Reid nearly had another chance with Pulis angrily pointing at his watch.

If Messrs Coates, Pulis and Rudge needed reminding where they need to splash the cash, this game would have reminded them. If Stoke were struggling in defence it is nothing to what they were doing in attack. Dave Brammer, in particular, struggled in midfield and offered little support to Vincent Pericard and Mama Sidibe up front. Pericard seems to have great trouble staying on his feet and whilst he certainly had his fair share of attention from the Plymouth defence, he has to learn to use his height to his advantage. Too often he tumbled to the ground just for the referee to wave play on. With Sam Bangoura still unfit and Pulis not exactly eagerly anticipating his return, Stoke are in desperate need of the much talked about '20 goals a season striker' and there are only five days left to do something about it.

Stoke: Simonsen, Hoefkens, Duberry, Hill, Higginbotham, Chadwick (Whitley 60), Russell, Brammer, Sweeney (Harper 81), Sidibe, Pericard.
Subs not used: Sigurdsson, Pulis, Dickinson.

Plymouth: McCormick, Connolly, Doumbe, Aljofree, Capaldi (Reid 73), Norris, Wotton, Nalis, Hodges, Hayles, Chadwick (Ebanks-Blake 56).
Subs not used: Buzsaky, Sawyer, Summerfield.

Star Player

Steve Simonsen without a doubt. That the keeper should gain the award should tell you all you need to know about the rest of the team.

Writer:Chris Baldwin
Date:Saturday August 26 2006
Time: 11:14PM

Login to post a comment

Site Journalists

Tom Barker
Editor email

Current Poll (see more polls)

Tottenham MotM
Suggested By:
Martins Indi0%
Sub - Berahino50%
Sub - Afellay0%
Sub - Cameron0%
ScoopDragon Premier League Network Sites

League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
1 Chelsea 26 20 3 3 63 36
2 Man City 25 16 4 5 52 22
3 Spurs 25 14 8 3 50 28
4 Arsenal 25 15 5 5 50 26
5 Liverpool 25 14 7 4 49 24
6 Man Utd 25 13 9 3 48 17
7 Everton 26 12 8 6 44 15
8 WBA 26 11 7 8 40 4
9 West Ham 26 9 6 11 33 -9
10 Stoke 25 8 8 9 32 -6
11 Burnley 26 9 4 13 31 -9
12 Watford 26 8 7 11 31 -13
13 Southampton 25 8 6 11 30 -3
14 AFC Bournemouth 26 7 5 14 26 -15
15 Swansea 26 7 3 16 24 -25
16 Middlesbrough 26 4 10 12 22 -9
17 Crystal Palace 26 6 4 16 22 -13
18 Leicester City 25 5 6 14 21 -19
19 Hull City 26 5 6 15 21 -27
20 Sunderland 26 5 4 17 19 -24
Write for Vital Football
Latest F1 News
Latest Vital Boxing News
The Vital Football Members League

Recent Stoke City Results (view all)

Stoke City Fixtures (view all)

Feb 26 2017 1:30PM : Tottenham Hotspur (a)
Barclays Premier League
Mar 4 2017 3:00PM : Middlesbrough (H)
Barclays Premier League
Mar 11 2017 12:30PM : Manchester City (a)
Barclays Premier League
Mar 18 2017 3:00PM : Chelsea (H)
Barclays Premier League
Apr 1 2017 3:00PM : Leicester City (a)
Barclays Premier League
Apr 4 2017 7:45PM : Burnley (a)
Barclays Premier League
Vital Football Comment