Everton 0-1 Stoke: Potters Christmas Toffee
Stoke City enjoyed Boxing day delight with victory at Everton to leap frog their opponents and ensure Xmas joy for Stoke supporters.
Bojans 37th minute penalty was enough to give all 3 points for the Potter's on cold, wintry and what turned out to be a very long afternoon for both sides, with 17 minutes of stoppage time when combining both halfs of the match.
The majority of which came after only 4 minutes when Everton's Romelu lukaku and Stoke's Ryan Shawcross clashed heads with the Potters skipper supposedly needing stitches and returning with a bandage around his head. Both players ok to continue.
Stoke enjoying knocking the ball about at Goodison in the opening exchanges find themselves with a great chance after 10 minutes. A great tackle from Whelan on half way finds Bojan who squares the ball to Diouf, who when probably should of shot, instead decides to try and play the ball back to Bojan and nothing comes of the attack. Stoke over playing the ball. Should be a goal up but still 0-0.
The game was lackluster from that point up until a moment of controversy in the 35th minute. Leighton Baines was put through on the Stoke goal only for Johnathan Walters to bring the England international down, it appeared that Walters was the last man and surely a Red card was about to come, however referee Lee Mason did not see it that way, Walters escaping with a yellow with Everton players, staff and fans furious at the decision. Walters a lucky man.
From the result of that free kick to Everton, Potters midfielder Glen Whelan clears the ball from the area with a long ball up field which finds Bojan who's fast pace outwits Everton's James McCarthy who Brings the former Barcelona man down on the area and is awarded a penalty for his troubles. Bojan dusts himself off, steps up, and as cool as you like gives the Potter's a lead. one nil to the visitors.
It was a game of handbags for the rest of the half with neither side producing a lot. 9 minutes into stoppage time at the end of the first half, Everton should be level. A cross from Steven Naismith finds an open Kevin Mirallas and with Begovic to beat, puts it wide. Poor effort. A long first half is finally over 45+10.
Second half starts with Everton forced into two changes after a first half plagued by injuries with Phil Jagielka and Tim Howard forced off.
The second half takes a while to get going and it's not until the 65th minute we get some action. Leighton Baines with a great shot from the edge of the area forcing Begovic to make a great save. Got to do better than that to beat the Bosnian International.
The second half completely ticks away with neither side again producing anything to get the fans riled and make for a better match. A lackluster match in truth. Its only in stoppage time at the end of the second half that a glimmer of hope shines for Everton, Steven Naismith turns in the box and is about to pull the trigger, before a wonderful match saving tackle from Stoke defender Erik Pieters stops the Evertonian dead in his tracks.
All in all not a very good match for any fan to watch but I would rather not be good and take all 3 points than to be great and get nothing.
Forget Christmas Pudding. Bojan made it sticky toffee with custard on top.
Victory for Stoke, a jolly Xmas indeed.