Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Wednesday November 29 2006
Stoke continued their impressive run of form with a 3-0 demolition of the league leaders at the Britannia.
Three second half goals in seven minutes from Ricardo Fuller, Liam Lawrence and Mama Sidibe saw Cardiff crumble and finished off their night with Stephen McPhail seeing red after raising his arm to Lee Hendrie.
Stoke now end November with five wins out of five and have not conceded a single goal in that time whilst scoring eight.
Tony Pulis, surprisingly, gave Vincent Pericard the nod over the returning Ricardo Fuller who was left on the bench and started with the same team that beat West Brom on Saturday. Pericard's laid back attitude in Saturday's game continued tonight which saw several chances go begging in a lack lustre first half performance from both teams. In fact it was Cardiff's Chopra who had the best chance but somehow managing to head wide from six yards.
The second half saw Pulis finally face up to reality making a quick substitution seven minutes in, replacing the ineffectual Pericard with Fuller and it was no surprise to the fans that five minutes later Fuller, after good work from Lawrence, took the ball around a defender in the penalty area and clinically slotted the ball past the keeper for goal number 1. Number 2 arrived just two minutes later as Lawrence claimed his first goal for the Potters after Cardiff didn't clear a corner from Hendrie and he slammed the ball into the back of the net. With the Potters' fans hardly able to draw breath, goal number 3 appeared two minutes later. Fuller breaking into the edge of the penalty area passed the ball to Sidibe who slammed in a low shot just inside the right hand post for his first goal in eleven games.
Cardiff had no chance of coming back. Lawrence was replaced by Patrik Berger and Stoke continued to pile on the pressure and it was nearly Berger who had a fourth but some wayward finishing saw the ball fly over the crossbar.
To complete the Bluebirds' misery, McPhail was sent off by referee, Mike Riley for swinging an arm at Lee Hendrie after words had been exchanged when the midfielder brought down Hendrie in a crunching tackle.
A great night to be a Stokie. The doubters were saying last week that these two games against 'class' opposition would test the Potters. Well, they've passed both tests with flying colours and this particular class team need fear no-one.
Stoke City: Simonsen, Hoefkens, Duberry, Higginbotham, Griffin, Hendrie (Brammer 87), Russell, Diao, Lawrence (Berger 68), Sidibe, Pericard (Fuller 52).
Substitutes Not Used: Hill, Buxton. Booked: Duberry.
Cardiff City: Alexander, McNaughton, Purse, Johnson, Wright, Ledley (Kamara 66), Scimeca, McPhail, Parry, Chopra, Thompson (Campbell 75).
Substitutes Not Used: Howard, Cooper, Gunter.
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Date:Wednesday November 29 2006
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