Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Sunday August 19 2007
If Alan Pardew feels that his team will be promoted by playing just 'stylish' football then welcome to the harsh reality of life in the Championship.
Stoke City dominated this match from the outset, even gaining five corners within the first 10 minutes. But with the Addicks just contributing a couple of heart stopping moments and a lucky goal assisted into the net via the the backside of a certain recent Potters transfer target, this match turned on two great goals from Ricardo Fuller and Jon 'The Beast' Parkin.
Stoke's direct style, so loved and hated by fans in equal measure - depending on the scoreline at the time, should have made the game comfortable before the half hour mark. Rory Delap, Ryan Shawcross and new loan signing, Jody Craddock (replacing the injured Danny Higginbotham) all saw attempts go just wide and the Potters were very unlucky not to go in at half time with the scores still level. Bad luck had also dogged Stephen Wright in his home debut, who was carried off on 30 minutes with a worrying ankle injury to be replaced by Lewis Buxton in defence.
Pardew, realising that he had to change things, threw on new signing and former Potter, Chris Iwelumo as part of a half time double substitution and the game certainly became more even. Still, it was a surprise when Charlton took the lead on 54 minutes after they gained a free kick on the very edge of the Potters' penalty area. A large Potters wall may have obscured Steve Simonsen's view of the ball but he would have probably saved Reid's free kick had it not bounced in off Fortune's backside and caught Simmo stranded.
Such a setback did not trouble Stoke for long. Within two minutes Stoke were back on level terms with a great shot from Ricardo Fuller. With his back to the goal he outmaneuvered the Charlton defence, then turned and fired a blaster past Weaver, the Addicks' keeper, into the top left hand corner of the net.
Fuller was replaced on 72 minutes to be replaced by Jon Parkin and if Charlton thought things could only get better, they could be hardly be more wrong. After only five minutes the Beast had put the Potters in front with his first competitive goal for the club. After a great run from Mama Sidibe from well within the Potters half, he passed to Parkin who managed a slick turn and nutmeg, before firing the ball low past the keeper.
Stoke now survive as one of only two clubs with their 100% record intact and the even greater pleasure (albeit early) of sitting on the top of the Championship.
Stoke City: Simonsen, Wright (Buxton 33), Craddock, Shawcross, Dickinson, Lawrence (Eustace 90), Matteo, Delap, Cresswell, Sidibe, Fuller (Parkin 74)
Subs not used: Hoult, Pulis
Charlton: Weaver, Moutaouakil (McCarthy 56), Bougherra, Fortune, Thatcher, Sam (Thomas 46), Ambrose, Semedo, Reid, McLeod (Iwelumo 46), Bent
Subs not used: Randolph, Zheng
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Date:Sunday August 19 2007
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