Stoke keep Wolves at bay
A tame affair at The Britannia Stadium saw Stoke held to a goalless draw with promotion chasing Wolves. Chances and attempts on goal were pretty rare on an afternoon where two very evenly matched teams seemed to cancel each other out. Stoke perhaps had the better of the first half, and it was not until a Liam Lawrence effort in stoppage time that we had the first shot on target in the game.
Wolves came out with much more purpose in the second half and started to boss the game with the impressive Olofinjana beginning to run the midfield. However again it was Stoke that came the closest to scoring when Ricardo Fuller hit a 61st minute shot narrowly past the post. Wolves too were creating chances now and while not really troubling Steve Simonsen they had a couple of close shaves with Freddy Eastwood and Andrew Keogh keeping Stokes makeshift defence on its toes. Stoke's inexperienced defence it has to be said did exceptionally well and Clint Hill marshaled his young troops expertly.
With the game petering out to a goalless draw the supporters began to call for new cult hero John Parkin and under the pressure of the supporters 'BEAST' chants Tony Pulis turned to the fan favourite. At this stage Stoke had four strikers on the pitch and appeared to be going all out to try and get the three points. And that was almost exactly what they got as the game was heading into stoppage time Parkin fed a ball through for Rory Delap who went around the goalkeeper only to lose his balance and fall with the goal gaping. It did appear that the Wolves 'keeper Hennessey clipped Delap as he went round him and this was the cause of his loss of balance. To give a penalty however would have been harsh and the end result, while not the most entertaining, was a fair reflection of the afternoon's play.
Stoke fans do have reason for optimism after a disappointing week in the transfer market, as they could have easily taken all of the points against one of the favourites for promotion. Stoke are only a couple of good acquisitions away from being a very good side, and while we will have to be content with these players coming in on loan, things are certainly not as bad as they sometimes seem. In the words of Tony Pulis we will need a few things to 'drop for us' in the transfer market but we will just have to have faith that they do and things could be looking up by the time our next game comes around in two weeks time.
Stoke City: Simonsen, Zakuani, Shawcross, Hill, Dickinson, Lawrence (Parkin, 78), Delap, Matteo, Cresswell, Sidibe (Eustace 84), Fuller.
Subs not used: Hoult, Wilkinson, Sweeney.
Wolves: Hennessey, Foley, Breen, D. Ward, N. Collins, Kightly, Olofinjana, Henry, S. Ward, Keogh, Eastwood (Elliott, 84).
Subs not used: Stack, Edwards, L. Collins, Bennett.
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