Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Sunday November 4 2007
3rd Nov 2007
Here at Vital Stoke, we never try to excuse a poor performance from the Potters, but Saturday's 3-1 defeat came despite a good performance from Stoke throughout, but they were let down by some appalling decisions from the officials and some good breakaways from the Sky Blues who capitalised on the few chances they had as Stoke tried to chase the game.
Stoke fielded their two new signings, Leon Cort and Danny Pugh. Cort joined Ryan Shawcross, Andy Wilkinson and Stephen Wright in defence, with Gaby Zakuani and Carl Dickinson as backup on the bench.
Pugh was given the left midfield role, allowing Richard Cresswell to go forward alongside Ricardo Fuller, leaving Jon Parkin and Vincent Pericard to sit on the bench.
Stoke started brightly with a chance for Fuller who shot high after only 30 seconds. But the first half was a fairly tepid affair, notable only for a referee who constantly blew his whistle, never allowing play to flow and providing a welter of yellow cards.
The second half began with a cast-iron penalty claim from the Potters. Fuller was convincingly forced to the ground in the penalty area by a Coventry player as he went for a Lawrence cross. Although this was right in front of referee Andre Marriner he inexplicably waved play on.
Stoke's sense of injustice was heightened just a few minutes later when Leon Cort believed he had been pushed by the former Crewe player, Dele Adebola. Adebola's subsequent run found Maltese international, Mifsud who fired the ball past Steve Simonsen.
Just two minutes later, the officials raised the Stoke fans' blood pressure even further when Ryan Shawcross rose for a cross and headed home, but the linesman judged that the ball had not crossed the line, even though it looked well over before the Coventry keeper scooped it back.
But there could be no complaints about Coventry's second on 63 minutes. Adebola headed home from a cross from Best. The Potters then managed to get the official to give them a chance of a fight back after Liam Lawrence was judged to have been tripped in the penalty area (it may even have been a harsh decision, but Stoke was due some luck) and Lawrence slotted it under the diving keeper to make it 2-1. Stoke now had to chase the game and they certainly gave it their best shot. A great run down the wing from Danny Pugh, resulted in a cross which just eluded the advancing Stoke pack. But the knock-out punch was delivered with just 10 minutes remaining. Pulis had thrown Jon Parkin on up front, sacrificing Wright in defence, but it naturally left the Potters exposed on the counter-attack. Coventry took their chances on the break as Stoke pushed forward and were able to get their third to wrap up the game.
All-in-all, the Potters played well, but were beaten by the poor set of officials and a Coventry team that, it has to be admitted, took their chances well.
Stoke City: Simonsen, Wright (Parkin 66), Shawcross, Cort, Wilkinson, Lawrence, Delap, Eustace, Pugh (Dickinson 90), Cresswell, Fuller
Subs not used: Hoult, Zakuani, Pericard
Booked: Wright, Eustace, Lawrence, Fuller, Wilkinson
Coventry City: Konstantopoulos, McNamee, De Zeeuw, Turner, Hall, Osbourne, Doyle, Tabb, Simpson (Adebola 37), Mifsud, Best (Kyle 81)
Subs not used: Ward, Stephen Hughes, Cairo
Booked: Best, Turner
Date:Sunday November 4 2007
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