Stoke fire on one cylinder
24th Nov 2007
Stoke came away with a good point in a bore draw at Turf Moor. The Clarets will count themselves unlucky not to come away with all three points, but on a day of little superlatives, it was the Stoke defence that earned the plaudits - but really no-one else.
With Liam Lawrence ruled out as a precaution with a possible hamstring problem, Pulis was forced into another midfield shuffle, but left fans questioning why he decided against putting Richard Cresswell up front alongside Mama Sidibe in place of the suspended Ricardo Fuller. Instead he gave Vincent Pericard a start after he 'had impressed in training' according to the manager. Obviously this 'good impression' had evaporated by early in the second half as he was replaced by Jon Parkin on 51 minutes. This left Cresswell in midfield allowing Danny Pugh to slip to defence, even though he had Gaby Zakuani, Andy Wilkinson and Carl Dickinson as available backup.
This odd team selection left the Potters disjointed up front, not a surprise then that (according to the official site) we only had four shots in total either at or near the goal the whole game. Potters fans that were present may even doubt this official account.
But it was the defence that earned the praise on a cold day up on the Lancashire moors. Ryan Shawcross and Leon Cort held the line well and staved off a comparative barrage of Claret attacks. OK, not a classic in a million years, but, to be positive, we did come away with a point and our first clean sheet since Barnsley on September 18th. That, at least, would have made Tony Pulis happy - if not the travelling fans.
Burnley: Kiraly, Alexander, Carlisle, Unsworth, Harley, Elliott, McCann, Mahon (Gudjonsson 80), Lafferty (Akinbiyi 77), Gray, Blake (Jones 87)
Subs not used: Jensen, James O'Connor
Stoke City: Simonsen, Wright, Cort, Matteo, Shawcross, Pugh, Eustace, Delap, Pericard (Parkin 51), Cresswell, Sidibe
Subs not used: Hoult, Zakuani, Wilkinson, Dickinson