Stoke nearly rock 'Castle
6th January 2008
Nearly 23,000 packed into the Brit and over six million around the world to watch a dramatic night which ended with probably the most entertaining 0-0 draw you'll have witnessed at Stoke for many a season.
An overstatement? Possibly, but you must forgive us poor Stoke fans a moment of pleasure in the limelight as we took the Toon Army to the brink and so very nearly walked away with the prize.
Yes, the Magpies had their chances as well - most memorable was Michael Owen's first half chance but was denied by a slippery ball and Steve Simonsen's fingernails. But the moment of pure hope, joy and utter horror for Stoke and neutrals alike came just after Jon Parkin's introduction on 65 minutes. A classic Ricardo Fuller dash to the goal line ended with Fuller turning it back to Parkin, who fired it at goal from just two yards out. Somehow with Shay Given and various Newcastle defenders throwing themselves in front of the ball it cannoned off them and oh, so slowly trickled past the post for a corner.
The players had emerged to fireworks and scarves being waved from both sets of supporters, but unfortunately the first half did not live up to expectations for the Potters as Stoke gave the visitors much more respect than they deserved. Given was almost a spectator in the first 45 minutes, but Newcastle with Owen and Viduka at the front could not break down a dogged Potters' defence with Andy Wilkinson, Carl Dickinson, Ryan Shawcross and Leon Cort all on good form.
Tony Pulis sprinted to the dressing room at half-time and you can only imagine what he must have said to his team for in the second half, Stoke showed much more confidence and took the game to the Magpies. But the Premier League team never really showed any class and Stoke had all the real chances leaving Allardyces' men to fire high balls into the stands.
So it ended all square and Stoke will ruing the missed opportunity if not the extra pay day with the replay at St. James Park on Wednesday 16th January.
Stoke City: Simonsen, Wilkinson, Shawcross, Cort, Dickinson, Lawrence, Eustace (Pulis 90), Pugh, Cresswell, Sidibe (Parkin 65), Fuller (Pericard 90)
Subs not used: Hoult, Zakuani
Newcastle United: Given, Rozehnal, Taylor, Faye, Jose Enrique, Duff (LuaLua 74), Smith, Butt, N'Zogbia, Viduka (Carroll 87), Owen
Subs not used: Harper, Cacapa, Edgar