Stoke match report | Vital Football

Stoke match report


Vital Reserves Team
We got what I expected. A hard fought (literally so) game that was tight and that was why I predicted a 1-1 draw. The game

We started well for a change and I thought we might have too much football in us for them but far too many wayward passes caused, mainly, by Stoke not giving players any time on the ball pointed towards us not getting the result we wanted and were earning in that start.

In the end, the difference was one keeper pulling off 3 excellent saves and 3 more very good ones and the other letting 2 in which he would usually have saved.

The stats will show we had 3 times the possession they had, twice as many shots (8-16) and twice as many shots (4-8) on target. Yes, we had as many shots on target as they had shots....... unfortunately, we have yet again succumbed to an overly physical side and only have ourselves to blame.

I will now be critical of Malone, not to put him on the naughty step but to use him as an example of, IMO, a huge recurring problem we have. One I have highlighted before. He made one cross with his right foot the whole game and that was a poor one that sialed harmlessly over the line for a goal kick.. The rest of the game his right foot was merely used to stand on. As with Fozzy, Olsson and, to a lesser extent, Lowe, Malone is easy to negate. Simply get him side on and he can only pass backwards. He is one of half a dozen one legged wonders we have. Not only would the players themselves be much better if they could have the confidence to use the “other” foot, it would greatly improve the team as well and I am surprised the staff aren’t working on it. We hear that Wilson, for instance, practices free kicks every day after training. He, and the other one legged wonders, should also learn to use their “wrong” foot. All too often we end up with a negative pass or a player going 35 yards sideways as there is no pass forwards possible as they are unable to use their good foot due to opposition players being in the way and the way backwards is also blocked so....... running sideways, across the pitch, with the ball is the only option.

As Stockers has already said, we had no stand out player today. Tomori and Huddlestone are probably the best 2 candidates and they only played half the game.

I wasn’t surprised at the team we put out. FL put a bit more “strength” in to counter Stoke’s methodology. So would I have done.

The ref? Made decisions varying from the sublime to the ridiculous.

The sending off? Spot on. I also liked the way he took his time, let the situation cool down and also consulted his assistants before acting.

The aftermath (part 1)? Allen should have walked too. He ran 10 yards and put BJ in a headlock, partly because BJ had just pushed him in the back and partly because he saw BJ “talking” to the ref and wanted to avoid, if at all possible, Etepo getting sent off. He also left a love bite on BJ’s neck. The officials appear not to have seen that and Allen might be looking at an FA charge. I would have sent him off for the attack on BJ rather than giving a yellow. It is what his action merited.

The aftermath (part 2)? BJ should have been sent off too. It is a given that refs punish retaliation more than the original “offence”. I kick you in a tackle, you retaliate will usually see me get a yellow for the tackle and you a red for retaliation. BJ retaliated and should have gone. He may also be looking at an FA charge as, when they were separated, he had a mouthful of Allen’s shirt and that points to him also having done a “Suarez”.

Just before the free kick we scored from, Marriott was 7 yards out, middle of the goal. He wanted to go for the ball but Shawcross (?) put both arms round him and pulled him over. Nailed on penalty? I think so. The ref thought otherwise.

Lawrence’s yellow? Farcical. He was there. Ince pushed the ball left, moved right and jumped at Lawrence. Was Lawro supposed spontaneously dissolve? Ridiculous decision. Unfortunately, apart from 3 well saved shots, Lawro did little else all game.

My biggest worry is for Davies. He signalled “game over” the second he went down. I fear a serious injury and a long, long way back for him. Get well soon Curtis.

Finally, we have yet to find the solution to “physical” teams is my lasting thought from this game.

Carson 5
Bogle 5
Keogh 6
Davies/Tomori 6/7
Bryson/Waghorn 6
BJ/Hudds 6/7
Mount 6
Wilson 6
Marriott 6
Larwence 6
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