So our very decent unbeaten run continues and there is much for the Stoke faithful to be happy about.
The game at the DW was a bit unusual to say the least; a two-all draw with Stoke basically scoring all the goals! In the end it’s fair to say that a stalemate was probably the correct result although both teams had their chances to win during the second half. Wigan have been going through a very dodgy spell and were desperate for a result whereas we went into the game full of confidence and looking for three points.
Both teams were missing some key players but looked to get forward at every opportunity. We possibly allowed the game to be a touch too open and end to end but it made for an interesting spectacle for the excellent following of Stokies in the away end.
Given the fact that we all knew that the lads could definitely play (and certainly defend) much better than they did there was perhaps an air of disappointment as the 3000 plus Potters fans filed out of a decidedly damp DW Stadium.
I was gutted we didn’t get the three points but Wigan aren’t that bad a team at home and despite surrendering a lead twice, a point is still a good result.
There was a ripple of discontentment at the final whistle which I had assumed was being directed at the completely out of his depth Mike Jones, who it seems doesn’t realise that in a game of football there are two teams that can be awarded free-kicks. I’m reliably informed (via the Oatcake message board!) that there were more than a few “boos” aimed at the performance which I find quite strange and a touch concerning.
If there’s one thing I’ve never really understood it’s booing your own players, especially after a fairly decent showing. Don’t get me wrong, nobody likes a good tick and a whinge more than me but I normally tend to restrict it to the pub, this column and the Oatcake. Yesterday for example I wasn’t overly happy with the selection of Walters ahead of Tuncay and I couldn’t work out why Whelan came on in the ex-Ipswich skipper’s place but in general I was happy with us extending our recent good run of results.
I guess given the fact that we have broken the 20 point barrier relatively early on it is perhaps tough to say what a good season would be for us. I’m still of the opinion that we should get to 40 points and then see what happens. Hopefully the vast majority of Stokies feel the same and if any of the booing was aimed at the team or manager it will be an isolated incident and we can get back to giving the team our full support when the Tangerines roll into town next weekend.
Blackpool have done extremely well since their promotion to the Premier League and it’s good to see another team who like ourselves have stuck two fingers up to those who assumed they would struggle. It’s still relatively early days though and these next few weeks will be pivotal to their hopes. Saturday’s game could well be a cracker, Ian Holloway has certainly had some sort of epiphany since his days at QPR and from what I’ve seen Blackpool do seem to like to attack in numbers. I do wonder whether this somewhat cavalier approach could play straight into the hands of a team like Stoke though and hopefully our strength and power allied with our excellent wing play will be too much for them on the day. A win for the Potters would see us end our search for a Premier League win in December and put us on a very healthy 24 points as we head into the festive period.
I’m sure that the club have already got a couple of targets in mind to improve the team during the transfer window to help us push on further during the second half of the season. What we as fans must do is continue to get behind the lads and not forget where we’ve come from. Stoke have made massive strides over the last three and a half years but there is still plenty of work for us all to do. As long as we pull together the future at Stoke City is very bright indeed (but it definitely won’t be orange this Saturday!)