Stoke City 2 Wigan Athletic 2

Last updated : 27 January 2002 By Rob Stanway
Going into this game, on the match preview, I said - "A win is more than necessary, it is essential." I then found out that the league position wasn't actually that bad and 3 points would put us right back up there.

In the end we had to work hard for our point. Wigan came, took the game like they did at their place, by the scruff of the neck. This time, the potters had done enough to get themselves back into the game and almost sneaked the win.

Stoke were still under-stregnth. With Handyside missing, it was easy to spot the holes in the defence. Flynn is doing a great job of covering Handyside and improves every week but the defence has been to slack over the last few games.

The Formation

Thomas is a fantastic player and did a great job with Bjarni down the right wing. I'm still debating wether he is better as a central defender and maybe Rowson should have then played at Right Back with the introduction of Karl Henry in the midfield.

Wigan are Rowson's bogie side and it showed again with quite a dreadful performance. He was repaced with Karl Henry in the second half.

Peter Hoekstra didn't start the 2nd half and wasn't really shining how he usually does in the first half. He's still injured but give him time and he will pull through and help us to promotion.

Dadason was getting some stick for a period in the 2nd half untill he started to work his magic, and earned Stoke the draw by gaining and taking the penalty with a cool head.

2nd Half Formation

As of the 69th minute the side looked like this, with VanDoerzen replaced by Henry and Rowson replaced by Iwelumo when the potters really pushed for that win. Neal replaced Hoekstra from the beginning of the 2nd half.

Goodfellow played well to his stegnth, which is chasing the ball. He always puts in the effort and got his reward with a first half goal. A fantastic ball from Jurgen VanDoerzen saw Goodfellow through and he equalised, placing the ball into the bottom-right corner after his 1 on 1 with the keeper.

Ricky was beginning to get some stick from the Boothen End as he went through a patch in the 2nd half where nothing went right for him. He made up for this though with a fantastic performance near the end. He was coming into his own, and was close to scoring when he was brought down with a very clumsy challenge in the box, Stoke penalty.

Dadason stayed cool once again, and sent the keeper the wrong way with his great penalty. The Boothen End had changed their tune and were now singing 'Oh Ricky Ricky, Ricky Ricky Ricky Ricky Dadason'

One thing that I noticed - I was in a taxi the other day and the driver, noticing my Stoke clothes, said that what annoyed him about the team as they have no bottle (thats putting it nicely compared to how he actually said it!). The youngsters, particuarly Lewis Neal when he came on, did not only a fantastic job in their positions, but put 110% in all the way, battled for 50/50 balls and won. Thats bottle, and more hard work like that (plus stitching up that hole in the defence) should see Stoke begin their climb up the table (Please God!!).