Season 2012-13 Result
Stoke City 2-1 Newcastle United
 Walters 81,
 Jerome 85.
 Cisse 47.
Date: 28/11/2012  Venue: Britannia Stadium  Competition: Premiership
Crowd: 26,793
Match Report Submitted on 03/12/2012 by Smike
So, I blamed Trapper. Trapper blamed Me. In the end we both blamed John. Either way in the true light of day it really didn’t seem like a good idea, but no one was prepared to admit it! Of course, John’s got a good excuse: the dementia is kicking in now that he’s retired!!

It was confirmation for one of my colleagues, he said this morning, ‘You’re going to Stoke tonight? You really are mad!’

It was half time at sunlun and after copious amounts of beer, we made a daft pact, and once you make a daft, drunken pact you know what happens. It went something like......

‘Let’s go to Stoke!’

‘I’ll go if you’ll go!’...............

The thing is, speaking from past experience Stoke is not the most welcoming place anyway, and I can think of better things to do than travel all the way to Staffordshire on a wet, cold, wintery Wednesday night at the end of November. Added to the fact that they are not the most attractive, entertaining team in the league, and some of our recent performances have hardly set the world alight, I was expecting a long, cold night and another mundane performance!!

So why bother go?

Well, a pact is a pact, isn’t it?

I remember a lad called Chris Palmer; he lived around the corner from me as a kid. Some of you may remember him; he had a brother called Robert. Anyway, during the mid seventies he was somewhat unique. Due to some family connection he supported Stoke City. He was the first person I’d met who was a fan of someone other than Newcastle or our filthy, inferior neighbours. While playing football in the street we would pretend to be Supermac, Terry Hibbitt, Stewie Barrowclough or Jinky Smith. Chris would be Alan Hudson, Jimmy Greenoff or Terry Conroy. I remember he had Stoke pictures on his bedroom wall and his prized possession was his 1972 League Cup Final programme. He talked passionately about how good they were, what good players they had and how they’d produced the best 2 goalkeepers England had ever seen in Banks & Shilton. I remember thinking if your best players are both Goalkeepers you must have a pretty shit team!! Anyway, I took an instant disliking to them, mainly due to the colour of their kit!! And once they signed John Tudor from us in 1976, that was it...hated them!!!
Trapper and John picked me up from work and we were on the A19 by 3.45pm. Trapper provided the car, John provided the Beer and I provided the Monster Munch, Jammy Dodgers and the Punk Rock! We picked Mel up en-route at Knutsford Services.

The general feeling was that we’d be happy with a point. We’ve lost the last 3 games and Stoke haven’t been beaten in the league at The Britannia since Feb. They’ve only conceded one goal at home this season, we couldn’t score in a brothel with a golden tadger at the moment and without Ben Arfa we’d definitely lost the only player who could provide that creative spark. Nevertheless, if we could absorb the inevitable aerial bombardment from set pieces perhaps we could hit them on the break. Wishful thinking, I know? Problem is, we’ve been diabolical lately. Personally would have been disappointed with 7 points from the last 3 games....we’ve accrued NONE!!

It’s becoming more and more evident game by game that not investing in the summer was a huge mistake. Yes, we punched above our weight last season by finishing 5th, but 4th place is up for grabs this season and with some decent investment we could’ve been challenging rather than considering the possibility of a relegation dog fight. Injuries and suspensions haven’t helped but this merely re-iterates how important it is to have quality strength in depth. Some people are blaming the European exploits but that doesn’t wash with me. The fact is we knew how many games we’d be involved in before the season started and therefore should have prepared appropriately by bringing in suitable players. Some of these new, young players are showing some potential but, for now that’s all it is, potential.

The worst performance of the evening must go to Trapper for his determination in finding as much traffic congestion as possible! It seemed he’d do anything to stop us getting there in time for a pint...Bah Humbug! As a result we missed the first five minutes!
Fortunately, unlike our last visit there was no ‘welcome committee’ waiting for us, probably because we were late. The ground looks quite impressive from the outside as it’s on a bit of a hill but it’s very similar to the majority of these new stadia and it looks disjointed inside as 3 of the corners are open!! It also, for some reason, has a fenced in compound outside the away end (similar to Swansea) and this just adds to the confusion for gaining access to the turnstiles.
We started quite well; indeed we were the better team for most of the first half in what was becoming our best performance for some time! We were up against it however, the referee having words with our players every time we put in a tackle while Charlie Adams seemed to be able to do what the hell he wanted. Perch, who was our best player on the night, had our first chance with a right foot shot as we matched them in all areas of the park. Williamson, probably the worst player on the night the nearly scored an own goal that generated an hilarious reaction from the ‘Tramp In A Tracksuit’ on the touchline. The temperature plummeted mid way through the first half; in fact it felt like well below freezing. Trapper was tempted to have a half time coffee but ended up with a pie and a pint. The pies were probably the worst pies ever, with a potato filling with very little meat! The beer was nearly £4 a pint!!
We were just getting back to our seats for the second half when Cisse opened the scoring! Tiote won the ball and Ba did really well and put in a right footed shot which Gordon Begovic Banks could only parry into the path Cisse who was on hand to score from close range.
Their fans, who had been pretty poor all night despite their boisterous reputation began to get restless and at that point it looked like we were poised to hit them on the break. Indeed, both Cisse and Ba had identical chances which Begovic managed to save. Had either of these chances hit the net we’d have gone on to win the game. Then with 10 minutes to go, just as we were daring to imagine the 3 points Walters scored a header from a cross from the right after Coloccini drifted out of position. Williamson, who looked slower than a Tesco delivery van was left stranded. 5 minutes later Jones out-muscled the hapless Williamson and Jerome was on hand to net the winner! Don’t think even Smith, Barrowclough, Hibbit or Tudor could’ve saved us tonight! At this point we heard the famous Stoke atmosphere for the first time! We’d forgotten they were there!!

Absolutely frozen and totally pi$$ed off, we headed for the exit.

We took heart from how much better the performance was, but the way we capitulated in the final 10 minutes was difficult to take. We thought Perch had been booked which would have meant him missing the next game and took some consolation when it was revealed on the radio that it was Anita who’d been given the yellow card and not Perch!!

So, it seems we’re winning 3 points about as often as Sturdy gets the beers in at the moment!! As it turned midnight, we’d just about thawed out and concluded it’s imperative we beat Wigan on Monday otherwise we really are in deep sh*t!