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Match Report: Stoke 2-3 QPR (Stoke Fan's Perspective)

Monday 21st November 2011
Before the start of the game I was glad to have Danny Higginbotham back in the starting line-up.  This hasn't changed after the game despite of him not being at the top of his game for the whole 90 minutes. And after the 5-0 defeat at Bolton, Stoke began promisingly with very powerful movements towards Paddy Kenny between the sticks for QPR. Stoke should have been awarded a free-kick right on the edge of the penalty area for a foul by Joey Barton on Jermaine Pennant but referee Mike Jones wasn't interested.

The anger about that decision remained rife when Peter Crouch played a rare good pass for Jon Walters, who made no mistake with his shot. Stoke were 1-0 up for the first time in recent Premier League memory. Stoke were the better side for the first ten minutes and they should have doubled the lead just minutes later when it was clear to see for everyone in the Britannia that Crouch, at times, can't handle his long legs, so to speak. He was past Kenny but couldn't finish from around three metres.

A nervy period followed for Paddy Kenny, in which he kicked the ball too low or too far to the right. Again, Stoke failed to test him and take advantage of his nervy handlings.

So, as Stoke took confidence and advantage from their lead it was just as quickly undone, when Rangers scored out of nothing and with the help of a seemingly non-existent Stoke defence. They were again outplayed like a team of schoolboys as witnessed a few times at Bolton.

From here on it was all about QPR. Stoke were shell-shocked and could no longer seem to perform.  Rory Delap's throws should almost always be a threat, but the Stoke players can't even manage a touch on them. That's something you would expect with all the big Stoke defenders and particularly small QPR players. You would expect that the Premier League teams have learnt their lesson how to deal with the Delap throws. It's not a surprise any more but still an advantage you have to take at times. So, as all Premier League teams seem to have learnt to deal with them, Stoke players seem to have forgotten how to use them properly. Sadly, the same can be said for corners and free kicks. I don't see Pennant as the right man to take them, as I find him to be too selfish at times.

There were glimpses of brilliance when Matty Etherington did his unstoppable runs on the left or broke through the middle towards the goal. Just before the break the Stoke defence was fooled again by a Wright-Phillips / Mackie / Luke Young combination.

Together with two poor referee decisions, the defence was highlighted as the problem after the game. As for the goals the whole back four wasn't fully aware and lacked concentration. That's right for the very moment the goals were conceded but as for creating chances Stoke let slip too many dead balls as well. You could only imagine Tony Pulis' half time speech.

Everything Pulis might have said to his players didn't transform into a better second half performance, as Stoke again conceded a very simple goal less than ten minutes after the re-start. On the plus side, there was some hope again when Ryan Shawcross scored Stoke's second after an Etherington corner and they should have been level if Mike Jones would have given the clear penalty for a Barton foul on Robert Huth.

The five minutes of added time Stoke played like they should have done the majority of the game with real ambition to get at least a point. Glenn Whelan, who came in with just six minutes of normal time to play, just missed two big opportunities. So it was some improvement to see in the first and the last minutes of the game but that wasn't and isn't enough.
Seamus Kennan

Total articles: 4

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