Saturday, January 08, 2011

FA Cup 3rd Rnd: Stoke 1-1City

Crikey, it's that time of year again when City set out on the road to Wembley.
Wembley has of course been our second home in recent years with the two visits in the 2008 competition, and "that" Play-Off final last year, which I still can't bear to recall.

At round three stage though, the dream of making the trip again, is just that - a dream. There's a long way to go, and we have to get past the first hurdle, Stoke City, at their gaff. Never an easy ask.

I fancied the Bluebirds for this one. Even without Jay B, Big John, and Bellars, I just had a feeling that we might sneak something. When Chops put us a goal up after just 8 minutes from what sounded like a stunning Stephen McPhail cross, things were looking good.

You just knew though that Stoke would come back hard at us. They're not the prettiest team to watch, but they are big, strong and have some very decent players. Kenwynne Jones and Rory Delap were both on the bench but both came on later in the game. Their Welsh manager, Tony Pulis has moulded them into a decent Premiership outfit - never going to win many (any?) trophies, but incredibly hard to beat. The fact they are an established Premiership side now is testament to his management, and you know the players really play for him.

And so it was that Stoke did come back hard, finishing the first half on top with Tuncay grabbing the equaliser right on the whistle.

Stoke started the second period like a firestorm, testing City's recently fragile defence to the limits. Listening on the radio it sounded like it was all Stoke, with City grateful for small counter attacks. It seemed as though it was only a matter of time before they took the lead, but somehow City held on, aided and abetted by a defence that was showing far more steel than of late, and 'keeper Marshall, who kept any further effort out. The fact that Stoke brought on Jones and Delap to try and finish this one in one go showed how much they wanted to win it, and how well City did to keep them out.

BBC report here

So a battling draw for City, who can now look forward to bringing the Premiership side back to the CCS on Tuesday 18th January. As we sing......

"I'll be there...., I'll be there....with my little pick and shovel I'll be there......!!!!"

Up the Bloooobirds!

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