Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Wembley dream over: City0-2 Stoke

So that's it then. This years FA Cup dream is over.

To be perfectly honest, this was a pretty very turgid game. Neither side really needed the extra game, and it showed. Both fielded largely second string teams, and the game was often played at a pace more reminiscent of training matches.

I can't really remember a shot on target by either side in normal time. If there was one, it wasn't memorable.

City huffed and puffed, and Jon Parkin on debut put himself about. Stoke looked pretty uninventive. Both keepers could have stayed at home. Quality was lacking from both sides. The game cried out for one player to take charge, but it never came. City's most likely player to do that, McPhail went off 5 minutes before half time. Even at set pieces it was hard to see where and sort of half decent delivery for City was coming from. In most cases it appeared to be Lee Naylor. Not his fault, but enough said.

City could arguably have had a penalty in the dying seconds of normal time when Chopra appeared to be brought down by Collins, but ref Peter Walton either didn't see it, or with literally only seconds to go bottled the decision.

Still, on the bright side, City didn't concede in 90 minutes - never looked like conceding to be fair, and some fringe payers got a run out.

The thought of a further 30 minutes of extra time did for some of the original 13,000 crowd, but those that stayed had to wait only a minuted into extra time to see the Potters take the lead, from a corner. To be honest that looked the only way they were likely to score. By then, Hudson and Gyepes apart, the average height of the City side was about 3 foot 2 after Parkin had been subbed by Chopra mid-way through the second half.

The goal didn't really help matters either way. City looked like they were running on empty as extra time continued, and Stoke were understandably in no hurry to do anything much. Shortly before the end they grabbed a second when after failing to clear a scrappy melee close to the touchline, John Walter grabbed his second goal from an almost impossible angle.

It was disappointing at that point to see so many of those who had stayed for extra time, immediately get up and start leaving. City hadn't played badly and if you were staying on in extra time, surely another 5 minutes wouldn't have hurt to stay and clap the players for their performance and effort, even in a losing cause.

So with the old cliché "we can concentrate on the league" being wheeled out, we face Watford on Saturday. Hopefully, Bothroyd, Bellamy, McNaughton and Whittingham will be back, and City can get three points and their promotion push back on track.

If they put half the effort in they did tonight, but can add some quality that was sadly lacking, we should be OK.

No comments: