Saturday 24th. October
Stoke City versus Watford
The scene was set, in Stoke City managers Mark Hughes 100th. game in charge of the club, for the Potters to continue their great run of recent form. This could see Stoke climbing to a European place, 6th or 7th in the table if they were to win and if other results went in their favour.
Anticipation was high as fans headed to a sold out Britannia Stadium.
Watford had only scored 6 goals in 9 Premier League games, what could possibly go wrong?
Of course, those seasoned Stoke City supporters sensed it was, as often is the case, too good to be true. During the Boots Bats N Balls show,(Every Saturday 10 til 12) presenter Rob Ledgar started the game preview with the question “Is this going to be a typical Stoke thin? We do well for one game, we play a team that we think this should be a breeze and fall over, or is this going to be a change in that philosphy?” (listen again below)
Well it certainly wasn’t a change in that philosophy.
Geoff Cameron left the field early after pulling up with a thigh strain and despite Stoke’s dominance in terms of possession they didn’t really trouble Watford ‘keeper Gomes, the only “shot” on target being an inswinging corner from Shaqiri.
Meanwhile Watford could have scored three or four with their blustering forwards Deeny and Ighalo causing the Stoke defence many problems that they failed to negate.
In hindsight, starting Joselu didn’t pay off for Hughes, he just doesn’t seem confident at home yet.
Cameron’s replacement Mark Wilson was caught on the ball, ultimately costing Stoke the 3 points, with Watford stealing then scoring, despite the Irish centre half having time to clear the ball long.
The Potters seemed to want the game less than the Hornets, a lack of desire which we actually saw the other side of after Stoke conceded the first goal. The supporters saw the tempo of Stoke’s game rise but it was far too brief as their possession counted for very little.
So, what might of been was exactly that once more. Looking at the Premier League table on Sunday morning, a win would have seen Stoke sitting pretty in 7th place with a winnable game at St. James Park (or whatever it’s called nowadays) next up in the league.
However, as the great football philospher Jimmy Greaves once said, “It’s A Funny Old Game”