It was hard to make out which team was in a play-off spot & which was slumming it towards the bottom. Neither deserved all 3 points…or even a goal. McClean headed on to the bar, & a last minute free kick scraped Stoke’s bar. Not much to show for a midlands derby. Here’s how it unfolded in real time:
Haphazard Derby (6th place) vs the new Solid Stoke (17th, unbeaten in 5). Lost is stamper Sam (suspended for last week’s stamping), so do they give Bojan a run? Nope, it’s Ryan under-performing Woods. This game could go anywhere, as both teams decide to have a “huddle” before kick-off. Maybe we should hand out prayer-mats…?
3.30 Derby fans lighten the mood with “Gary Rowett, your football is ****!” Ironic or ignorance? We’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.
7.25 There appears to be a hole in Stoke’s midfield where all back-passes drop through like a stone through a wet paper bag. This last one from Afobe resulted in Jack making a decent save. Stoke look poor.
9.15 Charlie knocks over a player & tries to lob the keeper. Foul, though.
16.12 Corners are looking dangerous now Charlie is back. Even Woods looks vaguely awake. Ince looks devastated after missing an almost impossible chance.
25.05 Two world-class saves from Jack, who’s decided to keep Stoke in it.
30.10 As Charlie takes out Lawrence, everyone decides it’s time for a drink.
39.45 As the Derby fans cheer loudly despite the ball getting nowhere near the goal, we have to remind ourselves that Derby are in a play-off spot and playing at home. Good grief.
43.40 Afobe has pulled something running along too fast. Time for Diouf?? Has he even scored this season?
45+1 IT’S DIOUF TIME!!!! Well, he brings a little something to the team…
Half time goalless.
49.25 I take back what I said about Charlie & corners, as he plays one straight into the side netting. He’s not wearing his contact lenses today.
52.02 Batth takes a shot in the face. God, this is glamorous for him. He looks the best player on the pitch.
58.01 Butland lets a shot go screaming past the post, then immediately complains that no one stopped the shot. No attempt to save it.
61.23 Charlie replaced by Ashley Williams. Even RyanS is trying to make sense of that.
65.15 Another drive past Jack’s post that sees him rooted to the spot. Goal coming surely. Fans starting chanting for Bojan…
69.10 Williams clashes with Lawrence, and is furious as Ash thinks it’s HIM whose been impeded. Yellow for Ashley, who comes over to the ref looking guilty – they need to work at that; he should look defiant!
71.10 Ince loses the ball yet again. I often wonder what division he thinks he’s in.
73.55 As both sides play schoolboy touchline football – trying to keep the ball in play – Ince takes the ball up the other end, and blows another chance.
76.01 Stoke hit the post!!! McClean header from an Edwards cross. BUT KEEPER KELLE ROOS HASN’T HAD TO MAKE A SAVE YET!!!!
84.56 Darren Fletcher on for Woods. What a mixed bag.
88.12 Stoke almost dirties Roos’ gloves with a shot over the bar.
88.55 Ouch!!! Shawcross gets a yellow for a poor tackle on the very edge of the box. 6 inches outside rules the ref, spraying the pitch mercilessly.
90.00 Wilson’s shot is turned on to the bar & over by Jack…but somehow it’s a goal kick. Stoke get away lightly! REALLY lightly.
Somehow it finishes 0-0. Stoke steal a point. Easy.