Yes. A stale stalemate. Well, what did we expect? The most exciting moment was Gary Rowett’s late substitutions. But it’s a point against a 3rd place side. Hear the 2 minute live report as the final whistle blows:
Here’s how the game unfolded:
0.00 No kidding: Tony Pulis is late out, & appears just as “Delilah” blares out of the speakers like he’s Tom Jones at a stadium gig. You couldn’t have choreographed it better. It’s followed by a confused Remembrance minute, with fans applauding, singing, shhhing. Chaos in front of the TV cameras. Boro have a changed striking pair, and Stoke have shuffled at the back adding Shawcross as a surprise gift, with Indi at left back!?!? A gail is blowing in, and Stoke haven’t beaten Pulis in 26 years…this has all the making of a Halloween horror.
0.54 Etebo shoved off the ball. THIS is what it’s going to be like. Physical.
9.20 Pulis is stunned to see Saido Berahino playing like a footballer! Leaping like a salmon to save a throw-in, then putting in a decent cross (much to the surprise of Afobe).
13.10 Unbelievably, Jack clears the ball over the top of the stand!!! He’s a Pulis-boy through and through.
15.10 Shawcross pulling Hugill’s shirt all over the place. Welcome back, Ryan!
17.35 Pulis & Crouch high-5 as Pete goes for a warm up. Sweet.
19.30 Shawcross takes out Hugill and gets yellowed. Hey, the panto has started!
22.01 Clayton is booked for a challenge on Etebo…but replay shows it to be innocuous. Meanwhile, Boro think they can beat Butland from distance. Really?
36.10 Tom Edwards surprising everyone with a long ball into the penalty area…where Shawcross (what’s he doing there?!) almost connects.
Half time 0-0. Cancelling each other out. No huge surprise.
45.00 It’s the witching hour…or the few minutes after the break, when Stoke usually concede. Nothing so dramatic today.
50.08 Best moment of match as back pass goes so high that keeper Randolph has to dramatically head the ball away for a throw. Attendance is a respectable 24,553.
56.37 Shawcross gets on the end of a long ball, but his header is saved with a dive from keeper Randolph. That would have immortalised Ryan.
61.12 Rowett clearly thinking of some weird substitution, whilst Edwards puts in another of his deadly looking crosses.
65.30 Hugill beats Shawcross for a 1 on 1 with Butland, but Jack gets the better of him. Ryan almost a villain! But he was on a yellow card, after all.
74.09 Butland saves Stoke’s bacon again, as Howson latches on to a loose ball, but is thwarted by Jack’s knees.
77.35 As Afobe is flattened, and Tavernier wastes his only chance firing over, the most exciting thing that might happen today is Stoke’s subs coming on…sometime. McClean? Crouch? Bojan? All three??? James will get a great poppy welcome from the Boro fans, no doubt.
80.43 Yes all 3. Etebo, Saido, and Afobe are sacrificed. Yes, this is the loudest it’s been!
82.01 Randolph has to fist the ball away from a McClean cross aimed at Crouch, who tumbles into the net.
89.32 After Stoke play long balls in the air, aimed mainly at Crouch, Boro return playing passes along the floor!
90+3 Yes, it finishes a thrilling 4-3…no, seriously, it’s 0-0, & Sky Sports TV should have known better than to screen this live. Someone at Sky is clearing his desk out as we speak.