Stoke matched a promoted side (whilst most people were more interested in following Pulis vs Lampard for a playoff spot). Moist eyes saw off Charlie, but Stoke look possibles for next year’s contenders. Possibles only. Don’t sink your money on it. As for that new home shirt they wore, the jury is still out on that too. Here’s how it unfolded in real time:
The promotion party you can hear is the Sheffield contingent, whose hopes of being champions of the championship are dashed early as Norwich take the lead in the first few minutes at Villa. So, with Stoke firmly stuck in 16th (watch the Birmingham result though), this could be even more of a nothing game than normal. Clucas disappears from the squad of 18 with Bojan coming back to the bench. Indi, Vokes and Ryan “am I in the shop window?” Woods are recalled to start, but Williams & Afobe drop to the bench. I doubt we’re going to see diamonds today.
16.15 Blimey, finally some action! Peter Etebo bursts through to shoot across the face of the goal. Not sure who was more surprised.
18.55 1-0 !!! Vokes takes the ball on his chest and volleys into the corner of the net from the edge of the box. Mistake from the defender, whose clearance was up in the air, and taken down by Vokes. Do I hear “You must be rubbish, we’re winning at home!”? Absolutely.
28.15 Vokes blasts one just over. Who shook his cage.
33.30 Loudest cheer of the day is for Charlie Adam warming up on the sideline! #hero.
38.24 Unbelievable as united’s volley in the 6 yard box is deflected against the inside of the post and away. United think it came off a Shawcross’ arm, but Stoke break instead and…
39.02 Ince’s shot hits the inside of the post & trickles away!
40.08 Ince’s drive is past the post, but rebounds to hit the back of the net, and some at the far end think it’s in! Ironic cheers all round.
Half time Stoke City 1 Premier-League-side-to-be 0
45.00 Eight Stoke players run out for the second half, doing their little stamping exercises around the dots…later Ince & Woods stroll out in a can’t-be-bothered-with-all-that attitude.
47.02 1-1 !! Sub Kieran Dowell strolls through the Stoke defence and blasts through the crowd for 1-1.
56.56 With United pushing forward and with Villa 1 Norwich 1, Canary is back on the menu. Can’t see it happening. But Boro might still snatch a playoff spot…? Nope.
58.21 A world record: Bauer’s cross almost hits the far corner flag! Uh?
58.56 Afobe replaces Indi…?
65.02 Batth’s ability to go through players without fouling them is a dream. I could watch that all day. After Charlie’s departure, Danny is my new favourite mad-bad player. He’s like Bodie of Bodie & Doyle (The Professionals).
68.00 2-1 !!! Shawcross taps in from Ince’s corner from the right! ANOTHER GOAL FROM A CORNER!!!
76.58 2-2 !! United’s Stevens break and almost casually stroke it past Butland, who won’t be pleased with that one.
79.15 Afobe knocked over…only just noticed Benik is on the pitch.
81.40 Ince finally replaced by Bojan.
83.00 McClean produces the worst cross of the season, into a quarter of the pitch where there are no players.
84.45 Bauer then delivers the 2nd worst cross from the other side. What we need is CHARLIE! to paraphrase The Rutles, he couldn’t actually play, but he knew how to have a good time.
87.25 CHARLIE ADAM comes on for the final time for Stoke to a great reception. After a long ball setting up Vokes, his subsequent corner goes over everyone’s heads. Oh well. His next one is better. And he even toppled over producing a peach of a ball to Bojan.
90+3 The season is over, with the final score Stoke City 2 Sheffield United 2.
Hm, wonder what’s on the other channel?