Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Demba's perfect 'trick a treat

Stoke City 1 - 3 Newcastle Utd

A perfect hat-trick (header, left foot, right foot) was enough to overcome the forces of anti-football at the Britannia Stadium last night.

While Demba Ba should rightly take a lot of the plaudits from last night, credit for the win should go to the Silver Fox who came up with a perfect strategy to nullify the home side and the eleven players he then sent out who ran themselves into the ground in executing it perfectly.

With Mr T injured, the only change from the team who beat Wigan saw Danny Guthrie joining Dreamboat in central midfield. Saylor was able to continue his partnership with Sideshow Bob despite a broken nose thanks to a mask.

With the home side seeking to exploit their height and rely upon Rory Delap's long throw, this was no match for the defence to hide, and they didn't. Simpson, Saylor, Sideshow Bob, Raylor and Krul were all called upon to battle for high balls, with Raylor in particular picking up a number of knocks for his troubles, but all acquitted themselves superbly.

In midfield Spidermag and Obertan Kenobi ran tirelessly, with the Argentine required to spend much of the game defending the threat posed by Jermaine Pennant. With Dreamboat and Guthrie working hard to close down the space, and Ba and Leon O'Best also working hard, we closed Stoke down and made it really hard for them to create clear chances.

Having worked so hard, we were perhaps a little fortunate to go ahead, with O'Best coming from an offside position to flick a long ball wide for Kenobi. The Frenchman raced down the line before knocking a great ball across the box for the flying Ba to head home unchallenged.

Ironically, our second goal came from a move started by a long throw. Raylor's ball in was never properly cleared and when it fell to O'Best his mis-hit shot looked to be going wide before Ba stuck his left foot out to knock it into the net.

2-0 up at half-time, the plan was clearly working. While the second half wasn't as straightforward, we nonetheless continued to battle for every ball to ensure Stoke didn't get a clear chance.

Unfortunately, Ba was caught battling a little too hard, with his two-handed push on Peter Crouch spotted by the referee who gave Stoke a penalty that Jon Walters smashed past Krul to give the home team a lifeline.

Thankfully, having given one soft penalty against us, matters were evened up when Robert Huth put both his hands on O'Best's back a few minutes later and Ba duly stepped up to slot home our first penalty of the season and complete his hat-trick.

There was still time left in the game for Kenobi to fire a good chance wide and for James Perch, on for Dreamboat (a move likened by someone on Twitter to "replacing a Bugatti Veyron with a micro scooter"), to pick up a booking within fourteen seconds of coming onto the pitch.

All in all it was an outstanding team effort, almost as satisfying as the slaughter of 5under1and which took place exactly a year ago. There must be something about playing teams in red and white stripes on Halloween. This tim,e though, the result lifted us to third in the table, with a chance to go second for a few hours if we overcome Everton at lunchtime on Saturday.

Other reports: BBC, Guardian

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Anonymous Tim B said...

Even TBW has had to resort to writing a positive article

12:29 pm  

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