A 48th minute strike from former Rovers Youth player Jon Walters was all that was needed as Stoke edged this weeks national pingpong encounter againts Blackburn, 1-0
Brett Emerton was brought into the team, replacing Nikola Kalinic, with MB Diouf holding the fort up top
Blackburn: Robinson, Salgado, Samba, Nelsen, Givet, Emerton, Nzonzi, Jones, Pedersen, EH Diouf, MB Diouf
Subs: Bunn, Olsson, Kalinic, Andrews, Mwaruwari, Hoilett, Chimbonda
It was the homeside who were off to the better start in the early proceedings. Kenwyne Jones was a real handful, outpositioning Samba and Nelsen on several occasions. Jermaine Pennant was tormenting Gael Givet down the flank whilst Rory Delap and his torpeodoes were narrowing in on the Rovers goal. It was Jones who had the early chance. Cutting back past Givet, Jones continued to prance along, before striking from the edge of the box. The ball had Robbo beaten, but it also beat the far post, inches wide.
Rory Delaps long throw was causing mayhem, and almost caused the opening goal. The throw missiled into the box, avoiding everybody and crashing into the far post. Fortunately for Rovers, Salgado was on hand to clear. It took about 15 minutes for Rovers to wake up, with El Hadji Diouf deciding to take matters in his own hand with a couple of sensational runs down the left flank. However, it was all to no avail, as nobody could get on the end of his crosses. Rovers best chance fell to Brett Emerton. Diouf Crossed, Sorensen came out and punched away, Brett Emerton struck an awkward volley, however Ryan Shawcross saved the day, clearing of the line. Blackburn also had their chances off set pieces, however Gamst’s deliviries of corners was abyssmal. Straight to the keeper, or over the top of the net.
Rovers did have the last chance of the half, chaos in the area saw the ball fall to Phil Jones, however the 18 year olds strike was blocked by Ryan Shawcross. 0-0 Halftime
The half had barely begun and Stoke were up 1-0. A long ball was flicked on by Kenwyne Jones, and somehow found its way past Chris Samba and into the path of Jon Waters, who outmuscled Samba and placed the ball into the right corner of the net. 1-0 Stoke
And it was almsot 2 nil immediately, with Samba clearing of the line from a Pennant cross come shot. Diouf picked up a yellow for a challenge and dissent, and with the Stoke Faithful booing him along, Sam Allardyce thought it would be best to replace him with Martin Olsson. THe Swede could of almost made headlines with his first touch. A deflected shot fell to the young man, however his woeful attempt of a shot found row z.
Paul Robinson kept Rovers in the game with a few superb saves of Etherington and Jones, as Stoke pushed on for a second. Benjani came on for Emerton whilst Hoillet came on late for Gamst, but neither had the desired impact as Stoke held out to claim a 1-0 Victory
Could do little about the goal, and a few fine interventions to keep Rovers within a goals difference
Michel Salgado- 6
Probablythe best of our back 4.
Chris Samba 5
Really, really sloppy defending from the ever so reliable captain. Jon Waters should never have got that ball, Samba stops those 99/100, lets hope this was that 1
Ryan Nelsen 6
Quiet game from the Admiral just did what he had to o
Gael Givet 4
Will watch the game tomorrow, put his hand up and say, yes, Jermaine Pennant got me. This will not happen again
Phil Jones 7
Very solid game from Jonesy. A few great interventions, and tried to move things around in attack
Steve Nzonzi 6
Worked hard, but his passing game was atrocious!
What on earth was that Gamst. I dont recall one pass sticking, and one corner worth mentioning in the highlights reel….
El Hadji Diouf 8
another good shift from Dioufy, working his arse off with nobody in support
Brett Emerton 7
Played really well down the right flank. Tried to centralise when needed, but held his mark and tried to create.
MB Diouf 5
Definately not a loan striker. I see him working well running off Roberts.
You play Ping Pong?
Seriously. If we want to play ping pong football, how on earth is MB Diouf suppose to hold the frontline. Send 2 men up there, push the wingers onwards and go.
Now this aint a reccomendation for Ping Pong Football….but its what we do, so we might as well do it right!