It’s not often Stoke’s team of bits and pieces go a goal down twice against the league leaders and come back. But they did.
Norwich swarmed forward passing and shooting at speed, mostly just off target. Jack dealt with it till Onel Hernandez – is he the only Cuban-born EFL player? – a squirming nuisance of a winger, built like a pitbull, shot inside the area and possibly unsighted, only got a weak hand to it. Hernandez seemed about to celebrate in front of the Boothen but thinking this might not be a good idea veered off towards the corner flag and his tracksuited team mates. He was roundly booed for the rest of the game.
Norwich’s noisy Yellow Wall got even noisier.
Clucas headed miles over from a good position. Krul wasn’t busy. An ominous silence was settling over the rest of the ground. There were some boos at the interval. Not Bovril weather but we needed to sup something!
Then, surprise! Total turnaround. Norwich were still busy and dangerous but so were we. Ashley Williams was left free at a corner. Krul got a hand to it – but in it went. And it continued, both sides attacking till Pukki, who has scored lots of goals after failing at Celtic, found himself all alone to deflect Vranic’s delicate cross past a furious Butland. Ashley held his head in his hands.
‘We’re gonna win the league’ from the Yellow Wall.
Round the rest of the ground, a slow chant began, ‘Oh,when the reds…’ It built to a crescendo when Tom Edwards shot hard across Krul into the far corner. Now the chant was ‘He’s one of our own’. And it went on till five minutes of added time were up. Stoke defending in numbers and lobbing long balls in the general direction of Afobe who brought them down, but was on his own. Tom went off injured to a Man of the Match reception.
A team to be proud of for half the game, Verlinden and Collins, as well as Edwards. Tyrese and Harry to come?
And ref Tony Harrington had a good game, calming down the hot heads without booking anyone. Roll on August!