Stoke City match recap and 3 takeaways
After beating Wycombe 1-0 on Wednesday night, Stoke City are now 8th in the Championship table, and only 3 points from first place. That is a pretty good position to be in though 15 league matches. The club is clearly moving in the right direction, and have continued to get results despite goalkeeper injuries and significant formation changes throughout the season.
This match was far more entertaining than Saturday’s clash against Sheffield Wednesday in almost every way. Stoke were clearly the better side and dictated much of the play, outside of the first 10′ and last 10′. Michael O’Neill went with a 4-2-3-1 formation in this match and made 3 changes from Saturday’s squad -Jacob Brown, Jordan Cousins, and Sam Vokes.
Stoke were lucky not to concede on Wycombes first corner whipped in near post in the 5’. Not long after, Stoke had their first clear chance as Jacob Brown’s header was stopped by a defender at the goal line off a corner.
In a sketchy moment, Wycombe forward Alex Samuel was booked for diving after a close call with keeper Joe Bursik. Bursik did well to avoid contact on a play that could have easily resulted in a penalty.
Best players at half for Stoke were Jacob Brown and Tyrese Campbell, they both gave Wycombe defenders all sorts of problems with their speed. On the defensive side Danny Batth and Morgan Fox also had a positive first 45′.
The first big play of the second half, and perhaps the biggest decision of the night, was when Jordan Cousins was show a yellow for a truly late and reckless challenge. Cousins was lucky to stay on, Stoke could have easily been down a man for the rest of the match.
James McCLean was subbed in for Jacob Brown in the 62′. In the 72’ Powell put Stoke ahead 1-0 with a solid header off a clean cross from McClean. The play all started from wonderful tackle by Nathan Collins.
As Wycombe poured on more pressure, the Stoke defense and keeper Joe Bursik held their own. Bursik also had a memorable punch in added time on a dangerous cross.
- Is Nathan Collins Stoke’s new RB? Collins played extremely well defensively, but struggled at times with through balls going forward. Promising to see the young defender be tried out in different positions.
- Michael O’Neill is a genius – At the time I really did not like the McClean for Brown substitution. I thought Brown was dangerous the entire match and if any attacking player should have came off it should have been Vokes. In only ten minutes, McClean delivered a perfect cross for the game winner. Great substitution by MON.
- Joe Bursik has been an absolute delight. Despite the signing of veteran keepers, he is doing everything he needs to in order to keep his spot. Great showing from the young keeper.