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ricardo

Ricardo's report v Stoke

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It was back to Premier League action at CR this afternoon where Paul Lambert never ceases to surprise with the boldness of his line ups. Naughton and Barnett came into the back line and it was almost a clean sweep in midfield where Pilks, Bennett and Bradley Johnson lined up with Andrew Crofts. Up front the surprise was Chris Martin coming in to partner Grant Holt.It was very warm as the game kicked of with City attacking the Barclay End. The 4-4-2 formation immediately stretched Stoke as both Pilks and Bennett put in some dangerous crosses. Stokes giant rearguard were soon throwing their weight about as Holt was bundled over at every opportunity. We saw little from Stoke as an attacking force but it was 20 minutes before City fashioned their first real chance. Holt''s knock down was perfect for Pilkington to get in a strike and the effort was goal bound until deflected for a corner by a defender. City were now on top and in a rare Stoke attack Ruddy did well to block an Etherington effort from a narrow angle. The Stoke defence was in kick it anywhere mode for a while as City piled into the box and on 35 minutes a nice move between Martin and Bennett resulted in a yellow card as the latter was scythed down 30 yards out. Johnsons free kick was met beautifully by De Laet''s header which beat Begovic all ends up. Minutes later it was almost two as Bennetts shot was deflected onto a post and out for a corner. City could be well satisfied with their first half performance as time ran down with few alarms.Stoke made a real effort to up their game as the second period got under way. Two half chances were created but wastefully ballooned high and wide. City''s riposte was swift as Holt found Martin in the box. Good control and a stinging shot looked like a goal all the way until Begovic brilliantly palmed it round the post. Ruddy was called into similar action at the other end when Holt stupidly gave away a freekick on the edge of our box. A dipping shot looked to be going under the bar until Ruddy acrobatically palmed it over.At this stage it looked like it needed something out of the ordinary to lose a grip on the game and unfortunately it duly arrived on 65 minutes. Walters got in front of Barnett just inside the right edge of the box, as both went down the ref signalled a pen and a red card for Barnett. More than a tad harsh I thought but these things often go against the smaller clubs in this league. However Ruddy produced a great block from Walters pen and for a while the extra man seemed to make little difference to the balance of play. Pilks was withdrawn for Ayala  and soon after Bennett made way for Surman. The heat and the extra man slowly began to tell as Stoke camped out in the City half but a combination of cool defending and poor finishing seemed capable of preserving our advantage. Chris Martin left to great applause for a hard working performance as Jackson came on for the closing minutes. City looked like surviving the ariel bombardment from crosses and long throws until Jones finally got free with barely 90 seconds of added time left. His 6 yard equaliser was a body blow but I can''t help thinking that it was Mr Swarbrick who had the greatest impact on the final result. I made De Laet my man of the match for an assured performance and give special mention to Naughton, Johnson and Chris Martin but in truth they were all hero''s this afternoon.All things considered it was a good point in the circumstances but I can''t imagine that had Rooney been pulled down the number of times that Holt was fouled  we would have seen a rash of yellow and red cards. It is something we need to be aware of but Ricardo remains quietly confident that have more than enough to compete in this league

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I somehow omitted to mention John Ruddy. An almost faultless performance and no chance with the goal.

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[quote user="Cantiaci Canary"]

As tough as it sounds you are never safe on a one goal lead ... even if you are the better side.

What''s your score prediction for Stamford Bridge Ricardo?

[/quote]I am still waiting for Snowy the cat to tell me. He''s giving nothing away at present. Last night we watched the Ipswich game and he stuck his arse up in the air when they were four down and wandered off outside. I am still wondering how to interpet that one.

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[quote user="Zachariah Lovespoon"]Thanks Ricardo, good report as usual. However having seen the the foul for the penaltyagain it was a good two yards outside the box[/quote]Yes, I was 80 yards away in the River End stand so hesitated to pronounce on it but having seen the replay it was not a penalty and certainly not a red card.We will have to chalk it off to bad luck but it does seem that those sort of calls invariably go against the smaller clubs. Holt was fouled at least a dozen times yet the ref failed to take much significant action. Both centre backs should have been walking a tite rope after about 30 minutes today.

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