Birmingham expertly “stole” 3 points in a hard fought contest of cliches. A late goal was followed by a number of Stoke penalty claims, but the battle of the “Garys” was won by Monk. Although there were only 3 yellow cards on the pitch (there should have been loads more!) only Gary Rowett was red carded.
Here’s how it panned out in real time:
0.00 It’s the battle of the Garys. Rowett vs Monk. Brum supporters singing “Gary Rowett, you know what you are!” Blimey, wish they’d share with us. Both sides lower-mid table. Both on decent runs. It’s the clash of the middling midlands sides.
7.52 In a break in the game, Butland decides to tell Pieters what to do. Judging by his tackling minutes later, I’m sure Erik knows what’s required.
16.09 Ashley Williams is doing his Ryan Shotton impression out there, which is odd because Ryan is watching from the press box. Meanwhile on the touchline, the Garys are competing on who has the tightest sweater on.
20.10 Oh sure, Pedersen tries to be cool about it, but he’s just sliced a Martina cross just over the bar. Camp the keeper (Lee Camp!) looks terrified, particularly as Afobe blasts one past him, but across the face of the goal (it actually goes for a throw-in).
26.01 Ref finally has a chat with Birmingham players (including captain Morrison) about the rough conduct of their players…but it just continues…until Pedersen is yellowed.
26.42 As Birmingham fans chant “There’s only one Garry!”, Bojan’s drive is somehow swatted away by Camp. The Brum fans then have the nerve to have a go at Rowett’s style of football, when it’s Stoke who are playing the all the good stuff and have all the chances.
42.08 As Joe Allen is chopped down YET AGAIN, Brum fans wing into “Garry, Garry, give us a wave!” Wouldn’t it have been funny if Rowett had waved back. Sadly, he’s in the dugout.
43.39 Jack Butland’s first save! …after Williams nearly gets red-carded for pulling a shirt to bits. Brum fans then start singing a love song to Garry Monk… They are really weird!
45+2 Stoke 0 Brum 0 (surprise!)
50.57 Bojan charges straight into Kieftenbeld’s body check, and the smack of of his head is hard on the queasy. Somehow Kiefy gets away with it, and Bojan walks away without brain damage.
55.45 Attendance is a season record 28,160, as Che Adams somehow doesn’t get yellowed for yanking Indi’s shirt.
57.45 As Martina receives treatment, the Brum sing a deafening song that NO ONE CAN UNDERSTAND A WORD OF!! What are they on about?? So, Stoke fans out-sing them with “When The Reds go marching in!” Suddenly the place comes to life in a way that the game can’t seem to do.
63.17 First bit of magic, as Ince is put in by Martina to cross for Allen to put over.
65.46 Maxime Colin (yes, that really is his name) hits the underside of Butland’s bar, and Stoke are lucky to still be in this. I’d hate to be beaten by Colin.
70.03 Charlie IS COMING ON!!!! OMG!!!! Alert all shipping!! (Oh, and so is Berahino). They can fight over who takes the next penalty! Charlie under his 4th Stoke manager is starting to go grey.
75.35 A Charlie shot almost takes Kiefy’s foot off, but Charlie then wins a corner. It’s all about him!
79.18 And to add to the pantomime, it’s Crouch on for Afobe.
80.50 0-1, and it’s the wrong Adams, Che Adams who taps in at the far post. On come the blue flares burning the pitch.
83.20 Everyone and his dog has a shot for Stoke on goal, but somehow it goes for a corner.
84.46 Handball on the line, but it’s not given!! Stoke fans going bananas!! Stoke fans start throwing things on as Che Adams flakes out!
87.01 Then Rowett gets red carded as the ref brings over a can that’s been thrown at him!! Rowett didn’t throw it!! Grief!
90+5 After a hectic few minutes, Birmingham hang on for the 3 points. Hard to say if they deserved it, but Garry Monk will no doubt be unpleasantly smug in the press conference. Can’t wait. Stoke face Sheffield United next…