Tues 2 Oct 2018 8pm Championship.
Stoke cruised past Bolton like Bruno Martins Indi cruised past ex-Stokie Marc Wilson for the first goal. Stoke can look good beating duff sides like The Trotters, but not all teams are going to be this poor. Paradoxically, Bolton had all the luck: bad-luck to have a goal disallowed, but good-luck to finish with all their 11 men on the pitch. This is how the game unfolded:
0.00 Living with the disappointment of the lack of Charlie Adam, and despite him being on the cover of the matchday programme + having an EIGHT page spread, Charlie’s place on the bench is taken by his evil-twin-brother, James McClean.
We also have the curious case of the Bojan who barked in the night…so loud (after his Rotherham goal) that manager Gary Rowett recalls him at the expense of Peter Etebo (?!). Rowett clearly doesn’t see this as a physical battle, despite old boy Marc “wildog” Wilson in Bolton’s back-4.
Also he’s trusted penalty-conceder & previously red-carded Ashley Williams again, instead of recalling Shawcross. Hm, maybe Ashley is the new Charlie Adam. Afterall, he hasn’t won a game he’s started in living memory…
2.50 Just as was thought, Bojan is pushed off the ball with the gentlest nudge. Etebo should go and warm up.
7.30 Ince hits a rocket that keeper Matthews turns round the post…despite it heading wide.
9.23 1-0 !!! Bruno Martins Indi heads home Ince’s corner from the right like there’s no defenders around. Keeper Matthews does a theatrical dive to make it look like he has a proper job.
12.30 Berahino performs a perfect sliding tackle! It’s like he’s a real footballer. He’s playing so deep he’ll soon be selling programmes behind the Boothen End.
25.32 Joe Allen crosses with the delusional belief that Berahino is going to head the ball. Afobe, Bojan & Ince have all had decent shots blocked, but only Berahino now has a shot saved by keeper Matthews.
31.10 Bojan, Woods and Allen showing some skill in midfield. Stoke City playing with verve like they’ve finally realised (in October!) that the season has actually started! If only they’d started the season like this.
43.01 Long ball forward from Marc Wilson… goes straight into touch
44.12 Through ball from Bojan to Saido is sublime, but his shot is typically blocked.
45+1 Long ball forward from Marc Wilson… goes straight into touch…again.
Half Time Stoke 1 Bolton 0 – Fun stuff to watch.
53.30 Attendance: 22,116, as Olkowski throws a dicky-fit for not being given a throw-in. It’s only 50 more than the lowest crowd of the season.
55.11 Butland makes a nifty save from a low shot. He looks almost bored as he goes down.
59.12 Craig Noone takes out Saido in sadistic manner right in front of the dugouts with a waist-high trip, and should be red-carded. There are gasps from the press-box, and the touchline coaches go crazy, but the ref is blindsided. The subsequent yellow card is desultory.
61.31 Afobe hits a rocket straight at the keeper – his aim is improving at least.
65.20 Bolton goal disallowed! Blocking Butland from a corner, it seems, but Stoke are lucky to still be in front.
67.15 After almost getting booked, Bojan is replaced by McClean with a red cast on his broken wrist. I definitely wouldn’t go near him with THAT.
71.10 Bolton fans laugh as they think McClean has clumsily missed the ball going into touch, only for Stoke fans to laugh at them because McClean knew the throw was going to be Stoke’s. Fans, eh?!
73.44 2-0 !!!! Brilliant finish by Tom Ince, who twisted in the area (& stumbling) before firing in the corner. Excellent assist by McClean, who beat half the Bolton team, before crossing deep to find Ince in the box.
81.30 A Bolton volley, which would certainly have been a goal, is deflected away by a brave Ashley Williams. A pumped-up Butland comes running out as if to kick his head in, only to shout some praise in his ear. Bizarre.
87.50 Martina and Ince combine to somehow miss, followed just after by Martins Indi missing an easy header so wide it’s off towards the corner flag. Crouch & Fletcher on for Saido & Afobe.
Final Score: Stoke 2 Bolton 0
Starter Ashley Williams wins a game at last! Stoke are up to the dizzy heights of…16th.