Stoke City turn back the clock for 3-0 Luton win

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From the clutches of disaster comes the most unlikely of wins, beating former Nathan Jones side by 3-0, diamond & all. Joe Allen scores 2 & sets up the first for McClean. Interestingly, Joe also scored the last time Stoke scored 3 at home – 3-1 vs The Baggies in December 2017. But then so did Choupo-Moting. So that proves nothing! Here’s how it unfolded in real time:
If in doubt, change the central defenders & put a rank outsider in midfielder. Yep, welcome back Ryan Shawcross from a horrific injury, but let’s hope it’s not just a smoke screen to cover up 3 straight defeats (& the controversial recall for Jordan Cousins).
1.51 I’m going to be frank: not having Woods on as well as Clucas makes player recognition relatively easier.
2.20 During the minute’s applause, Shawcross marks his return by totalling the giant Mpanzu in the centre circle. Joe Allen has a go at Ryan, indicating that red-card lunges should be performed on the edge of the opponents’ penalty area. (Well, he’d know…)
7.19 Stoke almost score from a corner, with Shawcross’s shot bouncing off the bar down on to the line. Geoff Hurst would have claimed that.
12.55 Shawcross, who for some reason thinks he’s an attacking midfielder (or that he’s making up for Jordan Cousins!), has stretched something, and has to come off…almost in tears. Danny Batth returns. It’s that sort of day. Michael O’Neill clearly said he would be patient and wouldn’t bring Ryan back too soon in case (“as is common”) he picked up another injury. Duh!
19.42 Batth caught dawdling, but then makes an impressive recovery, although the 200 refereeing experts 500 yards away in the Luton end think it’s a penalty. The replay proves the 200 refs wrong.
27.48 In the 2nd instalment of great Batth tackles that are almost penalties, Danny lunges in and concedes a pen-…no, a corner.
31.50 As Edwards or Ince look too scared to go to the by-line on the right, Stoke fans give them what-for. If there’s more than 15,000 here I’ll be amazed.
34.38 1-0 !!! Suddenly the testosterone takes over as (goaded by the crowd) Stoke muscle their way forward with Joe Allen hacking his way through the middle, slipping it to Vokes, who touches it to McClean who belts it past keeper Shea. All 14,800 fans go mad…and a couple of Luton supporters who haven’t got a clue what’s going on.
37.02 Surprise! Cousins actually battles and wins the ball, gets it to Clucas to blast it, beaten away by Shea.
40.37 McClean has another go, but Shea beats that away too before being flattened by Vokes. Then Vokes beats the keeper after a poor clearance, but it’s cleared off the line. It’s a hell of a day at sea…despite Stoke being landlocked.
45+1 2-0 !!! Joe Allen makes himself useful, by popping up unmarked to head home a McClean cross. Bloody hell! Everyone switched off! Who threw the switch?
Half time: Some-team-that-can’t-be-Stoke 2 Luton 0
45.50 Vokes hacked down. I see, that’s how it’s going to be!
Attendance given as 20,216
49.17 3-0 !! Oh, if only Nathan Jones was here! Oh, probably not. Joe Allen robs Luton sub Glen Rea in the centre, runs forward and strokes it home in the right corner.
64.15 Sam Vokes falls over again. For all those watching in black and white, Vokes is the player least likely to score.
75.25 Strange that I can’t hear home fans singing: “You must be rubbish, we’re winning at home!”
78.15 Diouf on for Vokes. Now we’ll see fireworks!
79.29 Batth clearly trying to finish what Shawcross started by taking out Mpanzu, this time from the back. I’m starting to feel sorry for the guy!
81.12 Nick Powell, the forgotten magician, replaces Clucas, and immediately Ince gets a shot on target (beaten away yet again by Shea…or is it Rea…no, it’s Shea). That’s magic!
90+3 Blimey, the last time Stoke won at home with 3 goals was December 2017! We were all in short trousers, & Stoke were in the Premier. That makes a change! Stoke City 3 Luton Town 0.