On the first really spring like day of the season Stokes still not a very nice place to go especially when it looks like half the teams on sick parade. After a few defeats old ‘Useless’ is starting to walk a thin line so I think we knew what to expect from a team that can still call on a bit of brute force if the case needs it. The likes of Shawcross and Walters must have been whetting their lips when they saw our starting eleven with Ben Woodburn and TAA in the line up. However, neither Woodburn nor TAA did too much wrong in the first half it was just the rest of team which looked out of sorts and out of shape and we didn’t muster what you’d call a serious threat to the Stoke goal. Stoke were no great shakes either but if anyone was going to score it was them and that happened five minutes before halftime when the Bitter fan Walters scored another goal against us. We might have had a penalty just before the goal came but that couldn’t be any excuse for such a woeful 45-minutes.
Then The Kaiser acted and brought on the Boys from Brazil in exchange for the two teenagers, reverted back to type, round pegs in round holes etc; and we took it from there. Although, as ever these days, our defending was still questionable we did carry some threat going forward. Firmino, Coutinho and Lovren all went close – shots saved and hitting the bar – before Little Phil who by all accounts had spent most of the week in the loo banged one in. The away end erupted as our players raced back to the centre circle wanting to get back at the Pottery men. Two minutes later Firmino lashed in a wonder goal and we could all sing in the sunshine. However, as Jürgen said, Mignolet rescued us a couple of times when Stoke fought back. Only we got there in the end but it didn’t look like that at halftime.