Stoke 150 not out

Posted by James Whittaker

Adrian Dennis/Getty ImagesCharlie Adam's sending off spoiled what was otherwise a festive day at The Britannia Stadium.

Stoke lost 2-1 amid a backdrop of red and white at the Britannia as Tottenham spoiled their 150 year celebrations with a late winner, the home side having hung on so long with ten men.

- Match report: Stoke 1-2 Tottenham

Former Stoke City greats flooded the pitch to take the applause of the Stoke fans before kick-off, but feeling left out it was referee Kevin Friend who proved to be anything but to the Potters and seemed intent on stealing the limelight of the day.

The team that started was unbalanced and the dropping of Cameron Jerome was incredibly harsh given his impact of the last few games, with Tony Pulis opting to bring back an unfit Matthew Etherington and re-pair the proven-to-be-useless-together Peter Crouch and Jonathan Walters up top. Despite taking an early lead, it was a decision that would prove to be to City's detriment as despite Crouch actually winning the majority of his headers and flicking on into good areas, Walters couldn't latch on to any of them.

It was a much better game from Crouch, and Jerome would have benefitted hugely running onto his knock downs but it wasn't to be and poor Crouchie's stellar efforts in the air were in vein. Charlie Adam was running the show for Stoke, and despite being hung out to dry on the right, he showed another glimpse of that radar returning with a few excellent deliveries into the box. His energy and tenacity, despite his physical limitations, was top drawer but his afternoon was to be cut short as he was booked for a nothing challenge leaving him on a knife edge.

The Spurs fans were on Adam's back, presumably because of his feud with Gareth Bale, and it clearly got to him as he made a stupid challenge to pick up his second yellow. Not that his dismissal changed the game too much as Stoke seemed to sit on their slender lead from the third minute on and when they did go down to ten, it took Pulis a while to work out what he was going to do. He brought on Andy Wilkinson for Etherington and moved Ryan Shotton to the right wing, only for him to sub Shotton off not long after; it was a bizarre couple of moves that puzzled the fans as Pulis tried to stumble on a winning formula.

It was only a matter of time until Spurs went ahead though and a side that was unbalanced to start with only went downhill with the numerical disadvantage and the subsequent changes in personnel. That balance is something that needs serious surgery over the summer, and with the rumour mill in full effect in the stands, many aren't sure who exactly will be holding the scalpel on that one.

But, as strange as it sounds, today wasn't about Pulis or the result; it was about celebrating the oldest team in the Premier League, nay the oldest top flight club in the world. It was great to see all those golden oldies back in front of the Stoke faithful. You can really tell how the club and area had touched so many during their time in the Potteries. Every fan has that player or two they remember as being central to their Stoke supporting life and today was a real reminder of just how many of them there were. With safety assured, Wigan winning the cup and our own celebrations, it felt a bit like the old days where money and hype came second to passion and pride. That's what football is all about and this Stokie is so proud that his club was one of the very first to pioneer a game that means so much to so many 150 years on.

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