Well its Monday again and I am facing it with a smile on my face after watching a near perfect performance by the boys in red and white. Although seeing the news that our skipper was leaving sunny Stoke to miserable Miami left with a bit of an emotional feeling especially from myself as the majority of my time watching Stoke was with that man leading us to some fantastic years. So this is my way of just saying thank you and good luck to you and your family Ryan Shawcross.
Anyway we move onto the performance and what a performance it was may I say. From the moment we kicked off we were on the front foot and Mr Powell nearly finding the net within the first 5 minutes, sadly it was a poor shot that went flying over the bar but that was only the start of what turned out to be a very good day at the office for him. As I mentioned Stoke were very much on the front foot from the beginning and within 20 minutes we were already on I think our 6th corner of the game and Luton barely got out of their half and as the time hit 20 minutes we finally got ourselves off the mark a delicious outside of the foot through ball from Powell lead Sonny Bradley falling onto his backside and the ball found Fletcher who was one on one with the keeper but then made a sweaty (little Fifa reference for you there) pass across the keeper back to Powell who tapped home into the empty net.
As the 1st half progressed very little chances were made by the away side and apart from some ‘Long’ throws from Luton they saw very little chances which was more from the disciplined organised home side as they dominated possession and attacking threat which saw us end the 1st half very satisfied.
However going on previous performances 2 or 3 goals are never a confirmed win never mind just the one so the 2nd half required just as much attacking threat as was seen in the 1st half and that was the case a very strong performance from Tommy Smith was on show today and he played a delightful ball into a great bit of space for Joe Allen who charged forward and played in a fantastic cross, given the position he was in, and was met by a charging jumping header from that man again Nick Powell who smashed it into the net as well as their RB who is probably still having nightmares about it 2 days later.
Stoke looked some comfortable and that allowed O’Neil to make some changes to save the legs of some of our players ahead of tomorrows game against Barnsley and with those changes saw the likes of Sam Clucas, James McClean, John Obi Mikel, Sam Vokes & Jack Clarke all coming on and also making a decent impact on the game.
Sam Clucas looked like he had a point to prove as he chased down a nothing ball and managed to dispossessed the keeper in the corner and tried to find the net from that tight angle which unfortunately didn't make it in. Some say that is was a wasteful opportunity as there may have been a couple of options to cross the ball, however, he soon made up for that as again his high intensity press cause the Luton defence to make another mistake which saw Clucas through one on one with the keeper and you guessed it another sweaty to Fletcher who again found ease putting it into an empty net.
Stoke should of had a fourth as a couple chances were there to be taken, Sam Vokes header from a delightful cross by Tymon was saved well by the Luton keeper who wasn't having the best of days and also a counter attack from the Potters saw McClean through but again the keeper did well and saved that shot also.
Overall a brilliant performance with some stand out performances again that danger man Nick Powell, Steven Fletcher is finally getting into his stride with his hold up play and ability to bring others into the game was fantastic to see and the likes of Tymon, Thompson showing their worth to O’Neil which has given us back to back wins for the first time since early December. MOTM has got to be Nick Powell who was fantastic and proves how valuable he is for getting us higher in the league but also Joe Allen who has been subject of criticism of late but the performance against Sheffield Wednesday and Luton Town is showing that don't write him off yet he still got the capabilities we have seen back when we were in the Premier League.
I must admit I watched the interview with Nathan Jones after the game and it gave me flashbacks from every game in the 9 months he was in charge. But we have a new man in charge and he has been excellent regardless of some results he has managed to change a bottom of the league club to a top 10 team without a full transfer fund and a squad of a lot of deadwood. More of the same please Mr O’Neil.
As always please share your views and opinions and again I wish to say a big thank you to our Captain, Leader, Legend Ryan Shawcross.