The last time stoke City reached a semi-final of the FA Cup , Delilah was a Tom Jones single but four years old, not an older standard for fans of the club. The tie of 1972 was lost and has been a long wait since, but in the midst of delirious scenes Sunday Stoke reached the last four of the competition for the fourth time in its 148-year history.
They are still winning it and face bolton wanderers at Wembley, a stadium visited last to the end of the windshield of the car deck for more than a decade. ‘My, my, my,’ indeed.
“For two and a half years since we promoted have been written,” said Stoke Manager Tony Pulis. “We have three quarter-finals, two in the FA Cup and one in the Carling Cup, and now we have reached the semi-final.” “Everyone wrote us off but we have not done badly.”
They squirmed until low shot from Danny Higginbotham free on line to get the victory richly deserved against a side of West Ham which do not match the intensity of their hosts to Stoke, it seemed that the story of the day would the referee desventuradoMick Jones. No doubt caused some noise in this clash, with west ham united manager Avram Grant reprimanded the officer for being “a bit weak”.
Jones had mistakenly allowed goal in West Ham, Frederic Piquionne had clearly managed to control the ball, and then also mistakenly Stoke a penalty after deciding to Matthew Etherington had been fouled by Scott Parker when the extreme fell. Etherington lost the kick of ground and then, with West Ham chasing the game, Jones rejected appeals for a penalty after James Tomkins fell to the ground in a match with Jon Walters.
“I think that what happened in the end with Tomkins, was more than a sentence Bushido”, Grant said, oddly referring to the code of conduct for the Japanese samurai. If only the players have shown the road warrior.
Grant’s argument was that a penalty had been received, the other not because Jones wanted to even things. “As I say, maybe the effect of the first goal for us…” “he said before his voice became”.Until that goal, gave fouls and penalties, all for them. “But it was a shame for us to the end and not him”.
Stoke, however, fully deserved to win this tie and the injustice only would have been if the goal from Piquionne had won West Ham a repetition.
Grant also, strangely, spoke about the lack of “readiness” in the decision to shelve Demba Ba. The striker, who has provided a sharper cutting edge, much has been lost. West Ham were a pale shadow of the side that demolished at Stoke last weekend 3-0 with Pulis saying that he had studied the deficiencies in the training of Grant, taking advantage of the space behind the back full.
Perhaps it is for this reason that Pulis it decided to field, to popular approval, outdated extremes in Etherington and Jermaine Pennant. The duo showed that switches of game, create opportunity after opportunity to Stoke through their dangerous crosses. In fact, Pennant collected Etherington already in the second minute, only for this final boss directly to Robert Green when it should have scored.
Soon after, Robert Huth scored. Grant must have been incredulous as it came to pass directly from one of the MFC throw-ins of Rory Delap, whistled in the penalty area, only for Huth to charge, unmarked and planted his header in the network. Incredible.
West Ham seemed unable to obtain any impulse to Thomas Hitzlsperger flighted a superb long ball you selected run Piquionne diagonal. The striker brought down with his right arm extended, guiding the ball Thomas Sorensen, but the movement was not detected by officials and included Piquionne House despite attempts by Huth hook clear. Piquionne was wounded in the Act and also outside.
Stoke were, rightly angry. “Stonewall handball”, said Pulis. Green was soon in action again, rescuing a double save Delap and Walters.
Only 12 seconds in the second half, Etherington between Tomkins and Parker and he slipped on the grass. The penalty was given, wrongly, but the kick of Etherington lacked power and green pushed to far. “A younger team would have been affected by all this,” said Pulis, and was right. Came back again Stoke and later Carlton Cole was penalized for handball in charge of shooting of free Pennant, Jones granted another right on the edge of the area. Higginbotham had an almighty run-up and hit low. Green inserted it into the post, but the ball crept down the line. Sorensen saved from Victor Obinna and substitute Robbie Keane before Matthew Upson directed against the bar in the minutes dying. West Ham were frantic but they were also beaten.
There were happy chaos at the end with Pulis asked how would lead to its players return to the land. “It will show the table of the League,” he alone, aware of the precarious situation of the club. Wembley can wait. After all, it has been a long time.
Details of the party
Stoke City (4-4-2): Sorensen; Wilson, Shawcross, Huth, Higginbotham; Pennant (Whitehead), Delap, Whelan, Etherington (Collins); Walters, Jones (Fuller).
Subs not used: Nash (GK), Pugh, Diao, Wilkinson.
Reservations: Shawcross, Fuller.
West Ham United (4-1 – 4-1): Green; Tomkins, Da Costa, Upson, bridge; Parker; Obinna (Keane), Noble (Hines), Hitzlsperger, Piquionne (Spector); Cole.
Subs not used: Boffin (GK), Gabbidon, Boa Morte, Jacobsen.
Reservations: Obinna, Hitzlsperger, Da Costa.
Referee: Mike Jones.
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