Crisis? What crisis! Yet another Jamaal Lascelles header handed us a third successive win in a battling performance against Stoke City at a packed out St.James’ .
Stoke started brightly and saw a lot of the ball in the early stages, but it was yet another spirited performance from the lads. We were organised, pressed well and created several chances – it could and should have been more comfortable than the scoreline suggested.
Atsu’s opener came out the blue, with the brilliant Matt Ritchie putting an enticing across on a plate for the Ghanaian, who couldn’t miss after arriving late at the back post.
The game should have been done and dusted before Shaqiri’s almost inevitable equaliser. Joselu spurned two big openings, whilst the Gallowgate were left perplexed by the referee’s failure to hand us a penalty after a goal-bound Christian Atsu was pretty blatantly bundled over.
Shaqiri’s strike was a bitter pill to swallow after the missed chances, but the captain soon put things right. He latched onto a Matt Ritchie corner and cannoned the ball in off the bar. The Gallowgate erupted and we hung on for yet another well earned win.
Merino was magnificent again in midfield, whilst Clark and Lascelles held the fort at the back with two strong displays. Yedlin and Mbemba did a good job to contain the tricky Jese and Shaqiri whilst Ritchie outstanding. Busy as ever and played a big part in both goals.
Joselu held the ball well on occasion but missed a few too many big chances. He could have had a hat-trick! Atsu offered us an out ball on the break and looked lively yet again, whilst Perez had one of his better afternoons with some good work on and off the ball.
Elliot (8) – Yedlin (7.5), Lascelles (8.5), Clark (7), Mbemba (7) – Ritchie (9*), Hayden (7), Merino (8), Atsu (7.5) – Perez (7) – Joselu (6).
— Black&WhiteBarmy (@BlackWhiteBarmy) September 16, 2017
A great shift from the lads. Another big win and sign that we have more than enough to compete at this level. Get in!