Championship game 6

Stoke 2-1TOWN

The international break appeared to go against us as we were playing with real vim and vigour beforehand but today was a little slow and predictable. We weren’t bad and deserved to get something from the game but play was too slow with little risk taken in the final third to open up the opposition. Stoke were not much better one mistake cost us from some good play by Stokes Vrancic.

In the first half there were no clear openings at either end. Town having the better of the early exchanges before City came back into the game. We had plenty set plays around the area but failed to make them count. In the second half a free kick from Thomas was well saved but then after a scramble the ball fell to Toffolo who made no mistake from close range. Just 3 minutes later and Jacob Brown rose to head home a corner to level things. Town then began to make most of the drive to open up opportunities but often wanted too many touches and not releasing the ball at the right time. We were made to pay when Vrancic crossed and Pearson failed to control the ball turning it into his own net. We still continued to press forward but the final ball was never good enough and nobody really looked likely to score the equaliser. Against the run of play Stoke had a chance to seal it but blazed over and then Thomas drove a free kick inches wide with the keeper well beaten.

All in all not a bad performance, a draw would have been fair but n those situations there is always a chance that one side will come out on top. We looked a little rusty and need to put things right against Blackpool on Tuesday.

Ratings

Nicholls

Looked good again, positioning and handling was good. Beaten twice but not at fault for either goal. Could take more control at goal kicks which were at times predictabke and easy for the opposition to manage.

Rating 6

Lees

Was slow at times but good in the air. Passing was not delivered as quickly as it could have been.

Rating 6

Pearson

Good in the air for the most part, passing needed to be quicker and miss controlled the ball for the own goal which can happen to anyone.

Rating 5

Sarr

Looked nervy at times and wanted too many touches on the ball allowing himself to be closed down too easily.

Rating 4

Hogg

Looked to drive the side forward and tried some longer range passing but not to great affect. Busied himself about and for small spells looked like the Hogg of several seasons ago. Still room for improvement.

Rating 6

O’Brien

Did not see him push to support the front line, look to play any quick balls behind the defensive line and his control was poor at times with the ball bouncing off him. Needs to be at it on Tuesday or start from the bench.

Rating 4

Toffolo

Threatened down the left in both halves and pleased to see him get his goal. Looks better in a advanced role but also offered the side protection. Looked to be back to full fitness.

Rating 7

Thomas

Received a lot of attention from stoke which is now to be expected but we never got the best out of him. Too many balls behind him rather than infront for him to run onto or drive forward with. He needs the ball delivering quicker than it was. Despite this he was a constant threat.

Rating 7

Holmes

Kept disappearing in the game and when Toffolo or Thomas escaped on the flanks was far too behind the play giving the wide men little to aim at. Wanted too many touches on the ball which slowed any rhythm down.

Rating 4

Koroma

For large parts of the game he too disappeared. With the score at 2-1 he did get on the ball more but again wanted too many touches and appeared to lack a little confidence. Last season he showed he can curl teh ball in with his right foot but was hesitant to let fly.

Rating 5

Campbell

Worked hard for the team defending from the front and in creating space but needed support to get near him. Holmes and Koroma were playing too deep and so Campbell was isolated up front which helped Stoke defend.

Rating 5

Carlos

We played well but there were too many individuals below par and we did not move the ball quickly enough. Sinani and Colwill had been on international duty but Colwill in for Sarr and Sinani for Holmes would have given us better shape and asked more questions of Stoke. Mipo should perhaps have been introduced earlier for Campbell who had picked up a silly yellow card so had to reign in some of his play.

Rating 5

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