Latics were very unlucky not get all three points from the Britannia Stadium as a brave goal from Boyce and the goal of the season from Figueroa were cancelled out in an action packed game that referee Mike Dean will cringe at.

Tuncay Salani
Ryan Shawcross (74)
Emmerson Boyce
Maynor Figueroa (72)

Latics were by far the busiest from the kick off having fielded a different line up as Martinez promised. Hugo was flanked by N’Zogbia and Gomez and it started paying dividend from the off as Rodallega had a couple of speculative long range efforts.

The main threat from Stoke came from the throw ins of Delap and the very physical presence of Fuller, both were easily coped with by a much more confident looking defence. Stoke decided to shut down our passing game by scything chunks out of our players but that didn’t stop us getting forward.

We managed two or three free kicks from around 30 yards before Rodallega got a free header which pulled out a great save from Sorenson, but he was helpless to prevent Boyce scoring his third goal in seven games. Boycey did receive a boot in the head and he landed on the Stoke keeper and so the celebration was a very low key affair as he received treatment.

The game turned into a bit of a battle in midfield with stoke pressing on our 18 yards box, but there was no end product as we easily dealt with their attacks. The very inconsistent Dean denied Scharner as he was dragged to the floor from a corner and Stoke continued with their bullying tactics.

The final ten minutes saw us having to defend a bit more and this is when the otters equalised as bad marking by Melchiot let Tuncay go unchallenged through on goal to slip the ball under Kirkland. We then upped our game again and tried to play our way through them again only for the Stoke players to continue with the bad tackles.

N’Zogbia went very close after Gomez was hacked down but his free kick went agonisingly past the wrong side of the post. The biggest whinger on the pitch Tuncay nearly talked himself off just before half time as he was yellow carded for his second intentional hand ball (shouldn’t he have received a yellow for both?). The half ended with yet more pressure from Latics but as in previous games we couldn’t turn it into goals.

“he second half saw Boyce being replaced by Sinclair as the defender had a bit of delayed concussion, this saw Scharner go back in defence and we were tested straight away but Kirkland was equal to Huth’s ambitious shot.

After a bout of scrappy play where neither team could get a grip of the game, it was Latics who came closest to scoring as N’Zogbia won a corner. Scharner came up for it and lost his marker only to see his header go centimetres wide of the stranded Sorenson’s goal. Moments later Stoke went close as Fuller sent his cross inches past the post with the offside Tuncay sliding in.

With half an hour to go, Melchiot again landed Latics in trouble, after doing the hard part of controlling the ball he then cheaply give it away to Etherington, luckily though Scharner was covering and stopped Etherington getting a shot in.

With twenty minutes to go we get a free kick in our own half to which Maynor Figueroa decided to have a lash, Sorenson was miles off his line and the ball bulleted into the back of the net. It was a wonder goal that the defender won’t forget in a long time.

Straight from the kick off though, Stoke went in on goal and won a corner which against the run of play again Shawcross rose to equalise for Stoke. It was Kirkland this time that came out for the ball and got nowhere near it, giving Shawcross an easy opportunity.

With only ten minutes to go it got very scrappy and Stoke can thank luck for not giving Latics two or three chances to go through on goal, but their luck ran out when Huth clattered Gomez to give us a penalty. Rodallega stepped up and gave the Stoke keeper the easiest save of his career. The keeper should have been penalised for stepping off his line but as Gomez apparently offside for the penalty it was possibly justice but again very lucky for Stoke.

We then sent in another cross that saw Scotland blocked, followed by Rodallega being blocked and then finally Gomez, it looked like yet again we were never going to get that killer goal to win. We got a free kick on the edge of the box in injury time that was deflected away after Scharner yet again had Shawcross climbing all over his back for another nailed on penalty for the Austrian, but again the ref waved it away and that was the final action of the half.

Latics again did more than enough to win this game, but somehow we just can’t seem to convert all this pressure and possession into wins. The goals we did score were top drawer, the goals we conceded were real schoolboy errors and laziness. Melchiot was caught for pace and out of position far too many times and he needs to really look at himself in this game.

Stoke City’s tactic of kicking our players all over the park has got to ask serious questions of the referee who let the vast majority go without a booking, there were two or three Potters players that could very easily have walked.

Another game we should have won with Liverpool coming up on Wednesday…….

Report by Jason taylor

Cockney Latic Man of the Match: Paul Scharner
Referee: Mike Dean
Attendance: 26,728
29 Thomas Sorensen 1 Chris Kirkland
28 Andy Wilkinson 25 Mario Melchiot
4 Robert Huth 17 Emmerson Boyce
25 Abdoulaye Faye 19 Titus Bramble
17 Ryan Shawcross 31 Maynor Figueroa
24 Rory Delap 27 Mohamed Diame
15 Salif Diao 14 Charles N’Zogbia

Dean Whitehead

15 Jordi Gomez
26 Matthew Etherington 10 Jason Koumas
10 Ricardo Fuller 7 Paul Scharner
20 Tuncay Sanli 20 Hugo Rodallega
1 Steve Simonsen 22 Richard Kingson
3 Danny Higginbotham 5 Cho Won-Hee
6 Glen Whelan 4 Antonio Amaya
9 James Beattie 24 James McCarthy
11 Mamady Sidibe 18 Daniel de Ridder
14 Danny Pugh 9 Jason Scotland
22 Danny Collins 16 Scott Sinclair
15′     Goal Emmerson Boyce
33′ Yellow Card Abdoulaye Faye    
37′ Goal Tuncay    
45′ Yellow Card Tuncay    
47′     Player Off Emmerson Boyce
Player On Scott Sinclair
57′ Yellow Card Salif Siao    
62′ Player Off Salif Diao
Player On Glenn Whelan
63′     Yellow Card Paul Scharner
72′     Goal Maynor Figueroa
74′ Goal Ryan Shawcross    
76′ Yellow Card Andy Wilkinson    
78′     Player Off Jason Koumas
Player On Jason Scotland
83′ Player Off Ricardo Fuller
Player On James Beattie
90′ Yellow Card Robert Huth