Have a look at the decisive moment of this afternoon’s game again here.
We were very strong against the long throws all day. I was a little worried when Bobby Zamora went off because he had been policing the area in front of the near post very effectively for the first twenty minutes and Erik Nevland doesn’t really have the same physical presence. Not to worry, though, as Pantsil’s clearance found it’s way to Johnson. For me, the way our forward players interchanged and ran right at the heart of an undermanned Stoke defence begs the question as to why we don’t leave a few more players in advanced positions when we are defending set pieces.
I loved Erik’s desire to reach the ball first on the halfway line and then ride a rough challenge to keep control. He chose the right option, too, as he could very easily have picked out Gera to his left. The one-two with AJ looked simple but at pace and with defenders getting back it was anything put. A crisp, confident finish from Nevland too. The Norweigan looked lively in the first half today but I felt he faded a little later on – thankfully his determined running and assurance in front of goal had already given us a nice cushion against the late Stoke onslaught.