Match analysis: Stoke City 1 Fulham 0
NOT even the presence of John Motson's famous sheepskin – we assume Motty himself was buried somewhere beneath all that fur – could help nudge Stoke City up the Match Of The Day running order.
But what do you expect after yet another 1-0 grind containing few shots and little entertainment?
• GALLERY: Match Action: Stoke City 1 Fulham 0
Well, not this time, for this was a hybrid performance, somewhere between the new and the old Stoke City.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
There was some decent football, though not enough to please the purists of course, and there was a return to the good old-fashioned policy of pressurising in the air in front of goal.
Stoke would have been fools to have ignored the absence of Fulham skipper Brede Hangeland from the heart of a visiting defence left forgivably vulnerable to all those terrifyingly bad moustaches flying through the air towards the next high ball.
No coincidence, therefore, that both Ryan Shawcross and Robert Huth have rarely looked so capable of scoring in the same game.
Shawcross, without a goal since Stoke last played Fulham in February, was especially unlucky to see a close-range header crash against the crossbar after beating the goalkeeper to a 36th-minute corner, while a second-half header from Huth was tipped over with little time to spare.
Mark Schwarzer would also be tempted from his line with increasing frequency and decreasing confidence in a bid to support his defenders during a fraught period in the third quarter of the game.
The afternoon was another personal triumph for Charlie Adam as he scored for a second successive home game and again demonstrated his ability to influence fixtures against the lesser lights.
He's certainly lacking no confidence after taking aim more than once from the edge of the area or beyond, while his goal was taken with the speed, impulse and efficiency of a seasoned goal sniffer.
And it was classic Stoke City. A superbly arced ball from the right wing was not Ryan Shotton's only attacking contribution to the cause as the young full-back frequently offered natural width down the right to match Matthew Etherington's down the left.
Shotton's delivery to just beyond the back post was manna from heaven for Peter Crouch as he out-jumped two defenders to nod down for Adam, left unchallenged, to control and shoot on the spin from around five yards.
No wonder his manager is imploring him to stick to Crouch's slipstream and hover in such scavenging areas of the pitch.
Fulham were unashamedly somewhat delicate in comparison to Stoke's more robust approach to proceedings, a little too delicate at times.
For these were no temperatures to be standing around, but lying around seemed ok and on one occasion – we shouldn't snigger – two Fulham players lay motionless on the pitch as Stoke broke upfield.
Neither injury proved fatal, as it happened, but it does no harm to sustain this myth about Stoke's brutal approach to life in the Premier League.
Only once did Fulham have cause to really bellyache, perhaps, and Dimitar Berbatov deserves the utmost respect for squaring up to Huth after the big German's studs had passed close by.
Say what you want about the enigmatic Berbatov, but it's not every player who could stand his ground, look Huth in the eye and not burst out laughing at his porn star's moustache.
Berbatov really came to life, along with the rest of his team, in the last 10 or 15 minutes when Stoke's failure to kill the game provided the visitors with some late lustre.
The Bulgarian's angled shot inspired a fine parry from Asmir Begovic, a goalkeeper beaten only by Etherington's nut-meg at the start of an afternoon which would end with a fifth clean sheet in six home games.
Berbatov also flicked casually, brilliantly at a right-wing cross and then berated his colleagues for not anticipating such impulsive impudence, while Stoke's one stroke of luck came when a left-wing ball evaded several outstretched boots.
Stoke's discomfort would have been alleviated had Kenwyne Jones not been flagged for a distinctly marginal offside after stroking through the keeper's legs shortly before an additional four minutes was awarded.
Jones greeted the perceived injustice with typical fury – grinning from ear-to-ear – but at least his clinical finish will do no harm to his confidence when a rare Premier League start comes his way any day soon.
The home fans also seemed to enjoy most of what they saw on Saturday, distinguishing themselves by chanting Steven Nzonzi's name after a couple of wayward passes amounted to comfortably his worst 20 seconds in a Stoke shirt.
Stoke's home record is not only the envy of England, but also Europe as well apparently, after leaking just that one goal in 540 minutes of league action this season.
It's the kind of sequence that can prolong all kinds of superstitions and is the only conceivable excuse for Stoke's assistant manager to insist on wearing shorts and exposing his lovely legs at this time of year.
So at least there will be some consolation whenever Stoke do concede again at the Britannia Stadium.