Simon Lowe: Huth spirit every bit as inspiring as Olympic Games
IT was only a late equaliser.
Yes, it was frustrating, especially after TP's shut-up-shop routine abandoned hope of building on Stoke's lead,
And yes, we have been here before.
The withdrawal of wingers, signifying a desire to merely hold on, led to pressure building and eventually Stoke cracked. A good day out tainted.
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According to half of the internet, though, it was a disaster on a scale only matched by the Olympic closing ceremony and equalled by Australia's miniscule gold medal tally in London.
It's been said that football has much to learn from the way our Olympic heroes conducted themselves, both on and off their performance areas.
Anyone searching for signs of Olympic spirit would have been best avoiding the Madejski Stadium.
The only intimation of the Olympian motto "faster, higher, stronger" came with TP selecting Kightly, Crouch and Huth.
But we all know Stoke has its own code of ethics – one that others sometimes struggle to grasp, but which we stand steadfastly by.
Indeed the spirit of Stoke City FC was never better exemplified than when Robert Huth pulled on the red and white striped shirt to take the field less than a week after being released from hospital with viral meningitis. That's bravery. That's selflessness.
Huth and Shawcross are the best central defensive partnership this club have had for decades. Let's just hope Pulis doesn't try any of his little "experiments" during this campaign.
The centre-halves marshalled the defence well for the majority of the game, but the wagons didn't circle tightly enough and a late equaliser resulted in the dropping of two points.
It wasn't the first time and it certainly won't be the last.
Realists will have woken up yesterday morning knowing that, just as a transfer window shouldn't be judged until it closes, Stoke's DNA isn't going to change any time soon.
Those who patrol cyberspace may spend all that time in their own personal dreamlands, but will be getting a fair dose of reality in the next six weeks when City face a difficult fixture list.
TP will be planning to tough it out, eke out results and then look to cash in when the opposition are the likes of Norwich and West Ham, not Man United and Arsenal.
Football's back – who needs Olympic ideals?