Stoke City: Berbatov goal good enough to win any game
NEW signing Brek Shea has 'Believe' tattooed in large letters on his right leg, so has at least brought a little positive thinking into the Stoke camp.
However, with just one win in 23 league games on the road, it might not be long before Stoke's travelling faithful have 'Boredom,' 'Gordon Bennett' or 'Take Me Home' inked on to various body parts.
This 1-0 defeat at Fulham was certainly not the worst performance of that run, but it wasn't great either.
The 800 Stokies did their best to get behind their side, but the fact some of the loudest chants of the afternoon were about former heroes such as Peter Thorne, George Berry, Abdoulaye Faye and Mark Stein, suggests the current fare is becoming almost incidental to the afternoon out.
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Stoke were a little unlucky not to come away with a point from Craven Cottage, but most complaints these days are about the entertainment as much as the results.
Results must take priority of course, but if they aren't there either then it's not a massive surprise that many away fans are getting the hump.
Most of City's travelling fans are either 'gold', 'silver' or 'platinum' members. I'm not quite sure how they are divided, but I think it's something to do with which precious metal you prefer to hit yourself over the head with for 90 minutes to recreate the away match experience.
Considering Stoke's record of shutting up shop and trying to grind out performances away from home, it was certainly a left-field, 'monkey-tennis', call by whoever chose this game for live coverage by Sky.
That employee would be spending the next deadline day having faces pulled at them at Clayton Wood, but could be saved from that fate by Dimitar Berbatov's stunning volley which lit up the game in first half injury-time.
It was a bolt from the blue because Fulham, despite their possession, had been frustrated by a Stoke side determined to defend in numbers.
I'm sure cats across the Potteries scarper under the sideboard when Tony Pulis goes on the radio after each away disappointment and announces 'we just need one or two things to drop for us.' However, on this occasion he did have a point.
After going a goal down, Stoke had to be positive. Sure enough, Peter Crouch was foiled by Mark Schwarzer before Jon Walters had a penalty saved. Throw in the seventh-minute incident when Walters raced through, but fired across goal and we have a spot-kick and two one-on-ones.
That might not exactly be laying siege to the Fulham goal, but it's a reasonable number of clear-cut chances for one mid-table Premier League side to create away to another.
It has to be said Stoke were lucky to still have eleven men on the field in the second half. Robert Huth will find out today if he is to be charged for appearing to aim an elbow at Philippe Senderos, while Steven Nzonzi was definitely fortunate to stay on after a first-half incident.
Nzonzi was understandably aggrieved about having his nose broken by Dimitar Berbatov's flailing arm.
It wasn't a red card challenge, but you could see Nzonzi was brassed off by the way he furiously waved his arm at the Fulham fans who were telling him to get up and get on with it.
He was clearly still riled when he shoved Bryan Ruiz in the face, an incident which drew only a yellow card despite, or perhaps because of, some ridiculously theatrical rolling about from Ruiz.
Mind you, Fulham's melodramatic manager Martin Jol, pictured, described the challenge as 'Evil' which suggests the central midfielder could face the same sanctions the White House imposed on North Korea.
Hopefully he won't because he remains one of the shining lights of a campaign which has been much better than Stoke's away form would suggest.
Stoke, after all, are still tenth, which would be their highest finish since promotion back to the top flight in 2008.
Anyone who only watches Stoke at home might well be wondering what all the moaning is about. Anyone who only watches Stoke away needs some medication or a medal, possibly both.