Wednesday 2nd May 2012
Saturday was a thoroughly enjoyable day all around for our travelling party. An easy journey, plenty of banter and pre-match refreshment made it the perfect build-up.
We couldn't help but reflect on the journey home, however. It was arguably a penalty decision away from being the ideal away day experience.
Since their return to the top flight, Stoke have proved time and time again that trips to the Potteries are nothing less than difficult when looking to come away with three points.
The players are well aware of that too I believe and it was no coincidence that we started the game extremely brightly and could have taken the lead but for a fine save from an early RVP header.
The one and only time we found ourselves stretched for pretty much the the whole of the first half, we were punished in the hardest way possible. It was the perfect cross for a striker of such immense height and we were seriously unlucky to go behind.
Shortly after of course, with fine work from both Yossi and Tommy R in the build-up, our captain slotted home to bring us level.
In a difficult remainder of the match where our hosts defended admirably, we continued to probe for that all-important opening and a chance to take the three points.
A number of half chances came and went before Yossi burst into the box onto RVP's pass. In the away section we probably had the best view of all and it was clear that he had no reason to go down. It looked to us like Yossi was pushed over but on this occasion the decision, crucially, didn't go our way.
Bac made a fine defensive clearance in the dying moments, unsurprisingly from a long throw but to be honest, offensively this was pretty much all Stoke offered on the day threat-wise.
It was another point to add to our total as we headed home with thoughts turning to Norwich on Saturday.
Other news since my last thoughts include the announcement that Lukas Podolski will be a Gooner next season. It is a move that has been rumoured for a little while now and for me it is fantastic news that a player approaching the prime of his career has been confirmed as arriving before the transfer 'silly season' has even commenced. He has already achieved over 90 international caps for one of the world's strongest football nations. Welcome to the family Lukas.
A point away at the Britannia is not a bad result in any season and hopefully it will prove a crucial one. It means no matter what happens elsewhere we are two wins from that all-important third place.
Norwich stand in the way for the first three points after a fine first season back in the top flight.
Let's do our bit to make it a noisy and positive final home game of the season.
Come on you mighty reds.