Michael O’Neill signed a new goalkeeper for the first time in eight months when Stoke City played in front of fans.
An important bookmark in a unique season in Stoke City tonight as the club returns to fans for the first time in eight months.
Stoke is with Wycombe Wanderers, the newly promoted club in its first season at this level, which has been given permission to 1. 000 home fans as a test event at Adams Park.
Michael O’Neill has traveled to Buckinghamshire without any key men, including his two senior goalkeepers Adam Davies and Angus Gunn – and Niki Maenpaa, who is now also injured. Andy Lonergan was quickly brought in to represent Joe Bursik.
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MON: Very unhappy for Niki. He came in and injured his hand while exercising. He had an operation so it couldn’t have been worse for him. Our thoughts are with him and hope that he will recover quickly.
Andy Lonergan supported us, which is good – and Joe Bursik will benefit from that support too.
I thought Joe Bursik was really excellent tonight. He kicked well, took care of everything and made a really good punch in the end under pressure.
He has played a lot of league games for a goalkeeper his age. He was in the club, but not really in the club, a bit like Harry Souttar since he was on loan all the time.
We see the benefit of him coming back now. It’s good to have a young goalkeeper who can come to the championship.
We had Nathan Collins playing tonight, Tyrese Campbell and Tashan Oakley-Boothe came in. There are four young players who are 19 or 20 years old.
It’s positive for us when we win games like this with such young players on the team.
MON: That’s it. We have to use that. We’re three points off the top but still eighth which shows you the nature of the division and how competitive the division is.
But our appetite for the game was good, that’s the most important thing. I don’t think there has been a time this season when I got away and questioned their desire or rate of work.
Sometimes we have asked for more quality or have been disappointed with the goals we have lost, but in terms of their application they have been enormous.
MON: I thought it was good. It’s a positive move. Unfortunately we don’t have it at Stoke at this point, but I don’t think it’s a particularly big advantage for the clubs that are allowed to.
It may affect the referee a bit on some decisions, but overall I think it’s a positive step that we have supporters in the ground again.
MON: Fletch is a big mistake for us, but I thought Sam (Vokes) did well for us tonight. He connected the piece well and gave us a physical presence up there.
When we had to walk a little longer, as we sometimes did, Nick Powell was also around to connect him. I’m happy for Sam, I also liked his movement in the box.
But we can handle some injuries at the moment. To get here and win a difficult game in the middle of the week, it is three big points for us.
MON: I thought you did well. I thought the two middle halves were really brilliant. They defended really well when they had to.
I think Nathan (Collins) is growing and playing right-back. I think he has that ability. He showed some good moments for the future – a few dubious ones on the defensive – but overall he’s a young player.
I think we ended up having four or five 20 year olds with Tashan, Joe, Tyrese. . . These are all positive things for us.
Clean leaves create trust. Young Joe came in and conceded three goals in his first two games. He has now conceded two goals. That can only boost his confidence.
MON: Pleased. He does well at games like this, to be honest, when the ball is in the air a lot and showing his physical strength and technical quality.
Wherever we ask Nick to play he does a good job for the team and I think that’s his fourth goal. His numbers are good.
Michael O’Neill: We knew it would be a tough game tonight. We had to deal with a promoted team playing to stay in the division every game and not worry about it. We had to adjust their attitude towards the game and their appetite for the game – and they had a huge appetite for the game.
In the first half we showed some real moments of quality. Got down on the sides and could have done better. There were a number of balls that we put in the box.
In the second half we always had the feeling that we were a pass or a moment away from creating a clear chance – then Nick hits the goal well. It’s a goal that works well.
James McClean wins a free kick at the corner flag and stands up to compete against Jack Grimmer.
It’s a bit of a mess when it comes back, but there’s a key head – I think from Batth – in there before Anthony Stewart hits the ball well.
Wycombe throws more body in search of late drama. Until that point in the second half, they couldn’t worry about Stoke.
Tyrese Campbell tries and almost does to walk alone. He overcame a few challenges before Allsop saves his low shot.
James Chester in the book for a foul and dangerous free kick in defense against the Wycombe left, led by Vokes.
I yelled at McClean to pass it on to Fox who was overlapping but it ended up being a nice flank and Powell had so much time to choose his seat.
James McClean gets the ball into space on the left and hangs a flank back so Powell runs behind Ryan Allsop.
Campbell goes into the box from the right, but Stoke can’t smuggle it home. Defenders oust Vokes.
Sam Vokes had more service than the last time, but it was all a bit bitter. There weren’t really any juicy crosses to pounce on.
Joe Jacobson in the book for fouling Nick Powell while leading a Stoke counterattack.
Stoke City F. . C.. . , Wycombe Wanderers F.. . C.. . , EFL Championship, Nick Powell, Michael O’Neill, Adams Park Stadium
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