Football: Gleghorn lets fly and gives Jordan lift-off

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The Independent Online
Stoke City. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

Leicester City. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

THE DEPARTURE of Lou Macari and Mark Stein to richer pastures angered many at the Victoria Ground but since then Stoke have gone from strength to strength. A steady rise up the First Division under the caretaker stewardship of Chic Bates was continued yesterday by Joe Jordan in his first League game in charge.

A day of delight on the pitch and 'Delilah' on the terraces was ensured by Nigel Gleghorn just before half-time of a Midlands derby that was always intriguing if rarely completely enthralling. Leicester, commendably positive in midfield but out of sorts up front, started and finished strongly but could not bypass Stoke's five-man defence in which Ian Cranson and Vince Overson were outstanding. Behind them, Mark Prudhoe confirmed that the Potteries is still a centre for goalkeeping excellence. 'I couldn't have asked anything more from the players,' Jordan said after his team had won to go sixth.

Little was asked of either keeper for the first 40 minutes as the defences dominated. But the game opened up after 43 minutes when Gleghorn drove past Gavin Ward from fully 30 yards.

Gleghorn's splendid strike precipitated a furious finale to the half: Ward blocked from Overson at whites-of-the-eyes range while at the other end Julian Joachim accelerated through the Stoke defence only for Prudhoe to dive at his feet.

Joachim's striking partner, David Speedie, was at his bolshie best and was lucky to escape a booking on the hour when he tangled with Toddy Orlygsson. Stoke's tails were up by then and Dave Regis could have gone home with the match ball if he had finished more like his cousin Cyrille than another relative - John, the athlete.

Stoke only just held on to the full quorum of points. Twice in the final minutes Leicester thought they had scored, first when Brian Carey's shot from five yards was clawed away by Prudhoe, a moment of extraordinary agility. Prudhoe, who spent two seasons under the Leicester manager Brian Little at Darlington, was finally beaten moments later but Overson hooked off the line.

Jordan talked afterwards about the need for consolidation but, it appears, certain things are already changing. 'Discipline is one of them,' Gleghorn said. 'We're not allowed to be late. Lou was often late himself so it never mattered then. Another thing that has changed is that we do more ball work with Joe in training. I suppose it's only natural because he has spent so long doing it with great clubs like United, Leeds and Milan.' Stoke are in good hands.

Stoke City (5-3-2): Prudhoe; Butler, Averson, Cranson, Sandford, Cowan; Gleghorn, Foley, Orlygsson (Gynn, 82); Regis, Carruthers. Substitutes not used: Bannister, Sinclair (gk).

Leicester City (4-4-2): Ward; Grayson, Carey, Hill, Whitlow; Mills (Smith 86), Thompson, Oldfield, Gibson (Philpott, 69); Speedie, Joachim. Substitute not used: Muggleton (gk).

Referee: J Parker (Preston).