Norwich City 0 Stoke City 1: High-flying Sidibe helps stuttering Stoke mind the gap
Wednesday 12 March 2008
Last October, Mamady Sidibe was nearly killed on the football pitch. The 28-year-old suffered severed veins in his right arm after being attacked by an angry mob of Togo fans while playing for his native Mali in an African Nations Cup qualifier. Last night, the striker breathed new life into Stoke's promotion campaign by scoring the winner in a less than convincing performance at Carrow Road.
The manner of the victory did not bother Stoke's manager, Tony Pulis, who left his leading scorer Ricardo Fuller on the substitutes' bench with Saturday's trip to third-place Watford in mind.
Pulis had seen his side go into the game without a win in three matches, and was grateful to Sidibe. "I'm pleased for him," Pulis said. "He puts so much work into his game and he's an absolute handful."
Sidibe's winner was just his second goal of the season and came in the 58th minute when he flicked a long throw from Rory Delap past David Marshall in the Norwich goal.
Stoke could have taken the lead in the first half, though, when full-back Carl Dickinson saw his left-footed cross come back off the bar with Marshall stranded.
The Norwich manager, Glenn Roeder, bemoaned a "ridiculously poor goal" from his side's point of view, having spent two days working specifically on dealing with Delap's long throws.
For Stoke, this long overdue win was worth the wait. With all those around them dropping points Pulis's side were able to move within a point of the leaders Bristol City at the top of the table.
They had goalkeeper Carlo Nash and the Norwich forward Jamie Cureton to thank. Nash twice saved well from substitute Ched Evans and once from Cureton, as Stoke clung on to their slender lead. Cureton then unbelievably missed from just three yards out with the game in injury time.
Pulis was thankful for Cureton's error. "I've known Jamie since he was seven years of age," he said. "I was at Bristol and I was a pro there and Jamie was a little schoolboy. I might send him a bottle of champagne if we do go up this season."
After the season Sidibe has had, Pulis would do well to set one of those bottles aside for him.
Norwich City (4-4-2): Marshall; Otsemobor, Pearce, Shackell, Camara (Evans, 69); Croft, Fotheringham, Pattison, Bertrand; Dublin, Cureton. Substitutes not used: Gilks (gk), Gibbs, Spillane, Daley.
Stoke City (4-4-2): Nash; Griffin, Cort (Shawcross, 81), Riggott, Dickinson; Lawrence, Diao (Fuller, 52), Delap, Pugh; Cresswell, Sidibe (Gallagher, 84). Substitutes not used: Simonsen (gk), Wilkinson.
Referee: K Woolmer (Northamptonshire).
Latest in Sport
Brazil vs Germany match report World Cup 2014: Utter humiliation for hosts as Thomas Muller and Toni Kroos help Germany hit seven past Selecao
World Cup 2014: The 50 best players of the World Cup
Angel di Maria: Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal 'monitoring' Real Madrid winger
PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014: Heartbreaking photos show home fans reacting to humiliating defeat
- 1 Howard Jacobson: Let's see the 'criticism' of Israel for what it really is
- 3 Do you know this man? Amnesia sufferer found in park pleads for help in identifying who he is
- 4 PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
British jihadist calls for 'flag of Islam' over Downing Street and Buckingham Palace
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
There’s a nasty smell in the political air – and it’s coming from the Tories