Stoke 1-1 Hull: Tigers anti Delap tactics bring towels of derision
Published 00:00 01/12/08 By By David McDonnell
You know you have been at a truly dire game when the most memorable moment involves a player who never even made it on to the pitch and a squabble over the use of towels.
In the absence of any kind of footballing entertainment, it was left to Hull striker Dean Windass - an unused substitute - to provide some light relief from the dross served up by both sides in the freezing fog.
Windass was once shown three red cards in a game and was recently involved in an altercation with Hull colleague Marlon King on a team-bonding exercise, so his ability to cause controversy has never been in doubt.
But even by the 39-year-old's quirky standards, the latest contribution to his scrapbook of misdemeanours was bizarre in the extreme and earned him a deserved yellow card for unsporting conduct.
Plenty of teams have tried various ways to combat Rory Delap's long-range throw-ins, but Windass's novel solution - blocking the Stoke midfielder while nonchalantly warming up on the touchline - will take some beating. Stoke fans were enraged and Hull fans delighted, but after one warning referee Keith Stroud decided enough was enough and booked Windass, who revelled in the moment by gurning towards the baying Stoke fans.
"He's a man who's been redcarded three times in one game so anything can happen with Dean Windass," said Hull boss Phil Brown."
Brown was less than jovial about "towel-gate," the rumpus over Delap's repeated time - wasting when drying the ball before launching one of several of his monster throw-ins during the afternoon.
With impeccable comedy timing, Hull defender Paul McShane wound up Stoke's supporters towards the end of the game by mimicking Delap with some prolonged toweldrying of the ball for a throw-in of his own.
But Brown was deadly serious in his criticism of what he perceived to be favouritism towards Stoke.
"The whole point for me is that from the first minute we were getting told to hurry up our goal-kicks," said Brown.
"Rory Delap took 30 to 35 seconds with every throw-in, trekking from the left wing to the right wing to take them - and he didn't exactly bust a gut to get there.
"Then, when he got there, he made sure his nail varnish was right and all the rest of it. That's their game-plan. I've got no qualms with that, but why tell our keeper to hurry up without telling Delap to hurry up?"
Windass and towel-gate aside, the game was incident-free apart from a dubious late penalty which allowed Stoke to earn an equaliser and a point.
King put the visitors ahead in first-half added time with Hull's first real assault on Stoke's goal, applying an assured finish after Dean Marney had nodded the ball down.
Stoke pushed for an equaliser after the break and their persistence was rewarded when Ricardo Fuller was brought down by Hull keeper Boaz Myhill and ref Stroud awarded a dubious penalty.
Fuller's spot-kick was feeble but had just enough pace to dribble under the outstretched left arm of Myhill.
Brown blamed the ref for being taken in by Fuller's "theatrics" and said: "There's immense pressure on the ref but I can't see how he can categorically say it was a penalty.
"He's under pressure in front of the Stoke fans, and he succumbed."
But Stoke boss Tony Pulis said. "From the one angle it was pretty debatable but from the second angle, you can see that he did catch Rick's leg."
MAN OF THE MATCH (Worth an extra two Fantasy League points) Ricardo Fuller (STOKE) 7 Came to Stoke's rescue to winning and converting their late penalty
VILLAIN OF THE MATCH Boaz Myhill (HULL) 6 The keeper's desperate lunge at Fuller handed Hull the spot-kick decider
ANORAK This was the first time Stoke had gone behind this season and not lost
NEXT THREE GAMES
Tomorrow: Derby (h) Carling C
Sat Dec 6: Newcastle (a) Prem
Sat Dec 13: Fulham (h) Prem
Sat Dec 6: M'brough (h) Prem
Sat Dec 13: Liverpool (a) Prem
Sat Dec 20: Sunderland (h) Prem
Stoke : Sorensen 6, Griffin 6, Cort 6, Abdoulaye Faye 6, Higginbotham 6, Soares 5 (Tonge 62, 6), Diao 7, Amdy Faye 6, Delap 6, Fuller 7, Sidibe 6. Goal: Fuller 73 (pen)
Hull : Myhill 6, McShane 6, Turner 7, Zayatte 6, Ricketts 6; Ashbee 6, Marney 7, Boateng 6 (Cousin 78), Barmby 5 (Halmosi 69, 5); Geovanni 7 (Garcia 90), King 7. Sub not used Windass. Goal: King 45
: Keith Stroud
Attendance : 27,500
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