If only Stoke City had played Hull City in mid-week

Trust this to be the day that Stoke City and the Championship don’t have a mid-week game.

March 4 is the best day in the club’s calendar in terms of results compared to any other day of the year when the club has played regularly (i.e. more than five league or cup games over the past 150 years).

There have been 13 wins in 18 matches, including a certain League Cup final in 1972.

Coincidentally, Stoke were originally scheduled to take on Chelsea in a league match on March 4, 1972. They lost the rearranged fixture at Stamford Bridge the following month but no one remembers that one.

On recent March 4s, there was the 2-0 home win over Middlesbrough in 2017 of Ramadan Sobhi twisting defenders’ blood fame.

There was a 2-0 win over Everton in 2015, a 2-0 win over Bolton in 2009 and a 5-1 win over Chesterfield in 2000 when Peter Thorne got four.

It was a career-changing day for Peter Thorne.

Peter Thorne celebrates his second goal for Stoke City against Chesterfield on March 4, 2000.

Peter Thorne with match ball after scoring four in a 5-1 win for Stoke City against Chesterfield.
Peter Thorne with match ball after scoring four in a 5-1 win for Stoke City against Chesterfield.

On this afternoon in 2000,  Stoke City  handed a debut to new loan signing Arnar Gunnlaugsson and paired him up front with the old boy from Swindon Town who had fallen to third choice.

Thorne had scored 10 times in 38 games so far that season and had only been used from the bench in four of the previous five games. He got the call this time because Kyle Lightbourne had been called up to play for Bermuda and Paul Connor was suffering with a thigh strain.

And he took his chance. He ended up scoring 20 in the final 17 games of the season, including hat-tricks against Bristol Rovers and Bury and the winner at Wembley Stadium against Bristol City to win the Auto Windscreens Shield.

There was a 4-3 away win at Reading in 1992, a 4-1 win at Hull in 1989 and a 1-0 win at Crystal Palace in 1978,

There have been wins over West Brom (of course), Port Vale and Manchester City. The only defeats came to Liverpool in 1967 and Norwich in 2006.

Fast forward to Saturday however and, well…

March 7 itself has not brought Stoke much luck over the years. There has only been one win in 15 games on this date. Nine have ended in defeat.

Yes, it’s the worst day in the Stoke City calendar.

The win came all the way back in 1931, 2-1 against Swansea Town thanks to the two Bobbies, Liddle and Archibald.  There was a 3-2 loss to Hull at the Victoria Ground in 1992.

So let’s hope Michael O’Neill can write his own history.

Stoke City v Hull City – pre-match trivia

  • Stoke have won their last five home league games against Hull City, conceding only once in that run of wins.
  • Hull are looking to complete a league double over Stoke for the first time, in what is the 32nd Football League season they’ve faced.
  • Stoke have lost just one of their last eight home league games (W5 D2), having lost six of their previous eight home games before this run.
  • Hull are winless in 11 games in all competitions (D2 L9), conceding 26 goals across this run including four or more in three separate games.
  • Since Michael O’Neill’s first home Championship match in charge of Stoke in November, only Derby (seven) have conceded fewer home goals than the Potters (eight).
  • Hull have won none of the seven league games that haven’t featured the now-departed Jarrod Bowen this season (D2 L5). The Tigers’ last Championship win without Bowen featuring was back in April 2018 against Burton Albion.

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