The Clarets’ battling spirit led them to take what was eventually a well deserved point, and one far more favourable for the visitors than the hosts, who really needed all three to keep their threadbare survival hopes intact.
To be fair to the Potters, they started the match well, playing with an intensity befitting of a team fighting for their lives at the wrong end of the table.
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Paul Lambert’s cartoonish touchline behaviour notwithstanding, Stoke gave us plenty to think about in the first half in particular, as a back-to-basics approach enabled Peter Crouch to lead the line to good effect.
The gigantic striker was typically colossal with the ball off the deck, but a lack of surrounding quality told as the hosts failed to make the most of his aerial dominance.
Xherdan Shaqiri, as expected, was the brightest forward-thinking cog in the Britannia machine, but even the diminutive winger’s contributions were relatively limited in the way of clear-cut chance creation and telling efforts on Nick Pope’s goal.
As well as an inept playing performance by many though, the abject mental state of many of Stoke’s players should also be subject to scrutiny.
Sean Dyche outlined this week how pleased he has been with his own side’s progression this season in terms of reacting to conceding and being able to stay in the game against admittedly far better quality sides.
In contrast, the Potters were shell-shocked almost to a man by Ashley Barnes’ scrappy equaliser, and from then onwards, rarely threatened to attain the maximum-point haul they so desperately required, though substitute Stephen Ireland did have a good go.
It was the Clarets who appeared most likely to emerge victorious as the game drew to a close, and the visitors were firmly in the ascendency in a bid to all but confirm a Europa League berth.
Jack Butland did his World Cup credentials no harm whatsoever in a personal duel with Johann Berg Gudmundsson, who was desperately unlucky not to convert any of his three stoppage-time opportunities; two of them flashing agonisingly past the post.
All in all though, with Southampton to be eliminated from the FA Cup a matter of hours later, we got what we needed to cement rock-solid European ambitions.
It will take a monumental swing of fortunes from here on in for us to sacrifice a first tilt at continental competition in over half a century.