STOKE CITY only claimed a single Premier League point during March . . . but that statistic doesn’t offer a true reflection of the month.
The Potters’ performances deserved greater reward, but luck was firmly against them, not least against West Ham United as we slipped to a third 1-0 defeat in four matches against London opposition.
Substitute Jack Collison grabbed the only goal of the game at the Britannia Stadium with a clinical finish on the stroke of half-time.
The woodwork denied us an equaliser our pressure probably deserved as Charlie Adam’s 90th minute dipping volley beat Jussi Jaaskelainen, but crashed against the woodwork.
Defeat at Newcastle eight days later was an equally bitter pill to swallow as we found ourselves on the receiving end of a storming comeback by the Geordies.
An injury-time winner from Papiss Cisse condemned us to our latest setback after Jonathan Walters’ clinically-taken penalty midway through the second period had been cancelled out by Yohan Cabaye’s stunning free kick.
The Potters had looked on course to take something from the game after soaking up plenty of Newcastle pressure and then taking the lead after Walters himself had been upended in the box by Cheick Tiote’s rash challenge.
Despite the fact that the Republic of Ireland international had missed a couple of penalties recently, he took responsibility for calmly slotting the spot kick past Rob Elliot.
Newcastle were quickly back on level terms when Cabaye curled home his free kick off the underside of the bar after Glenn Whelan had brought down Mousa Sissoko.
A point seemed on the cards for us, but with the game drifting into four minutes of injury time, Cisse latched onto a neat through ball from Sylvain Marveaux to finish from close range, leaving them empty-handed from their visit to the North East.
We moved back into the top 10 in the Premier League following a goalless home draw with West Brom but there was more disappointment in store when we travelled to Merseyside.
Tony Pulis’ men were again forced to rue a series of missed chances as our poor run of form continued against Everton in front of the live television cameras.
Walters, Robert Huth and Ryan Shotton were all culpable of spurning guilt-edged opportunities at Goodison Park, while Belgian Kevin Mirallas proved to be the match-winner with a clinically taken first-half strike.
Away from the first team scene, Potters legend Gordon Banks marked his 75th birthday with a celebration dinner at the Britannia Stadium which was attended by many of his City team-mates from the 1972 League Cup triumph, as well as Roger Hunt, Ron Flowers and Ian Callaghan from England’s 1966 World Cup winning squad.