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Stoke 1 City 2.

Having returned from Thailand at the start of the week, City continued their build-up to the season with a 2-1 win away at Stoke.
A trip to Stoke does not hold too many good memories personally, following the relegation game there a few years ago which then resulted in being chased all around the ground by some of the friendly locals.
It won't hold too many good memories for Sun Jihai either who was sent off for a professional foul in the second half with City already one down. David James saved the resulting penalty before BWP equalised and Andy Cole notched the winner.
One thing I do like about Stuart Pearce is his honesty in situations and there was no trying to defend the red card decision (as it was at best a 'clumsy' challenge on a forward about to pull the trigger).
However, Sun Jihai will now miss the season opener and having seen what players from other teams (guess who eh?) have escaped red cards for because referees seem to adopt a more lenient approach on violent conduct offences, it is disappointing.
Stephen Ireland again impressed in midfield and it maybe as well because it has been decided that Joey Barton will not be avaialable for the foreseeable future as Pearce believes he should complete his anger control course before he considers him available for selection.
It is a good move from Pearce as in some respects missing games will hit Barton the hardest, although I don't suppose writing a cheque out for £120,000 is a pleasant experience even for a Premiership footballer.
Anyhow, it does give us the chance to see the all-new, all-improved Trevor Sinclair who feels he is finally ready to show the City fans his best form. Hmm,, expect him to break down in training any day then..