Kenwyne Jones fires Stoke to victory over Thun in Europa League

Several clubs produce films about themselves but none is quite as effective as the half-time montage shown on the screens of the Britannia Stadium.

Kenwyne Jones fires Stoke to victory over Thun in Europa League It begins with George Eastham lifting the League Cup in 1972 and spirals downwards until 1990 when Stoke City become part of the Third Division before being dragged back up again.

It reminds the club what they are capable of and where they have come from and it is also a reason why Tony Pulis, the manager under whom Stoke have taken their most decisive strides, was able to describe this as a "European adventure" without there being any tittering at the back.

"We had everything to lose here," said Pulis afterwards. "Celtic have gone out to a Swiss team who are below Thun in their league. I just hope to God that we can draw one or two big teams because the Britannia will be an absolutely special place."

After their 1-0 win on an Astroturf pitch in the first leg in Switzerland, there was never any real doubt Stoke would qualify, but there was a buzz about this game that might come as a surprise to those who consider the Europa League to be the Carling Cup with passports. Virtually every home seat had been sold. It was, however, much less of an event in the Bernese Oberland. Precisely 46 Thun supporters travelled from the lakeside town that lies in the shadow of the Jungfrau and the Eiger to the altogether gentler scenery of Staffordshire.

Thun may be leading the Swiss Super League but, realistically, the 46 would have known their night was done the moment Matthew Upson rose to thunder in Jermaine Pennant's corner. It was Upson's first goal since another header provided a brief fig leaf during England's World Cup debacle against Germany in Bloemfontein.

The scoreline was the same but the emotions would have been rather different. When Stoke qualified for the Europa League many wondered how Europe would cope with Rory Delap's long throws and all that obvious physicality. The real question is how they will cope with the kind of superb wing-play Pennant is so often capable of. It was on display when he delivered another cross half a dozen minutes later and Kenwyne Jones stooped between two defenders to head home Stoke's second.

That pretty much wrapped up qualification but, just to make sure, when the visitors' defence failed to properly clear one of Pennant's corners, Glenn Whelan charged in, took deliberate aim and saw the ball dip before it flew in beneath the crossbar. Even when Pennant was removed the crosses kept coming and when Tom Soares, driving down the right, sent over a deep ball on the run, it was met with one of Jones's unanswerable headers.

To prove it was not a complete walkover, Andreas Wittwer scored a surprisingly good goal, given the state of play, allowing the 46 to reach for their scarves and launch into another chorus of Yellow Submarine.

Powered by article was written by Tim Rich at the Britannia Stadium, for The Guardian on Thursday 25th August 2011 21.51 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


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