Pete Smith's Stoke City player ratings vs Bristol City as Million Manhoef leads 4-0 rout

Million Manhoef celebrates scoring Stoke City's third goal against Bristol City at the bet365 Stadium.
Million Manhoef celebrates scoring Stoke City's third goal against Bristol City at the bet365 Stadium. -Credit:Charlotte Tattersall

Stoke City supporters ended the season singing about Steven Schumacher as his side hammered Bristol City and waltzed their way to a third win in a row.

Stoke have belied their position in the table in the final fortnight, producing their best performances of the campaign to leather Plymouth Argyle, secure their Championship status with three points at promotion-chasing Southampton and now this, a destruction of Bristol City, who had won on all of their five previous visits to the bet365 Stadium.

They were red hot from the first whistle and were three ahead by half-time thanks to Luke Cundle, Tyrese Campbell and Million Manhoef. Manhoef added a fourth early in the second half and Bae Junho and Cundle both struck the woodwork too.

It is only the third time since 2016 that Stoke have won three games on the spin and it means they end up 17th in a congested table, with 56 points. Results below them have meant that it took more than 50 points to stay up and these last two outstanding games of the term have been vital as well as impressive.

REACTION: Stoke City 4 Bristol City 0

Schumacher named an unchanged starting XI for a third game in a row and saw his team again hit their top heights. They attacked with fluency, aggression and a lot of confidence in front of the biggest home crowd of the season.

If the mission, as the head coach had suggested in his pre-match press conference, was to persuade those fans to look forward to next year, then they followed it through to the letter in a superb performance - even if they also got a stroke of luck when Tommy Conway had a goal controversially disallowed for offside on the break following some quick and neat play.

Manhoef, Cundle and Junho combined brilliantly and Manhoef and Junho both went close before Cundle made the breakthrough in the 25th minute. Manhoef had Hayden Roberts on the back foot as he paced into the box and he picked out Josh Laurent, who, off-balance, managed to poke the ball into space for Cundle to challenge Max O’Leary at full stretch and find the bottom corner.

Daniel Iversen was called upon to keep the lead. He made a fine save with his right foot when Scott Twine nipped into space behind the defence and struck a low shot on target.

Junho thought he had scored when he overlapped Manhoef down the middle in a superb break but his shot hit the underside of the bar and came back down on the line.

But it was soon 2-0. Cundle had only just mis-read one run from Campbell when he picked him out down the inside left. Campbell had a lot to do and seemed too wide to take on a shot - but he backed himself and walloped the ball past O’Leary into the roof of the net. It was such a hot strike that captain Laurent offered to shine his boot in celebration.

And 2-0 became 3-0 before the celebration had even calmed down.

Manhoef played a one-two with Hoever, spinning into space down the line. It didn’t matter that he was on his right foot by the time he got to the six-yard box because he could just slip it past the keeper.

If that was close-range, his second and Stoke’s fourth was a belter. Enda Stevens had burst down the left to keep the ball in play and it was worked across via Junho and Cundle to Manhoef in the middle. One touch to control and the second to lamp it into the top corner.

Cundle thought he’d made it five when he rolled up the pitch and pinged a shot against the angle of bar and post.

Stoke might have had five or six but four has been rare enough. Roll on the summer.

Here are the player ratings from the bet365 Stadium.

Iversen: A couple of fine saves and the first, to stop Twine with his right foot, was all the more important as the scores were still level. Three clean sheets in a row. 8

Hoever: Ending the season like a train and forming a stellar attacking partnership with Manhoef down the right. Another assist. 8

Stevens: Whatever happens next, has played a huge part when fit this season. Realises the importance of small moments, like keeping the ball in play in build up to fourth goal. 8

Wilmot: Might have got himself onto the scoresheet at one point but the key aspect was his defending, quick and aggressive. 8

McNally: Has probably found his best form in the run-in, winning headers and ready to move upfield if and when it opens up. 8

Thompson: Enjoying himself in the last few weeks in the holding role. Spreads play and gets the ball to the players who can make a difference. 8

Laurent: Can make a big impact when he’s cranked up to full aggression. Pressed hard and linked play neatly. 8

Cundle: Energy, skill and commitment and his one-touch play and movement was integral to how Stoke were able to attack with speed. 9

Manhoef: Ending the season with a real flair, working with those around him and looking a real danger in the final third. Excellent finishes. 9

Junho: Started the afternoon by picking up his player of the year award and played full of confidence and quality. Hard luck when shot bounced off bar onto line. 8

Campbell: Standing ovation as late-season turnaround continued. Blasted goal past O’Leary and has led the line expertly in four straight games. 8


Lowe (for Campbell, 69): Prepared to put himself about and move the ball quickly. 7

Sidibe (for Thompson, 75): A nice way to finish the season by getting back on the pitch. His dad was scoring the vital goals the last time Stoke beat Bristol City here. 7

Tchamadeu (for Hoever, 75): Got the call to replace injured Hoever in closing stages and joined in play down the right. 7

Burger (for Laurent, 75): Always finds a way to get into the thick of the action. 7

Leris (for Manhoef, 88): Late summons gave chance for Manhoef to get standing ovation. Low cross almost found Lowe for fifth. 7

Not used: Bonham, Gooch, Rose, Vidigal.

Referee: Sam Barrott (West Riding) 7

Match rating: 8

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