Premier League - Stubborn Stoke deny City late on
Sat, 27 Nov 16:56:00 2010
A stoppage-time strike from Matthew Etherington saw Stoke City salvage a 1-1 draw with Manchester City in a tight Premier League encounter at the Britannia Stadium.
It looked set to be City's third goalless draw in four league matches as neither side could muster a goal until Micah Richards broke the deadlock nine minutes from time with a composed finish to break the Potters' stout resistance.
But Stoke, who were looking to secure their fourth successive top-flight win for the first time in 30 years, claimed a point in dramatic fashion as Etherington beat Joe Hart in clinical fashion in the second minute of added time.
Roberto Mancini made three changes to his side as Richards, James Milner and Mario Balotelli were all handed starting berths, while Jermaine Pennant recovered from a hamstring strain to enable Tony Pulis to name an unchanged side.
There was a stark contrast in thermal attire as the City players looked as though they were embarking on a North Pole expedition, while the Stoke lads barely felt the need for long-sleeved shirts as the match began at a frenetic pace.
The Potters had the edge for much of the first half, and a slick move almost saw an opener in the eighth minute; Rory Delap lobbed a long ball into the box which Robert Huth flicked into the path of Ricardo Fuller with a deft touch, only for the forward to volley narrowly wide.
There was a paucity of class in a drab opening, but Joe Hart was twice tested in a matter of seconds as he first saved with his feet to deny Etherington, before he smothered the loose ball as the winger looked to convert the rebound.
Seconds later, Fuller played an exquisite one-two with Kenwyne Jones on the edge of the City box to get in behind the static duo of Kolo Toure and Vincent Kompany, but the Jamaican proceeded to drag a tame shot wide of the far post with only Hart to beat.
Neither side were able to muster a single goal-scoring opportunity after the 16th minute in a first half which was devoid of inspiration or quality in the final third, and the spearhead of City's attack Carlos Tevez cut a particularly forlorn figure.
The second half was no better, but Pulis was almost rewarded for an attacking change as substitute Tuncay's corner was volleyed to the back post by Etherington, only for Ryan Shawcross to head wide from close range.
City were restricted to speculative long-range efforts, and Asmir Begovic was not troubled as Tevez and Balotelli were extremely ineffectual in attack for the visitors.
The Italian forward squandered a glorious opportunity to break the deadlock in the 74th minute as he ghosted in at the near post but failed to make contact with David Silva's delightful delivery from out on the left.
Jones thought he had breached the City defence after turning Etherington's corner towards the near post, but Milner was on hand to clear the ball off the line in desperate fashion.
The visitors then made Stoke pay for their profligacy in front of goal as Milner slipped in Richards down the right, who spun Danny Collins expertly then lashed a fierce strike beyond Begovic into the far corner of the net.
City focused everything on their obdurate defence, but Etherington confounded their approach with an unerring strike into the far corner of the net after a delightful back heel from Tuncay had put the winger through on goal.
The draw sees City stay in fourth spot in the Premier League table with their fifth draw of the season, while Stoke are in eighth place.Dan Quarrell / Eurosport