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Stalemate... Anything But

Stoke
1 - 1
City

Britannia Stadium

19.45 GMT

Attendance: 26,778

Referee:

Manchester City head the race for fourth earning a 1-1 draw at Stoke`s Britannia stadium. Glenn Whelan had previously given the hosts the lead when his crisp shot evaded the grasp of fellow countryman Given. However, as the clock ticked and the City attacks continued Gareth Barry popped up for his second Premier League goal this season with a close range finish.

Alan Wiley has again launched himself into the limelight, facing major criticism, this time from Stoke Boss Tony Pulis. A match full of controversial moments had Wiley scratching his head far too often. The most debatable decision came deep into the 5 minutes added on when Wiley deemed Shawcross`s jump unfair after he netted an unlikely winner. Previously, Wiley had sent off Faye for his challenge on Adebayor, sparking scenes of disbelief.

Despite a well-earned point lifting City up to fourth, the point was greeted with greater disappointment than joy. If the stranglehold on the top four is to be broken a more consistent run of results, especially away from Eastlands, are desperately needed.

For the majority of the proceedings the home side out-battled and physically dominated their more illustrious opponents. The constant threat of set pieces, line-out throws and long balls was evident, Stoke created several heart-in-mouth moments with desperate last-ditch defending needed. The pitch became a battle-field with City the more likely to shirk the 50-50 challenge. Several early robust challenges were left unpunished as Stoke continued to press, bully and Harass City into defensive mistakes.

City were somewhat fortuitous to enter half-time level, but after evading the first half onslaught the cause for concern could fade with our chances increasing with more fluid play.

Wiley entered the pitch after 45 minutes unscathed and pleased with a professional 45 minutes. His afternoon was to dramatically change with every future decision barracked and criticised. City looked more urgent with Mancini clearly unimpressed after another poor 45 minutes of football. After Adebayor pounced on a loose Faye touch, Wiley and his officials stepped in. Faye manhandled and finally tripped the Togolese striker as he rampaged down the centre. Last man and clearly guilty, Wiley had no option but to dismiss the Defender.

Stoke felt aggrieved and City began to push. The tempo was much improved and the pendulum was swinging into City`s favour. Mancini, a quiet self-assured character showed deep passion and frustration on the touchline gasping at every wrong move, urging the City attack forward.

A hammer blow, against the run of play caused Mancini to shirk more than ever. The dependable Shay Given made a very rare mistake. After City failed to clear the ball, Whelan struck a right footed shot crisply across the turf. Given looked to grasp the ball with ease but was left shell-shocked as it slipped across the greasy turf into his bottom corner.

he Stoke faithful bellowed louder than ever as another remarkable scalp looked on course. City. "Typical City" looked to finally force the encounter and take the lead but were left bitterly disappointed with a Whelan goal.

Fortunately, a never say die attitude arose and Stoke were pinned back into their 18 yard box. The long ball was proving effective for both sides as City pumped several attacks into Sorenson`s danger area.

Again, it looked too little too late. Stoke were resistant and resolute as countless efforts proved frivolous. The clock looked to enter stoppage time and was ticking faster than ever. As Pulis and his side relaxed, Barry ceased his opportunity and snatched a late, dramatic equaliser. After a goal-mouth scramble, involving Barry hitting the post, the midfielder pounced on his rebound and slotted home.

Only City looked forward, Stoke were anxious, City feeling pulsated. More chances fell but nothing was materialising.

Public enemy no1 Wiley hit new heights in the 95th minute. Stoke looked dead and buried but were given a huge opportunity as the ball crossed the line for a throwing. Bad memories of Stoke`s equaliser hit home, Delap`s long throw again found the 6 yard box and an unmarked Shawcross headed home. The home fans were jubilant. However, Wiley struck, with his whistle to his mouth, he called Shawcross`s tackle unfair and awarded City an undeserved free-kick.

The match finished shortly after with a 1-1 score-line a fair reflection. City did leap into fourth spot but missed the opportunity of grasping 3 points. This draw can look a positive result however, if City capitalise and bridge a further gap between themselves and Liverpool with a weekend fixture at Eastlands in the offing.

Player Ratings


Given-5

Rare mistake led to Stoke's goal. Was fortunate with a 95th minute decision.

Richards-6

A good strong performance both defensively and offensively.

Toure-5

Poor. Lacks leadership and ability.

Lescott-7

Strong defensive performance. Good partnership with Kompany possibly.

Garrido-5

Quiet. Poor crossing.

Vieira-5

Very poor and fortunate to last 90 minutes. Could have seen red on numerous occasions.

Barry-6

His late goal grabbed a deserved draw. A spectator in the first half, Barry look more accomplished in the second.

De Jong-6

Good defensively. Passing has improved. Another first half spectator.

Johnson-6

Our brightest spark going forward. Good close control and skill.

Santa Cruz-5

Poor first touch. Understandably rusty. Could have scored on several occasions with match practice.

Adebayor-5

Wasn't the threat he needs to be. Needs a more powerful, old centre-forward performance.

Wright-Phillips-5

Different dimension. Should have started.

Zabaleta

Little Time

Petrov

Little time


Writer:Yak
Date:Tuesday February 16 2010
Time: 10:58PM

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Comments

0
We had no right to get anything from that game- Stoke won fair and square
BlueWolfie
16/02/2010 23:34:00
0
Only saw the game on Sky, but thought Stoke were harshly done to with the Wiley decision. Really starting to worry now. A Liverpool win is an absolute must. Mancini seriously needs to get the lads firing from the first whistle to the last.
Roslers Grandad
16/02/2010 23:36:00
0
Stoke have only lost 7 games at home since the return to the premiership. I would have settled for a point before the game, knowing city have a chronic away record since.... since i was born! If given didnt make his mistake, city would have nicked a win. Stoke were hard done by, we were lucky for once.
Super City Slicker
16/02/2010 23:58:00
0
We duked it out and got a deserved point.
Lando78
17/02/2010 00:32:00
0
definitely not deserved. All do respect. They was hosed at the end their. Legit red card though - i knew it from the moment it happend, just had to be. You looked a bit toothless in attack today, no?
los_angeles_villan
17/02/2010 01:00:00
0
Lucky City - but what the heck, that's what the Sky4 do - play crap and nick a point.. At least Stoke know what it's like now to dominate a game and not win it.
Thaibluefan
17/02/2010 05:28:00
0
Daylight robbery for Man City. Shambolic decision at the death from Wiley.
Shelfinduced
17/02/2010 09:47:00
0
If ypu play like that away from home. Its guna be 6th for you. Absymal from Wiley. Yet another crap ref at Stoke!
redandwhitestripemad
17/02/2010 10:59:00
0
The amount of times we've been on the receiving end of decisions and results like that down the years ahas been unreal. Must be something to do with being in 4th place! LOL!
Johnny Baguette
17/02/2010 11:22:00
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