Barclays Premier League

Stoke City 1-1 Manchester City

Ivorian midfielder Yaya Toure (pictured above) equalised for City in the second period with a powerfully struck shot from distance



By Adam Higgins
Chief Football Editor from the Britannia Stadium


Yaya Toure struck a fine equaliser to salvage a point for Manchester City to move them to the top of the Premier League- a point above Manchester United- in a battling encounter at Stoke City.

The Ivorian midfielder powered in a thumping effort from thirty-five yards which took a deflection off Stoke's Ryan Shawcross after Potters striker Peter Crouch volleyed in a stunning strike of his own earlier in the second period to give the home side a lead that they deserved just as much as City did. Whitehead elbowed Silva in the face and was lucky to escape with no action taken from referee Howard Webb while the official also failed to award Stoke a penalty when Gareth Barry caught Glenn Whelan inside the penalty area on a follow-through.

Stoke made three changes to the team that drew at Tottenham during the week, with Matthew Etherington coming in for Jermaine Pennant, Dean Whitehead starting in place of Salif Diao and Wilson Palacios dropping to the bench for Glenn Whelan to come in.

The visitors came into this match on the back of their 2-1 win over Chelsea and they made just two changes to that side. In midfield Nigel de Jong took a place on the bench, being replaced by Gareth Barry, and Edin Dzeko replaced Sergio Aguero in attack after the Argentine picked up a foot injury at the team’s hotel. Carlos Tevez, who set up the winner for Samir Nasri on Wednesday, remained on the substitutes bench while skipper Micah Richards continued in central defence with Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott coming in. 

The match made a very slow and tentative start, with neither side creating any real chances in the opening moments, but Cameron Jerome almost made the breakthrough in the 12th minute as he looked to get on the end of Crouch’s header, but his attempted scissor-kick just missed the ball.


Manchester City have taken just four points from their last four away Premier League matches.  


City, who have never won at the Britannia Stadium in the Premier League, began to assert control on the possession, but both sides continued to cancel each other out, and a head injury to David Silva hardly helped matters as play was halted for several minutes.

As the match closed in on the half-hour mark the Stoke fans were yelling for a penalty as Kolo Toure barged Crouch to the floor to allow Joe Hart a chance to collect the ball at a corner, but Howard Webb wasn’t interested.

City should then have opened the scoring in the 34th minute. Samir Nasri cleverly played Gael Clichy down the line and the left-back whipped in an excellent cross to the far post, but Dzeko couldn’t get his header on target, when he should have at least forced Asmir Begovic into a save.

Soon after it was Pablo Zabaleta who should have scored, receiving a pass from Nasri as he marched into the right side of the penalty area, but the Argentine decided to take a touch rather than shoot first time and Stoke were able to clear.

Thankfully the action had begun to quicken as the first half went on and the visitors were forced to clear off their goal line as half-time approached. Etherington’s left-footed corner managed to go through everyone and towards the far post, but Zabaleta was there to hook the ball out from under the crossbar. The former Tottenham winger Etherington, who scored a 92nd minute equaliser in this fixture last season to earn Stoke a 1-1 draw, appealed vividly to the linesman but the correct decision was made.

It didn’t take long after the break for City carve open the Stoke defence. Dzeko got himself on the end of a long ball from midfield, and after taking it down he proceeded to take it round Begovic, but the Bosnian goalkeeper was able to get enough on his compatriot’s shot to concede a corner.

Stoke almost had a reason to shout for themselves five minutes later as Whelan’s cross from deep was headed back across the goal by Jerome, but Hart blocked a combined headed effort from Jonathan Walters and Shawcross.

Both sides continued to struggle to truly control the match, but Stoke opened the scoring just before the hour, and what an incredible strike it was.

Begovic smashed the ball up field, for Pennant to nod the ball back to Crouch, and the former Liverpool man chested the ball down onto his knee and then let rip a stunning volley from the right-hand side that dipped into the top far corner, leaving Hart no chance.



Manchester City have won three of the last four encounters between the two sides in all competitions conceding just one goal.


Stoke’s goal forced City to attack with more purpose, but after Mario Balotelli was denied by Begovic, and Yaya Toure had a strike easily saved, they looked to Carlos Tevez to work his magic from the bench.

With 15 minutes left, the visitors levelled the score, but it didn’t come through Tevez, rather Yaya Toure. The Ivorian, who scored the winning goal against Tony Pulis's side in the FA Cup final last season, let fly from about all of thirty-five yards and despite getting two hands to it, Begovic could keep it out as the ball nestled in the goal. Replays suggest Shawcross deflected the strike slightly, therefore perhaps taking some of the blame off Begovic, but the Bosnian will be extremely disappointed with his effort.

As full-time got closer, it became evident that the home team were looking to sit back and catch their opponents on the counter attack, and it almost worked perfectly as Walters broke and the ball eventually found its way to Pennant on the right, he crossed only for Wilson Palacios’s header to be knocked behind by Adam Johnson.

Substitute Palacios was acting as an effective driving force in the centre after coming on and he went close again as stoppage time approached, attempting to curl an effort round Hart into the top corner, but it whistled just wide.

Goalkeeper Joe Hart almost gifted Stoke the three points in the closing stages as he failed to keep a hold of a free-kick, but Kenwyne Jones was penalised for a foul and Manchester City held on for the point that takes them top until at least Monday night but only on goal difference- when rivals United will have the chance to open up a three-point lead at the top of the table when they host Fulham at Old Trafford.


Saturday 24th March 2012

Barclays Premier League

Britannia Stadium


Stoke City 1-1 Manchester City                          KO 5:30pm                (HT 0-0)

Crouch 59       Yaya Toure 76


Stoke City:   1 Begovic- 7/10, 28 Wilkinson- 7.5/10, 4 Huth- 7.5/10, 17 Shawcross (C)- 7.5/10, 12 Wilson- 7.5/10, 19 Walters- 8/10, 18 Whitehead- 7/10, 6 Whelan- 7/10, 26 Etherington- 6.5/10 (Palacios 81- 2/10), 25 Crouch- 8/10 (Jones 90- 0.5/10), 33 Jerome- 6/10 (Pennant 51- 3.5/10).

Subs not used:  29 Sorensen, 20 Upson, 30 Shotton, 24 Delap

Booked:     Wilson (64)


Manchester City:   25 Hart- 7/10, 5 Zabaleta- 7.5/10 (Milner 84- 1.5/10), 28 K Toure- 6.5/10, 2 Richards (C)- 7/10, 22 Clichy- 8.5/10, 21 Silva- 5.5/10 (Johnson 62- 3.5/10), 18 Barry- 6/10 (Tevez 74- 2.5/10), 42 Yaya Toure- 7/10, 19 Nasri- 6.5/10, 10 Dzeko- 6/10, 45 Balotelli- 6/10.

Subs not used:  29 Sorensen, 20 Upson, 30 Shotton, 24 Delap

Booked:     Barry (38), Yaya Toure (90+4)


My Man of the Match:      Gael Clichy (Manchester City)- Rating 8.5/10

My Poorest Performer of the Match:     David Silva (Manchester City)- Rating 5.5/10



Referee: Howard Webb MBE (South Yorkshire)- 8.5/10
Attendance: 27,535 



Match Facts

Possession:  Stoke City-  44%            Manchester City-  56%

Shots:  Stoke City-  10               Manchester City-  16

Shots on target:  Stoke City-  3          Manchester City-  11

Shots off target:  Stoke City- 7            Manchester City-  5

Corners:  Stoke City-  5               Manchester City-  7

Fouls:  Stoke City-  15               Manchester City-  12

Offside:  Stoke City-  1                 Manchester City-  1

Assists:  Stoke City-  Pennant        Manchester City-  Clichy



Stoke City manager Tony Pulis 

"I felt the attitude, application and commitment of the players was fantastic against one of the best teams and we had the supporters who were again amazing. The fans are the twelfth man at the Britannia and they make the difference just as much as the happenings on the pitch. We thought the challenge from (Gareth) Barry on Glenn (Whelan) was a definite penalty. We were very disappointed that the referee has missed that. (Peter) Crouchy's goal was wonderful. He does it in training a lot and practises a lot of the distance stuff as well as his threat in the air. Technically he's very good - he is made for us and we are lucky to have someone like him at the football club. We need him to have a summer's break but if he gets called up for England everyone in the Potteries will be delighted for him. It was a much deserved point which could have been three on another day for us."

Click here for the full interview with Potters boss Tony Pulis

Click here to hear the thoughts of Stoke City striker Peter Crouch after the match



Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini 

"It is always a difficult place to come to here at the Britannia. They are a terrific side who have established themselves in the top-flight and are well-drilled. We knew we were in for a tough game and we had to defend and be good in every position on the pitch if we were to get the result we wanted. In the main, I thought we competed for ninety minutes well and ironically having defended most of the long balls and setpieces we concede to a wonder goal from Peter Crouch. People will look at it as two points dropped in the title race but such as the nature of the match and the fact it is Stoke City away suggests it is an excellent and important point which could be one gained come the end of the season. There are still nine games or so to go and I feel we are on track. We still have plenty more points that are on offer and we will be looking for a good end to the season now. There isn't long left at all."

Click here to hear the full thoughts of City assistant boss David Platt


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