Follow It's Round and It's White on Facebook

Match Report: Stoke City 1-1 Manchester City (Stoke Fan's Perspective)

Sunday 25th March 2012
In a week when Lionel Messi broke records for Barcelona, the most technically gifted ‘big man' in world football, Peter Crouch, stole sporting headlines with a sublime volley to dent Manchester City's title hopes.

The 6ft 7in striker's goal was worthy of winning any game, but it was cancelled out later in the second half by a Yaya Toure deflected effort as both teams had to settle for a draw.

On their previous four visits to the Britannia Stadium the Citizens had failed to win, having drawn and lost twice and it was Stoke who made the early running as Jon Walters and Crouch both had efforts off target with Roberto Mancini's men looking rattled.

Stoke then had good claims for a penalty turned down as Gareth Barry's crunching challenge on Glenn Whelan went unnoticed by the officials, which would have also seen the England international sent-off.

David Silva went down under Dean Whitehead's challenge shortly after as tempers frayed, with Mancini claiming the Potters midfielder had elbowed the Spaniard, but replays show it was a genuine attempt to win the ball.

Bosnian front man, Edin Dzeko wasted two golden opportunities for the Blues as he headed off target on both occasions when unchallenged inside the Stoke six yard box. Asmir Begovic was then called into action moments later saving well from Toure and Mario Balotelli as Manchester City started to dominate towards the end of the half.

Dzeko was denied by his countryman Begovic within seconds of the restart as he turned the effort round for a corner. Samir Nasri and Walters also had shots comfortably saved as the match started to open up.

The substitution of Cameron Jerome for Jermaine Pennant was met by a chorus of applause and boos from the home crowd with many hoping to see both players on the field rather than one being replaced by the other.

However, Tony Pulis' substitution worked a treat as a long ball from Begovic was flicked on to Pennant by Crouch before the giant striker controlled the return with his thigh and swivelled to unleash an unstoppable shot into the far corner of the net, leaving Joe Hart with no chance.

Silva almost replied immediately after, but he saw his shot from just outside the box fly wide of the Stoke upright before being replaced for Adam Johnson.

With Mancini's men going in search on an equaliser it started to leave gaps at the back which Walters should have profited from, but after orchestrating an effort for himself he fired over.

Carlos Tevez inevitably arrived with 20 minutes remaining as Mancini became increasing frustrated at his sides' ingenuity to unlock the Stoke defence. Manchester City were also finding it difficult to retain possession on a tight Britannia pitch.

But the visitors eventually managed to claw a goal back as the game entered the final stages as Toure's 40-yard effort flashed past Begovic, albeit taking a cruel deflection off Ryan Shawcross.

With both teams not content for a draw it made for an enthralling final 15 minutes as Dzeko, Pennant and Whelan all had shots at goal repelled. Wilson Palacios, who had come on for the tiring Matthew Etherington, then fired agonisingly over after setting himself on the edge of the box, with the game entering five minutes of added time.

Toure shot over moments later, but with time running out neither team could find that elusive winner in what was a superb contest.

It will be the goal scored by Peter Crouch that will live long in the memories of the ferocious Stoke City supporters, and cannot have gone unnoticed by the future England manager with the European Championships on the horizon.
Niall Cope

Total articles: 22

Latest Football Articles