Barclay’s English Premiership
Tuesday 16 February 2010, 19:45 KO
City: Given, Garrido (Wright-Phillips 60), Touré (c), Lescott, Richards (Zabaleta 82), de Jong, Barry, Vieira, Johnson (Petrov 87), Santa Cruz, Adebayor
Unused: Taylor, Onuoha, Bridge, Ireland
Goals: Barry (86)
Booked: Vieira, de Jong, Barry
Referee: Alan Wiley
Man of the Match: Joleon Lescott
Stoke will have been buoyed by their performance at the City of Manchester Stadium three days earlier and went for City’s throat straight from kick off. It started badly for the visitors, when Garrido missed a Barry pass and present Delap the chance to hurl the ball into the box. He did and Robert Huth headed it just over the bar, when he probably should have done better.
With eight minutes on the clock, the hosts should have been in front, as Sidibe got the ball caught under his feet and could only find Shay Given’s gloves with a tame effort, when he should have found the net.
Two minutes later, Vieira was lucky not to have been sent off as he threw a leg out at Whelan after the former City man had challenged for the ball and caught him in the stomach.
City were then thankful to Joleon Lescott as he was left to flick a Ricardo Fuller header over the bar, as the home side continued to dominate. The resulting corner, though, came to nothing.
The visitors had their first effort of the game, just short of the half hour, as Richards whipped a ball back into the box after it was cleared from a Johnson free kick and Gareth Barry could only slice his shot well wide.
Five minutes before the break, Johnson whipped another free kick into the box and some excellent defending from Faye saw the ball ricochet off Santa Cruz and just wide of the post. Vieira then picked up a yellow card for persistent fouling.
Just before half time, Johnson spotted a run by Richards on the overlap, but his through ball was just too strong for the full back, who couldn’t quite get around Faye and the ball ran out for a goal kick.
City began the second half much better than they had begun the first, but they weren’t able to fashion a shooting chance. That is until, ten minutes into the second half, Faye missed his control under pressure from Adebayor and the City forward nipped in behind and stole the ball. Through on goal, Faye hauled the forward down and earned himself a red card.
Just after the hour, Wright-Phillips burst into the Stoke box, but lost out to a Delap challenge. Adebayor pounced on the loose ball, but his turn and shot ended up in the visiting fans behind the goal, as Sorensen watched it wide.
Fuller and Barry then tangled legs in the City box and the visitors were perhaps fortunate not to have conceded a penalty. Richards then looked for the same at the other end of the pitch, but he went down far too easily under a fair challenge.
With 72 minutes on the clock, Stoke had an isolated attack, working the ball to the left wing with Delap and his cross was missed by everybody. It was sliced badly by Adam Johnson on the edge of City’s box and hit first time by Whelan. It was a good strike that Given should have saved, but it went through the City keeper and found the back of the net.
City responded with the lion’s share of possession, but every ball into the box was swallowed up by Sorensen or the Stoke defence, leaving Adebayor and Santa Cruz frustrated. After a period of pressure, though, Wright-Phillips forced the corner.
From that corner, the little Englishman swung the ball into the box. Adebayor got up well to flick the ball on and Gareth Barry, arriving late, flicked the ball past Sorensen and onto the post. The City man, though, reacted before everyone else and was able to poke it into the net from close range.
In time added on, Stoke should have won the game. Delap had the chance to throw long, after a free kick could only be cleared for a throw-in, and Shawcross got up well before Given and flicked the ball into the net. The referee, though, wrongly ruled it out for a foul on the goalkeeper and City were, in the end, fortunate to leave the Potteries with the point that would take them into fourth place.