Writer: Charlie Bennett
Date:Wednesday February 17 2010
Referee Alan Wiley cost Stoke in what would have been a deserved victory last night against Manchester City. Wiley ruled out Ryan Shawcross`s 95th minute header and replays show it was the totally wrong decision. Earlier on Wiley sent off Stoke skipper Abdoulaye Faye before Glenn Whelan gave Stoke the lead.
An improbable win was on the cards until Gareth Barry scrambled City level with 5 minutes to go. However it looked as if Stoke won it when Shawcross out jumped Given to nod in a Rory Delap throw before Wiley wiped it out.
Stoke manager Tony Pulis made 4 changes from the side that drew 1-1 at Man City on Saturday. Matthew Etherington and Andy Wilkinson missed out due to injury and their places were taken by the returning Abdoulaye Faye and Rory Delap. Also Pulis dropped both Salif Diao and Tuncay and replaced them with Dean Whitehead, fresh after his much needed rest, and Liam Lawrence.
Stoke started the much brighter side and should have taken the lead inside the first ten minutes. A Liam Lawrence free-kick squeezed through a number of legs before falling to Sidibe unmarked, 6 yards out. It seemed for all the world that Mama would tuck it away but he placed his scuffed shot straight at keeper Shay Given.
It took the Citizens a while to wake up as their midfield squandered possession easily and Patrick Vieira was struggling with the aggressive Whelan. The Frenchman even elbowed Whelan in a similar incident to Huth earlier in the season and ref Wiley didn`t show the red card which he deserved.
Man City then started to control the pace of the game and they slowed it down to suit them. Erratic right-back Micah Richards surged down the right hand side and after his cross wasn`t cleared properly, Barry lashed his volley well wide of Sorensen`s goal.
At the other end Rory Delap`s troublesome throws were causing all kind`s of problems for Mancini`s side and Huth almost gave Stoke the lead. The German met the ball and flicked it agonisingly wide of the far post and just inches in front of both Sidibe and Lawrence.
The Visitor`s best chance of the half fell to £18 million striker Roque Santa-Cruz. Barry, who was City`s biggest threat, whipped in a dangerous free-kick and it found the Paraguayan 7 yards out. Although he saw it late, he would have expected to have found the target after his volley went well wide.
At half-time Pulis replaced Danny Higginbotham, who struggled with a back injury, and brought on the able sub Danny Collins in his place.
Wiley`s performance became worse with the controversial straight red he showed to Faye. The Senegalese took his eye of the ball and allowed Emmanuel Adebayor to snatch it off him and take a free run to goal. Faye scrambled back and dived in and cleanly won the ball. Wiley dismissed Man City`s claim for a free-kick after initially thinking it to be a fair tackle and temporarily allowed play to continue.
However the linesman flagged Wiley over and he clearly felt that Faye had tugged down Adebayor after the ball had gone. Wiley took his word and produced a straight red card and the Potters were down to ten men.
Pulis acted immediately and he put Huth in central defence and moved Whitehead from midfield to right back. He then brought on Salif Diao in place of Liam Lawrence and drafted Mama Sidibe out to the right wing.
Fuller, on his own upfront, should have been awarded a penalty after being blatantly tripped by Barry. Wiley`s said no and the whole stadium erupted in outrage.
Only minutes later Stoke did break through. Delap`s cross was mis-controlled by Fuller who should have done better. However, the ball kindly lay in to the path of Whelan who drove the ball fiercely from 25 yards past Shay Given. The keeper should have done better but the power behind the shot was too much.
City threw everyone forward in search of the equaliser and they found one with just 5 minutes to go. Adam Johnson crossed into the box and Barry slide in and hit the post. Luckily for him the ball came straight back to him and he slotted the ball into the back of the net.
City still piled men forward in search of a winner but it was Stoke who should have won it. It came from Delap`s last chance to weave his magic with a thrown. As the ball came in Shawcross out jumped Given without touching him and nodded the ball into the back of the net. What Alan Wiley saw is anyone`s guess but he quickly ruled it out and blew for full-time.
A decent point in the end but it really should have been 3. Stoke climb one place to 11th on 31 points with a game in hand on most above them. Next up is Portsmouth away in the league before the cup replay with………..Manchester City. CMON STOKE!
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Date:Wednesday February 17 2010
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