Owen starts in Crystal Palace stalemate
3pm 5th January 2013
Attendance: 13, 693
Michael Owen made his first start in 14 months as he finally made his full debut for the Potters in Stoke`s 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace in a drab encounter at Selhurst Park in the F.A. Cup 3rd Round.
Neither side really threatened the opposition`s goalkeeper so the match will now be replayed at the Britannia Stadium.
Both sides made a number of changes as they saw the cup fixture as an ideal opportunity to play some fringe players and rest important first team players.
Crystal Palace made four changes from their 3-1 victory against Wolves on New Years` Day as Speroni, Gabbidon, Dikgacoi and Murray made way for Price, Delaney, O`Keefe and Easter.
Stoke made six changes from their 3-0 defeat to Manchester City as Begovic, Wilkinson, Etherington, Whelan, Jones and Adam were rested as Sorensen, Shotton, Kightly, Whitehead, Crouch and Owen started.
With Owen making his first since joining the Potters in September, he renewed an impressive partnership with former England teammate Peter Crouch, with the duo scoring 16 goals in 16 previous appearances together.
The duo nearly put Stoke in the lead when Owen did well to find Crouch who somehow managed to miss the target from a yard after he miscued his volley.
After an initial bright start from Stoke, Championship high-flyers Cyrstal Palce grabbed a firm hold of proceedings in the first half.
Andre Mortiz, who was on the back of a brace last weekend against Wolves, looked to get himself on the score sheet again but his well hit freekick was well saved by Danish stopper Thomas Sorensen. The keeper had to be on his toes straight after as impressive youngster Wilfred Zaha, who is linked with a move away from Selhurst Park, stormed in and forced Sorensen to save well from the rebound.
The second half was more of the same as Crystal Palace once again looked the most likely to break the deadlock as Bolasie found space and hit a great shot which flew inches wide of the Stoke goal.
This chance saw activity from the Stoke City bench and Owen`s first start since he played in Manchester United`s 2-0 Champions League win over Otelul Galati on 2nd November 2011 was over after 55 minutes as he was replaced by Charlie Adam.
Cameron Jerome also entered the fold replacing Michael Kightly on the wing and almost instantly made an impact as he cleverly turned his marker and hit a fierce half-volley but Palace keeper Price gathered easily.
Stoke made their last throw of the dice by replacing Crouch with Kenwyne Jones as Pulis looked to avoid a replay, and Pulis nearly got his wish as Crystal Palace sub Jenson nearly put the London outfit in front with a shot from a narrow angle which required Sorensen to tip the ball around the post.
Stoke nearly grabbed the win as Charlie Adam tried an audacious lob from 30 yards which had Price scrabbling backwards momentarily but the ball sailed over the crossbar.
Having not had any first team opportunities since the League Cup loss to Swindon back in August, Sorensen looked very secure between the sticks. He gathered the ball well and made some impressive saves.