MANCHESTER CITY 1 STOKE CITY FC 1
Stoke went into this 5TH Round Cup match with a much more offensive setup.The expressed wish was that the last thing we wanted was a draw,to avoid further fixture congestion.What we got was Sod's Law predictable!
What we also got from this drawn match was collateral damage which might have an important bearing on the way our season and survival in the Premiership finally pans out.
It was particularly sad to see Matty Etherington leave the field on a stretcher.If the interim prognosis,possible medial ligament damage,is accurate,then to all intents and purposes his season is over.He has been in such a rich vein of form recently,contirbuting much to our improving home goal tally,both directly and with assists.He has been one of our major threats,and you have to wonder if this injury might not undermine our survival effort.
Still we have a ready made replacement in Liam Lawrence.Well we did have!He came on for Etherington made some useful incursions into the Manchester half,before himself departing injured.
Wilkinson was given a torrid time by winger Wright-Philips.He was booked,switched to the right side to avoid the prospect of a red card,then during the second half he too left the field, apparently injured,to be replaced by Collins.
Mama Sidibe was given a serious buffeting,and on two occasions was a cause for concern.
Oh,the match.....well Man City got off to a flyer.A bizarre goal to end all bizarre goals.A through ball on the Stoke goal bypassed Sorensen's rush out to clear.This left Ryan Shawcross to clear,challenged by Wright-Philips.Ninetynine times out of a hundred he would have had no trouble clearing.He attempted to clear,fell over as he made no contact with the ball,then prostrate he nodde the ball back to the England winger,who netted from a yard.
Mysteriously Manchester went off the boil,losing all momentum.Fate played its part.Delap subbed for Lawrence,bringing the long throw back into the equation.So it was that a Delap throwin from the right arrowed into Manchester's penalty box,to be met by Ricardo Fuller.His header into the bottom right corner of the net left keeper Given flat footed.
On the balance of play a well deserved equaliser,and in the circumstances an excellent result for the Potters.So we are in the draw again for the next round and who's to say we can't finish this job at The Brit.