Stoke and Manchester United played out a 1-1 draw at the Brittania Stadium on Saturday. Nani gave United a 1-0 half-tine lead, but a second half Peter Crouch header helped Stoke claim a valuable point.
Fans were treated to an entertaining match as both sides created a host of opportunities. Either team could have won and both managers might be slightly disappointed with the draw.
United enjoyed the better of the opening period and their opening chance of the match came in the third minute. Javier Hernandez ran behind the Stoke defence, but Jonathan Woodgate recovered and tackled the striker. United had genuine appeals for a penalty, but the referee waved play on. Hernandez also picked up an injury that forced Alex Ferguson to replace him in the 11th minute.
United continued to create opportunities, with Phil Jones being a surprising threat in the Stoke half.
The Manchester side took the lead in the 27th minute after enjoying several minutes of possession in the Stoke half. Nani played a one-two with Darren Fletcher before moving into the Stoke box. The Portuguese winger moved onto his left foot and finished well into the bottom right hand corner.
Stoke almost equalised immediately. The ball dropped to Andy Wilkinson at the edge of the box and the defender struck a powerful shot towards the United goal. David De Gea managed to get a hand to the ball and forced it onto the bar and over for a corner.
A mistake from Begovic then gave Nani a good chance to give United a 2-0 lead. The keeper paused with the ball at his feet and lost the ball to Ashley Young. The winger nudged the ball to Nani, who shot quickly but the ball went over the bar.
Stoke were starting to look dangerous, however, and Jonathan Walter almost scored in the 36th minute. Walters hit a quality shot towards the bottom left hand corner. De Gea made another good save, however.
Nani almost set up Owen a couple of times in the last ten minutes of the first period, but the teams entered half-time with United enjoying a slender 1-0 lead.
Stoke equalised within seven minutes of the interval when Peter Crouch headed home from a Etherington cross. Crouch lost his marker Phil Jones and rose between Jones and Ferdinand before heading the ball into the corner of the net.
Crouch had another gilt-edged chance minutes later. Rio Ferdinand misjudged a Pennant cross and the ball dropped to Crouch five yards from goal. Crouch struck the ball on the half-volley, but De Gea somehow got his hand to the ball to force it over the bar.
Both teams continued to create half-chances, but the next big talking point came in the 69th minute. Ashley Young was given time in the Stoke box, but he shot straight at Begovic. Evra then hit a powerful shot from outside the box and it struck Jonathan Woodgate’s hand. United claimed for a penalty, but the linesman awarded Stoke a free kick for offside.
Giggs came off the bench and almost found Michael Owen with a couple of crosses along the ground.
Stoke almost won the game for Stoke in the 86th minute. The striker controlled the ball on his chest 10 yards from the United goal before shooting just wide.
The last chance of the match went to United. Nani and Valencia played a great one-two on the right wing. Nani then played a dangerous cross to the back post. The ball reached Giggs, but the Welshman’s shot blazed wide.
The draw was the first point had claimed against United in the Premier League and was a great result for the Potters. United have lost their 100% record but still remain in first place due to their superior goal difference.