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Draw From The Clutches Of Victory

 City gained a hard earned point following a physical encounter with Stoke but it was an injury time equaliser for the Potters that denied the blues a fifth away win of the season.

Micah Richards had given the blues the lead in the 81st minute but Matthew Etherington earned a deserved point for the home side in the second minute of injury time to deny the blues the chance to go level on points with Chelsea.

Following the 4-1 win at Fulham last week, the blues were under the cosh from virtually the first whistle and Stoke striker Ricardo Fuller looked in the mood to torment the blues defence and was a constant thorn in the side of Kolo Toure.

Rory Delap, whose long throw-ins caused all sorts of problems during last season two FA Cup ties, could have easily lead to the opening goal, but fortunately, the blues defence seemed to have learned a lesson from last season and just about managed to deal with them. 

But City rode their luck in the first half and both Fuller and Etherington had chances to put Stoke in front.  Joe Hart denied Etherington on at least two occasions, while Fuller had a glorious chance after being allowed through he City defence but instead of hitting the target, he fluffed his shot hopelessly wide.

Roberto Mancini must have been wondering what had happened to the side that so easily dispatched Fulham last Sunday bit whatever he said to his team during the half time interval seemed to have some effect as the blues started the second half with a little more purpose.

Mario Balotelli, returning after a three match ban following his red card at West Brom, hit a shot wide while James Milner fired into the arms of Stoke keeper Begovic. Despite the increased performance from City, Stoke still pressed and Milner was the saviour for City when he cleared off the line from a Stoke corner.

It looked to have been a crucial moment in the match, particularly when Richards gave the blues the lead with just nine minutes remaining. The defender received the ball on the edge of the area and superbly dummied Robert Huth and fired his shot under Begovic to send the visiting supporters wild.

But defeat would have been harsh on stoke and they got their reward with just a minute of injury time remaining. With the City defence already thinking about taking the three points back to Manchester, Tuncay produced a neat back heel that Etherington latched onto to shoot past for the equaliser.

What do you think of the result? Did City deserve a point? Let us know your thoughts.

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