City will have to replay their FA Cup fifth round tie with Stoke after failing to get past the mid table side at the first attempt.
Shaun Wright-Phillips gave the blues the lead in comical circumstances but City failed to capitalise on the lead and allowed Ricardo Fuller to grab an equaliser 12 minutes into the second half.
The blues were looking to reach their sixth quarter final in five years and fancied their chances against a Stoke side which had already been beaten 2-0 at Eastlands this season. One of the goal scorers that day, Carlos Tevez, was missing from the team after he was allowed to return to Argentina for family matters.
Stoke manager Tony Pulis had stated that his side would have a good go at City and they lived up to his word, attacking City from the first whistle but it was the blues who struck first. Stephen Ireland chipped the ball over the defence and SWP just about stayed onside and lifted the ball over the oncoming Sorenson.
Ryan Shawcross chased the ball but missed his attempted clearance. The ball then hit him on the head and fell kindly for SWP to score probably the easiest goal of his career.
That should have been a platform for an easy City win and with Martin Petrov and the impressive Wayne Bridge, watched by England manager Fabio Capello, the blues looked like wiping the floor with the visitors. SWP looked in good form and was brought down on the edge of the area, the referee making a good judgement and only giving a free kick, which Petrov hit woefully wide.
But after that, the blues failed to make any headway on their opponents after the goal and seemed content with their lead. But Stoke hit back and almost made City pay twice before half time. Liam Lawrence, on for the injured Matthew Etherington, hit a powerful volley which was blocked by Bridge before Tuncay sent a volley just wide of Shay Given’s post and the blues were grateful for the half time whistle when it arrived.
The visitors seemed to have more ideas than City in the second half and they got their reward for their endeavour in the 57th minute. A throw-in was taken by Rory Delap and Fuller raced unchecked into the area to power home a header to level the scores.
Stoke took the ascendency and pressed for a winner which never came. City had a couple of good chances when Gareth Barry’s header was brilliantly tipped away by Sorenson while Roque Santa Cruz, on for the unimpressed-at-being-subbed Petrov, wasted a golden chance when he scuffed Patrick Vieira’s ball over the top which allowed Shawcross to make the clearance.
The result means a replay at the Britannia Stadium on 24th February, which will be the fourth meeting between the two teams this season.
Hopefully by then, the blues will have lost their complacency heads and replaced them with professional ones.
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