City moved into the top four when a Gareth Barry strike cancelled out a Glen Whelan goal to give City a share of the Spoils at The Britannia Stadium.
The home side also had Abdoulaye Faye sent off for a professional foul on Emmanuel Adebayor but the blues still couldn’t capitalise with an extra man and laboured to a disappointing 1-1 draw.
It was another away performance that left City fans frustrated and onlookers scratching their heads wondering how the blues have reached the lofty heights of the Premiership top four on such performances.
It should have been a game where the blues used one of their games in hand to put some clear daylight between us and the chasing pack but they allowed Stoke to dominate the game and clearly hadn’t learnt from Saturday’s FA Cup tie as Stoke rattled the blues in the early stages.
Rory Delap was causing all sorts of havoc with his long throw-in’s and the home side should have taken the lead when Mamady Sidibe shot weakly when unmarked and allowed Shay Given to make the save.
Stoke harried the blues defence and City, missing the presence of Carlos Tevez and Craig Bellamy, struggled to get new boy Adam Johnson involved and they were grateful at the half time whistle that they went in still on level terms.
Just seven minutes into the second half and Stoke were reduced to ten men. Adebayor escaped Faye’s shackles but the Stoke man clearly held Ade’s shirt but incredibly, referee Alan Wiley missed it. But his assistant had seen the shirt pull and Wiley duly dispatched the red card. The initial miss of the foul was the second in a hat-trick of blunders by the official after he had earlier missed Patrick Vieira’s stamp on Whelan.
Down to ten men, it was somewhat inevitable that Stoke would take the lead and they did so in the 72nd minute. Adam Johnson’s poor clearance fell to Whelan whose shot squirmed from the grip of Shay Given and nestled in the back of net.
City fought back and snatched a point in scrappy circumstances. Adebayor headed on for Barry, whose initial shot hit the post but bounced straight back to him and Barry hooked the ball home.
Not the kind of performance City wanted and, on this showing, it is little wonder Liverpool are going into Sunday’s match full of confidence. The club have paid a lot of money for the stars that are just not performing. If this continues, they might as well gift wrap fourth place and send it to Anfield.
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