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Britannia Stadium (ATT 27,236) 31st January 2009 - Kick off 12:45 Ref: M Atkinson

Stoke City Stoke City vs Manchester City Man City

Live Commentary

Last Updated at 2:44 pm, January 31st 2009

  1. The throw is taken and it's the last act of the match. Tremendous from Stoke. They've fought their hearts out and limited Manchester City to just one shot on target despite being down to 10 men for over a half. The visitors, for their part, have had plenty of the ball but just haven't done enough with it.

  2. 90+3

    Throw to Manchester City deep in Stoke territory.

  3. 90+3

    Bridge cuts in on his unfavoured right and shoots. It takes a deflection but Sorensen gathers easily. At least it's a shot on target...

  4. 90+3

    Bellamy tries to engineer something down the left for Manchester City but Griffin hacks clear.

  5. 90+2

    Richards bursts onto a long ball over the top in the Stoke box but he's offside. Sorensen beat him there and shepherded it out of play for a goal-kick in any case.

  6. 90+1

    Into added time - three minutes to play.

  7. 90

    Decent ball in but it's half-cleared. Robinho works himself a crossing opportunity but Sorensen gathers well behind him.

  8. 89

    Wilkinson goes in late on Wright-Phillips out wide. Free-kick to Manchester City.

  9. 89

    Wright-Phillips dinks the ball into the Stoke box but Elano can't latch onto it. Stoke have no players wider of their area - it's two banks of four very narrow unless Man City move it wide.

  10. 88

    Elano given a ticking-off by referee Atkinson for his complaints. No booking, though, but as play continues he's still chipping away. He'd do well to shut his mouth now.

  11. 87

    Richards bursts into the Stoke box down the right and goes down under the challenge from Griffin. Manchester City up in arms appealing for a penalty but there's nothing doing. Griffin certainly didn't get the ball (it's a goal-kick) but it's not clear if he connected with Richards.

  12. 86

    Stoke bolstering up further at the back with Ibrahima Sonko replacing Etherington, who has been lively.

  13. 85

    Robinho fires in another pot shot from distance, but it's well wide. Credit to Stoke, they've limited Manchester City to long shots in the main and Sorensen has barely had a save to make.

  14. 84

    Bellamy's corner in is cleared, as is Elano's ball back in. Kompany then miscontrols and Stoke clear. Harum scarum stuff from Manchester City. They need a cool head.

  15. 84

    Bellamy takes the corner himself and it deflects of Griffin - who knew little about it - behind for another corner.

  16. 84

    Bellamy hares down the inside-left channel and forces a corner.

  17. 83

    Robinho dinks a lovely ball over the Stoke backline and Richards is beyond Griffin, but he just can't get anything on it and it skips behind for a goal-kick. Stoke fans suddenly making noise again perhaps sensing the Manchester City momentum.

  18. 82

    Kompany does well to bail out and clear the danger with Beattie closing in on goal. Pretty poor header from Richards to his central-defensive partner. Manchester City break forward and Robinho has a powerful shot blocked clear.

  19. 81

    Elano tries to curl a cute ball through to Robinho, but Wilkinson gets in and hacks away. The ball is worked back in to Bellamy and he lashes in a curling shot. Sorensen is beaten all ends up, but the ball dips just too late.

  20. 80

    Etherington's ball down the left looks a poor one, but Hart comes racing out of his box and lashes his clearance straight at Pugh. The ball drops nicely at Pugh's feet, but he's been penalised for handball. Could have been interesting.

  21. 79

    Bridge's cross from the left is all too easy for Sorensen to gather inside his six-yard box. Waste.

  22. 78

    Andy Griffin comes on for Amdy Faye. Pugh has moved into central midfield with Whelan, with Griffin slotting in at left-back.

  23. 78

    The corner comes to nothing as one of the City ranks is penalised.

  24. 77

    Corner to Manchester City down the left. Stoke fans have gone a bit quiet here - probably feeling the nerves.

  25. 76

    Beattie fires in a shot from distance but it's easy for Hart.

  26. 75

    Stoke have switched Etherington to the right, presumably to cope with Bridge. Admirable effort when first tested, forcing Bridge to just run the ball straight out of play.

  27. 74

    Tony Pulis gesticulating frenetically on the touchline. Looks like Amdy Faye might be struggling, presumably after that knock on the head earlier. He's done well to last this long.

  28. 74

    Manchester City now something approaching 4-2-4 with Ireland and Elano central and Wright-Phillips and Robinho pushing up wide alongside Bellamy and the newcomer.

  29. 73

    Manchester City bring Caicedo on for De Jong. Looks like the sort of player who'll relish a battle with the Stoke defenders.

  30. 72

    More decent build-up play from Manchester City but Ireland opts not to shoot but instead lay it to Elano, who fires over.

  31. 72

    The corner comes to nothing. Dreadful ball in.

  32. 71

    Corner to Stoke down the left. Bridge looking more dangerous in the attacking third now.

  33. 70

    Elano dinks a lovely ball in for Robinho, who is somehow unmarked on the edge of the Stoke box. He takes a couple of touches to control but then leathers in a left-footed shot which is high, wide and not particularly handsome.

  34. 69

    Whipped cross from Bridge pumped clear by Shawcross. The former Manchester United youngster has been a rock thus far. The throw is worked to De Jong, who overhits a through ball but gives Sorensen a worry as it only just drifts over.

  35. 68

    The corner comes in but it's easily cleared. The ball is eventually worked back into the Stoke box and Shawcross half clears with a header. Bellamy lines up a volley but it sails well over the bar. Great pressure from Pugh.

  36. 67

    Corner to Manchester City down the left as Bridge batters the ball against Cresswell and behind.

  37. 66

    Wright-Phillips enduring a frustrating afternoon - this time he's penalised for a foul on Pugh as another Manchester City attack comes to nothing.

  38. 65

    At the other end Elano hammers in a shot which almost turns into a brilliant cross, but Ireland just can't turn it goalwards despite flinging himself full length at it. Elano definitely growing in influence here.

  39. 64

    Cresswell attempts to connect with the corner but there's less threat from Stoke as they're leaving four back to cover the three Manchester City are leaving forward.

  40. 63

    Nice attacking play from Stoke once again as Etherington slides the ball in to Beattie. He attempts a dipping shot which strikes Kompany and rears up over the bar for a corner.

  41. 62

    Lovely ball out to Wright-Phillips from Elano but Pugh gets in quickly and forces a throw off the England wideman.

  42. 61

    Robinho works himself a crossing opportunity from the left but then shanks his ball in. Frustrating from the Brazilian.

  43. 60

    Credit to Stoke they're not happy to settle for 1-0 when they get a chance they do spring forward - though this time Etherington gives the ball away after deciding for some reason not to cross towards Beattie.

  44. 59

    Elano picking up the ball directly from the back four now and looking to be something of a 'quarterback' for Manchester City with angled balls out to left and right.

  45. 58

    Plenty of lateral passing from Manchester City as they go from left to right and back again trying to find a way through. They eventually work it to Bellamy in the box but he's crowded out, with Abdoulaye Faye eventually clearing.

  46. 58

    Bellamy goes down under pressure from Shawcross. Free-kick to Manchester City around 35 yards out towards the left.

  47. 57

    Great defending from Wilkinson as he shepherds Robinho down into the corner and forces the Brazilian to turn it behind himself for a goal-kick.

  48. 56

    The free-kick from Pugh is straight down Hart's throat and he gathers easily just outside his own six-yard box.

  49. 56

    Elano's first act is similar to Zabaleta's last, a foul on Etherington, albeit a more robust one than the man he replaced. He's booked.

  50. 55

    That's Zabaleta's last act - he's replaced by Elano as Manchester City look to pick the lock in the Stoke defence.

  51. 54

    Etherington goes down under minimal pressure from Zabaleta. It's a free-kick, and probably just about deserved.

  52. 53

    Richards works his way into the Stoke box thanks in no small part to a little nudge but his cross comes to nothing in any case as Sorensen hacks clear. A foul throw from Robinho ends their attacking efforts, though.

  53. 52

    Robinho has to drop deep to get in the game and his response is to smack in a shot from 20 yards, but it's always drifting wide.

  54. 52

    Think the pattern is set for the second half already - Manchester City dominant and Stoke reverting to the usual training-ground 'short-sided' defensive routine.

  55. 51

    Free-kick to Manchester City as Onuoha is fouled. Home fans up in arms once again. They're certainly making themselves heard.

  56. 50

    Onuoha and Cresswell collide in challenging for an aerial ball and the home fans are baying for action from the referee, but it's not even a free-kick - and rightly so.

  57. 49

    Manchester City dominating possession once again early in the half, but they'll have to do better to force a way through as they're struggling to even get in the Stoke box.

  58. 48

    Interesting stat - City are yet to win a Premier League game this season in which they've conceded the first goal.

  59. 47

    Fuller's departure - we're told - is down to a "slight knock" though Stoke also wanted to get Cresswell on to free up Beattie to play up front rather than out wide as he had after Delap went off.

  60. 46

    De Jong initially stays down after a challenge from Wilkinson but bounces back to his feet quickly enough when the free-kick isn't given. The ball was off the ground when Wilkinson went for it, but he definitely nicked it away fairly.

  61. 45

    Back under way. Just seen a shot of Mark Hughes on the Manchester City bench. To say he looks unhappy would be something of an understatement.

  62. Substitution at the break, with Richard Cresswell replacing Fuller in the Stoke line-up.

  63. All three results still odds against - the Stoke win 7/5, Manchester City 11/5 and the draw 13/8. The hosts are 9/2 to score next, Man City are 1/2 and no more goals is 14/5.

  64. David Bailey isn't impressed with Manchester City. He writes: "Man City are dire again away from home. Is Robinho playing? Too many average players earning too much money." I can confirm Robinho IS playing, though he's been very quiet.

  65. That's half-time and it's Stoke 1 Manchester City 0. How to sum things up? For me, Delap deserved to be sent off but Wright-Phillips was lucky to avoid at least a yellow for his kick at Delap. Manchester City dominating possession but lacking a cutting edge, which Beattie certainly provides.

  66. 45+5

    GOAL - BEATTIE. No such problems at the other end! Lovely chipped ball from Whelan down the left puts Etherington in space and he sends a wonderful ball in. Bridge is caught under it and Beattie sends a brilliant header into the Manchester City net.

  67. 45+4

    Stoke with two banks of four in front of the Manchester City side as they come forward - no wonder they're struggling to find a way through.

  68. 45+3

    Bellamy bursts into the Stoke box down the left but his ball in is cleared.

  69. 45+2

    Manchester City knocking the ball around at will, but they're still struggling to break down the Stoke defence.

  70. 45+1

    Beattie has dropped back to the right flank for the time being, so Stoke are 4-4-1.

  71. 45

    We'll have five minutes of added time.

  72. 44

    Fuller goes in hard but fair on Bridge. Bridge doesn't look too impressed but it's no free-kick. Nothing wrong with the tackle.

  73. 43

    Whelan whips the corner in towards the back post but Beattie heads it inches off target. So close.

  74. 42

    Beattie does well down the right to force a corner off Onuoha.

  75. 41

    Manchester City's possession comes to nothing - and for that Stoke deserve great credit.

  76. 40

    Lovely possession football from Manchester City, with every touch booed by the Stoke fans. They're looking to work a gap.

  77. 39

    Great chance for Manchester City now with Stoke down to 10 men. It's a cliche, but the home crowd are right behind their side now and will be hoping to be their extra man.

  78. 38

    Delap is sent off, but Wright-Phillips escapes any action for either the challenge on Pugh or the kick at Delap. Expect to hear more about that one later.

  79. 37

    Bedlam. The backtracking Wright-Phillips goes in a little high on Pugh and Delap takes exception to it, first hacking down Wright-Phillips then smashing the ball right at him from point-blank range. Wright-Phillips has a kick back at Delap and players from both sides jump in.

  80. 36

    Ireland bursts out of the Stoke midfield and tries to slide the ball out to Wright-Phillips, but it comes to nothing.

  81. 35

    Wright-Phillips penalised for handball right near the edge of the Stoke penalty area. Fuller is back into the fray so Stoke are back to 11 men.

  82. 34

    Problems piling up for Stoke as Fuller makes his way down the tunnel - we're told he needs stitches in an arm injury. Faye is back on though.

  83. 33

    Faye makes his way to the touchline. Liam Lawrence is ready to come on but it still looks as though Faye does want to play on.

  84. 32

    Faye back to his feet which is a great sight. Remarkably he looks keen to continue but he's looking groggy.

  85. 31

    Most of the paramedics, who had also raced onto the field, have now retreated which must be better news. Faye is now in the hands of the Stoke physio.

  86. 30

    Sickening clash of heads between Onuoha and Amdy Faye around five yards inside the Manchester City half. The Stoke physio is on quickly and there's real concern from those nearby.

  87. 29

    Delap's throw actually dips just below Shawcross this time, but he shows admirable technique to flick out a foot and get an effort on target. It's well gathered by Hart, who could easily have been caught off guard.

  88. 28

    Somehow referee Atkinson opts not to give a free-kick when Fuller is brought down by Zabaleta a couple of yards outside the Manchester City area. Terrible decision. Stoke do have a throw in Delap range, though.

  89. 27

    Lovely ball in from Bridge which Robinho is eased away from by Shawcross at the front post - and Sorensen pats it clear. Unconvincing from the 'keeper but Stoke survive.

  90. 26

    All too easy for Hart this one and he gathers confidently before bowling it straight out to set Manchester City on the counter-attack.

  91. 26

    Another corner to Stoke as Etherington's ball in smacks Richards in the face and rebounds behind.

  92. 25

    Foul to Manchester City around 10 yards inside the Stoke half as Ireland is pushed by Delap. It's worked to Zabaleta centrally but his attempted ball out to the left sails out. Definite lack of cohesion from Manchester City here - they clearly have talent by the bucketload but they've not stamped their pattern of play on this game yet.

  93. 24

    Stoke cranking up the pressure now. First Fuller gets the ball in the box but can't work himself a shooting opportunity, then an Etherington cross sails over Beattie. Much better from the hosts.

  94. 23

    Free-kick hoisted into the Manchester City box which Beattie attempts to get on to, but it's pumped clear.

  95. 22

    Hart does well to come through bodies to punch this corner clear. It bounces out for a throw, though, which Delap flings in. Shawcross meets it, but his header sails over.

  96. 21

    The corner is whipped in to the back post, and is headed behind with Shawcross looking to knock it back in. Another corner.

  97. 20

    Free-kick to Stoke in the Manchester City half taken quickly by Whelan to Fuller, and the striker forces a corner despite protests from the visiting fans.

  98. 19

    A short corner initially catches Manchester City napping, but Kompany clears a poor ball from Etherington. The visitors spring on the counter-attack and Ireland and Bellamy combine to set up the unmarked Robinho but his 20-yard shot is straight at Sorensen. Should have done better.

  99. 19

    Lovely delivery from the corner, which Hart has to punch behind for another corner. Excellent goalkeeping to help the ball on its way.

  100. 18

    Another long throw from Delap, which Kompany heads behind for a Stoke corner.

  101. 17

    Bridge comes forward from left-back and tries to slide it out to Bellamy down the inside-left channel, but it drifts out. Poor.

  102. 16

    Delap gets his delivery right this time, but the referee's seen something he doesn't like from the Stoke players in the box and it's a free-kick to Manchester City and a chance to clear.

  103. 15

    Another Stoke throw down the right...

  104. 14

    Sloppy play from Pugh as he gifts the ball to Kompany, who is then fouled by the backtracking Whelan.

  105. 13

    Manchester City still probably having most of the ball but they're just lacking a bit of cohesion at present. No surprise given the amount of changes at the club of late.

  106. 12

    Kompany, captaining Manchester City in the absence of Richard Dunne, pumps the ball downfield and it sails out of play. Dreadful. Bellamy and Hughes are among those clearly not impressed with that delivery.

  107. 11

    Kompany nicks in to take the ball away from Fuller and is then fouled from behind. A ticking-off for Fuller, though he's not impressed with the decision.

  108. 10

    Bellamy taking a leaf out of the Stoke book by putting the pressure on the Potters defenders. He has to concede a throw, but he'll settle for that as Pugh was looking to clear.

  109. 9

    Good hassling once again from Stoke - this time from Pugh and Etherington - but De Jong is composed on the ball and draws a foul from Pugh in the right-back spot.

  110. 9

    Delap hurls the ball in from the right but it's well gathered by Hart having flown over the massed ranks of Stoke players.

  111. 8

    Throw-in to Stoke down the right. Cue Delap.

  112. 7

    Good pressure from first Ireland then Bellamy presents the former with a volleyed chance from the edge of the box but it's a difficult one having dropped from on high - and he shanks it.

  113. 6

    The away side with a spell of keep ball. Stoke are harrying them high up the field but Mark Hughes' men looking to use width on both sides to find a way through.

  114. 5

    Fuller gets clear down the right but Hart does well to gather his cross. City spring forward and Robinho works himself a crossing opportunity from the left, but it lands on top of the net.

  115. 4

    Commentator's curse there - a string of long balls from both sides come to nothing. Needs someone to get their foot on it.

  116. 3

    Manchester City force a corner which is floated in from the left and Sorensen fails to gather, but it's because of Richards jumping into him. Free-kick Stoke. Quite a bright start here.

  117. 2

    Great pressure from the Stoke lads as the throw comes to nothing, with Zabaleta caught in possession.

  118. 2

    Bellamy's first touch is greeted with widespread boos from the Stoke fans, but he forces a throw deep in the home side's half.

  119. 1

    Whelan tries to slide a ball down the inside-right channel for Fuller, but the striker is just eased away from the ball and Hart is able to gather unchallenged.

  120. We're under way, with Stoke getting us going. We've heard your thoughts now for mine - away win.

  121. Even Reg (a Stokie) goes for the away side in this one - predicting a 3-1 win for Manchester City.

  122. Marko from Finland says: "I think Man City must win this one. Their last away win in the Premier League was Aug 31 at Sunderland, if I'm right?! So it's been a while...Robinho scores a couple and Man City hold a clean sheet."

  123. Shaunvir Samra writes: "I'm not too sure about this one. Stoke are winnless in their last 9 games and Man City have not won away in their last 10. If i had to put money on it then I'm going for the draw, but I'm expecting plenty of goals, with one coming from Robinho."

  124. For those who prefer someone else to work out the changes in teams, here you go - Ricardo Fuller returns to the Stoke XI for the first time since his bust-up with Andy Griffin in place of Richard Cresswell, while Danny Pugh replaces Danny Higginbotham. Manchester City are unchanged.

  125. Could be an interesting afternoon in one Stafford household. Matt writes: "Man City should win this by a large gap, i reckon 3-0 or 3-1. I have a Stoke friend sat next to me and he reckons 3-0 Stoke so could be fun." Hope you're still friends after the game...

  126. Let me know your thoughts on how you see things panning out with an email to - when time allows during the action I'll publish the best. Ashley Smith, for example, fancies 3-1 'City' (though both teams are actually Citys!). I'm assuming he means Manchester City.

  127. Just had a quick look at the betting odds courtesy of Sky Bet - and it makes interesting viewing with both teams odds against for the win. Stoke are 9/4 shots with City 6/5. The draw is a 12/5 chance.

  128. Our referee today is Martin Atkinson.

  129. Man City: Hart, Richards, Kompany, Onuoha, Bridge, Wright-Phillips, De Jong, Zabaleta, Ireland, Bellamy, Robinho. Subs: Schmeichel, Fernandes, Garrido, Elano, Caicedo, Jo, Vassell.

  130. The teams are in. Stoke: Sorensen, Wilkinson, Shawcross, Abdoulaye Faye, Pugh, Delap, Whelan, Amdy Faye, Etherington, Beattie, Fuller. Subs: Simonsen, Olofinjana, Cresswell, Lawrence, Griffin, Kitson, Sonko.

  131. Afternoon all and welcome to our coverage of today's early Premier League game - the clash between Stoke and Manchester City at what should be a raucous Britannia Stadium.



Barclays Premier League

Barclays Premier League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Arsenal 0 0
2 Aston Villa 0 0
3 Burnley 0 0
4 Chelsea 0 0
5 Crystal Palace 0 0
6 Everton 0 0
7 Hull City 0 0
8 Leicester City 0 0
9 Liverpool 0 0
10 Manchester City 0 0
11 Manchester United 0 0
12 Newcastle United 0 0
13 Queens Park Rangers 0 0
14 Southampton 0 0
15 Stoke City 0 0
16 Sunderland 0 0
17 Swansea City 0 0
18 Tottenham Hotspur 0 0
19 West Bromwich Albion 0 0
20 West Ham United 0 0