Stoke City v Manchester City – as it happened

PEEP! PEEP! PEEPY! PEEP! That's it. The game was enlivened by the goal, it's just a shame it took until 85 minutes for us to get there. Man City just about deserved to progress, they'll also be relieved not to have a leg-sapping replay to get through too.


90min + 3: Aguero has a one-on-one with Sorensen outside the area but the keeper slides in and clears the danger.

90 min + 1: Jerome, the defender's striker, blazes the ball over from around 12 yards out.

90 min: Five minutes of added time.

89 min: Stoke have nothing to lose – apart from the game – now and are putting a fair degree of pressure on the Man City goal. Barry's on the floor, I'm not quite sure why. Anyway, he's picked himself up and we can get along with our lives.

87 min: That was a splendid, casual finish from Zabaleta. Dzeko is booked for playing in too many positions today.

GOAL! Stoke City 0-1 Man City (Zabaleta 84)

Man City build play patiently once again. This time Zabaleta decides to put in some urgency and tears up the pitch to sidefoot home a loose ball. "I like Dzeko but I think he's getting frustrated spending all that money on undershirts and not being able to show what's written on it," says Tony Campisi. I really wouldn't worry about Dzeko's finances.

83 min: Now it's Man City's bright idea to try and score. Aguero has plenty of time to shoot but Shawcross stretches a leg out to deflect it clear. The ball that is, not his leg, or Crouch's forehead.

81 min: Suddenly Stoke look like they'd quite like to win this match. Shotton's cross is a lot better than his previous one: straight on to Crouch's forehead but it goes over. The ball, that is, not Crouchy's forehead.

80 min: Milner does his nuggety Milner stuff and puts in a good challenge to stop a Stoke attack. Stoke then build a decent attack down the right but Shotton's cross is blocked.

78 min: Howard Webb tells Shawcross and Dzeko to make friends after a bit of pushing and shoving at a corner. They stop fighting but they don't look like they're friends. Milner is booked for a trip on Etherington. 

77 min: Corner for Man City after Jerome's challenge. Good defensive substitution to bring him on. Shotton flicks the ball away from the Man City attackers.

75 min: This is not a good game.

74 min: Crouch and Whitehead on for Wilkinson and Jones.

73 min: Man City have been very good in their build-up today – they put together some lovely passes as they approach the goal this time – but they crumble as soon as they have to actually score. Or even think about scoring.

70 min: Corner to Man City. Cleared by Whelan. Tevez has another shot, with similarly dispiriting results to his other shots so far this match.

67 min: Hey! This attacking substitution business has made Man City more ... attacking. Other clubs should try it. Tevez's shot from long-range is saved. Kightly is off for Jerome. Is any substitution involving Jerome attacking?

65 min: Great ball in from Silva, arcing into Barry's feet. Sorensen is out in a flash to smother the ball. "Why hasn't Mancini got his fingers in his gloves properly?" demands Ben Ellis. "Does he need his mum to help work them into the right holes? Whatever, it looks silly, especially when he points and gesticulates with his non-fingers."

62 min: Aguero is on for Kolarov. I believe they call that an attacking substitution. Which we all like. "Paul Lambert is a suitable manager," says Tony Campisi. Just not against other managers with a payroll and sponsors. Wal-mart needs managers."

60 min: Nzonzi loses the ball and it comes to the feet of – Stoke fans won't like this – Silva. But he tries to play in Tevez when he probably should have shot.

58 min: Dzeko is strong in defence again, doing just enough to put Shawcross off his header. At the other end Tevez accidentally dummies it – he missed the ball but not deliberately – and Kolarov shoots over.

55 min: Milner's cross goes very high and very wide. Mancini grimaces. "Re: footballers not suited for their positions (31 min)," says Paul Gage. "On the evidence of recent weeks, I'd say Paul Lambert is unsuited to management."

52 min: MAN City build patiently but the attacks ends in a gentle lob into Sorensen's chest.

51 min: "I'm sorry but even though I'm not a Stoke CITY fan, I'm still irritated by the fact that commentators like yourself often give them two Manchester clubs complete possession of their suffixes, even when playing teams that share them," says John. Good point, it did occur to me as half-time came along that Stoke are a City too but I just couldn't stop. From now one Man City will be Man City.

48 min: Ouch. Was that a two-footed lunge on Garcia by Whelan. Yep, he landed on Garcia's ankle, that should have been a red and was a potential ankle-snapper. Webb takes no action, possibly his view was blocked. Garcia is OK to continue.

46 min: Stoke start the half with a long ball to Jones. Not a good sign. "Regarding ITV's coverage," says Nick Thorp. "He reminds me of a jazz-listening cardigan-wearing kindly uncle who tries to take an interest in the game because he knows you like football, but just ends up sounding like a BAD WORD." He lives near my mate and said hello to him while he was shovelling snow the other day. These are the kinds of circles I move in.

A discussion round the office. Why have ITV chosen this match? Not that I'm unhappy covering it but we get plenty of chances to see Man City (and Stoke) so why not put Macclesfield-Wigan on? Or if that's too northern for fancy southern TV executives types, the metrosexual derby, Brighton-Arsenal, - more likely than not TV execs will either support Arsenal or live in Brighton.


Half-time: One last attack for Stoke turns into one last counter-attack for City. Which turns into one last throw-in for Stoke. And that, ladies and gentleman, is your first-half in a nutshell.

45 min: One minute of added time.

43 min: Silva, who inevitably has been the best player on the pitch, leads the attack. It falls to Tevez at an acute angle but he puts his shot into the sidenetting.

40 min: Right. City finally realise it's easier to play with 11 men than 10. Clichy is coming on they'll play with three at the back, with Kolarov moving up to midfield. "About tall people - do they inevitably look weird playing football," wonders Peter Crosby. "Or I wonder if it's just the tall attacking players that look a bit like donkeys? I'm tall and I wonder if I look a bit gangly and crap when I play, even though I think I'm quite good. Should I mask that by staying back and playing in defence? Or is it just the shorts - should I start wearing basketball shorts?" Or you could start playing basketball! Then you'd be quite short and nippy. And still use the basketball shorts.


37 min: Corner for Stoke and Dzeko heads clear. Winger, striker, defender. Is there nothing the man can't do? Kompany still hasn't been replaced. "Error," says the subject line in Tom Shaw's email. My chest tightens, knowing the answer is inevitably yes. "I noticed a glaring error in your team lineups at the beginning of this report. You haven't listed the ballboys..." I miss Charlie Morgan. 

34 min: City's captain, Kompany, limps off and is done for the day. He twisted his ankle. Here's Ryan Dunne. "Good points by Robin about Lose Yourself. Note also that if a Stoke player's 'palm are sweaty, knees weak and arms are heavy' then surely that would make long throws difficult? I wonder if Lose Yourself is popular at posher clubs, or if Arsenal (say) take issue with the fact that it's not called 'Lose Oneself'.


31 min: Whelan volleys wide for the second time in the game. "With Dzeko playing as a winger," starts Rich Playton. I should point out he's wandered back to his usual position now. "I was wondering about other players whose look out of position in their, um, position. Jorge Campos is a good one: a four foot five goalkeeper."

29 min: Joleon Lescott has shaved his stubble right up to his jawline. It's not a good look and distracting. Distracting enough that Shawcross is allowed some space to put the ball in the net. It's disallowed for offside.

27 min: Dzeko puts in a cross but he assumes everyone else is as tall as him – they're not, Edin – and it goes over Tevez's head.

25 min: Dzeko has been playing as a winger for the last few minutes. A very odd looking seven-foot tall winger but a winger nonetheless.

23 min: All City at the moment. A great ball from Dzeko and after a few rebounds and half-tackles, the Ball comes to Tevez who shanks it high and wide.

20 min: Silva smacks the post with a brilliant curling shot. Sorensen just stares at it with his mouth agape. As did I. Here's Robin Sebastian Fjeldstad: "Surely Eminem's 'lose yourself in the moment, you own it, you better never let it go, you only get ONE SHOT, do not miss your chance to blow, this opportunity comes ONCE IN A LIFETIME, yo' is a bit redundant when Stoke City participate in the FA Cup every year?" Unless, it a critque of Stoke's attacking play. Although they've had two shots in this match, so they're making a nonsense of Eminem's naysaying.

17 min: City have a free-kick on the far right of the pitch, level with the edge of the area. Kolarov sends it straight into the arms of Sorensen. That's two anti-climaxes Aleksandar, you're breaking a lot of kids' hearts.

14 min: Huth heads over from the corner.

13 min: Man City have enough tall players at the back to deal with the fabled Stoke Physical Threat but they're happy to slice and dice the hosts in attack, and Silva has been putting together some nice moves. Whelan's volley is deflected for a corner. Ryan Dunne has come up with more Stoke/Detroit similarities: "Not to mention that Tony Pulis (T-Pull?)'s baseball cap is, like Detroit, pretty hip-hoppy!" And, yes, hip-hoppy is a real word.

10 min: Not to mention that Tony Pullis (T-Pull?)' s perrenial baseball cap is, like Detroit, pretty hip-hoppy!Free-kick to Man City about 30-yards out, in the centre of the pitch. It's obvious Kolarov territory and there's a slight sense of anti-climax when he hoofs it over.

8 min: Tevez forces a good save from Sorensen at his near post. "I've never cancelled a season ticket, but I did once write a letter of complaint to British Rail (this was a long time ago), and received a travel voucher worth 25 pounds," writes Mac Millings. "It's still, 20 years later, the most I've ever been paid for my writing." And, in these straitened times, more than I've ever been paid too.

5 min: Stoke have their first real attack of the match. Kightly releases Shotton, whose right-wing cross doesn't like foreigners but also goes nowhere near the area.

3 min: Stoke have a nice sit down while Man City come forward and Silva is given plenty of time to take aim and shoot over. "Obviously loyal and true Glorious Glasgow Rangers fans like me don't have personal experience of cancelling a season ticket," says Ryan Dunne, "but surely the way to do it is leap on the pitch and rip it up in front of the dug-out?"

1 min: We're off. Stoke listen to Lose Yourself by Eminem in the tunnel. Detroit-Stoke isn't quite as ridiculous a comparison as it first seems. Both are snowy cities with downturns in their local industries. And Detroit has Eminem but Stoke hits back with Slash.

"It's 7:30am on the east coast of the States and I'm up extra for an early dentist appointment," says Gabriel Deleon. Let no one say American dentists don't work hard. "I'm also stopping by the New York Red Bulls office to refund my season ticket. I was never compensated for the playoff game that was postponed in November. Thursday they exposed my SSN over email so I think I'm done with the club. Have you or anyone else ever cancel a season ticket?"

If you want a spot of nostalgia, Steven Pye has produced this on the FA Cup fourth round back in 1985. As Steve tells us: "A round in which Arsenal lost to York (to my embarrassment), Tottenham failed to end their 73-year Anfield hoodoo, and Telford made it through to the Fifth Round."

Michael Owen on his season so far: "The season hasn't gone the way I wanted it to because I have hardly played, hardly scored and haven't really been involved in the season at all as yet."


Both teams rest their first-choice keepers. I've never really understood the reasons for resting a keeper. Surely it can't be that tiring to play in goal compared to midfield? Unless it's more a mental fatigue that the managers want to soothe.

There was heavy snowfall in Stoke last night but the pitch has been cleared and the match will go ahead. ITV's pre-match montage goes perilously close to asking whether Man City can do it on a snowy Saturday afternoon in Stoke.


Stoke City: Sorensen; Shotton, Shawcross (c), Huth, Wilkinson; Kightly, Whelan, Nzonzi, Etherington; Walters, Jones. Substitutes: Nash, Owen, Crouch, Adam, Whitehead, Upson, Jerome.

Manchester City: Pantilimon; Zabaleta, Kompany (c), Lescott, Kolarov; Milner, Garcia, Barry, Silva; Dzeko, Tevez. Substitutes: Hart, Sinclair, Aguero, Rodwell, Clichy, Rekik, Lopes


Afternoon. And welcome to the replay of the 2011 FA Cup final, the game that launched Man City's Premier League title bid the next season. Well, that and a lotof money. For Stoke's manager Tony Pulis it's a game that still grates:

"I had the family around me, so we went out and had something to eat after the game" he told This is Staffordshire. "You cannot be walking with your head up your backside with your two daughters around." It's true, what if they asked Tony an important question and they couldn't hear his answer because of the body-fat insulation?

Match pointers

Stoke have won seven and drawn two of their past nine home FA Cup matches

• City are unbeaten in their past seven meetings with Stoke in all competitions, winning four times

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