Trending now:   Manchester United  •  Arsenal  •  Liverpool  •  Chelsea  •  England U21  •  Barcelona  •  Brazil  •  Real Madrid  •  Colombia  •  Germany

Manchester City

Teams /  England  / Manchester City 
Manchester City have 2,893 Fans
 
 
 
 
 
Matthew Etherington's injury-time equaliser denies Manchester City
Joe Lovejoy at Britannia Stadium - 4 years ago

The Northern Softies did not deserve to win, but seemed to have done so when Micah Richards scored his first goal for 10 months. Unfortunately for Roberto Mancini and his fairweather team, stout-hearted Stoke are never beaten until the final whistle and deservedly equalised two minutes into added time through Matthew Etherington.

Manchester City took one look at the Britannia tundra and emerged with gloves on. Tony Pulis and company are made of sterner stuff and had their sleeves rolled up, metaphorically at least. In the first half, Mancini's foreigners were in dilettante mode, going about their work as if they would rather be anywhere else. The City manager sought to excuse them on the dubious basis that it was "difficult" to play football on a less than perfect surface and against Stoke's "long ball, long ball, long ball."

It was a spurious argument. Manchester United and Tottenham have both won here, and teams with title aspirations need to overcome such obstacles if they are to be taken seriously.

The goals were a long time coming, but both were well worth waiting for.

Playing his ninth game of the season only because Pablo Zabaleta was suspended, Richards received from James Milner in the inside-right channel, where he executed the sweetest of turns to lose Danny Collins before shooting with cool precision into the far corner. The finish came as a reminder that, at 22, the former England right-back still has time on his side when it comes to adding to his 12 caps.

Stoke's equally smart equaliser was set up by Tuncay's lovely sleight of foot, the Turk's clever backheel letting in Etherington on the left, from where the winger beat Joe Hart with slide-rule precision. Long ball dross? Hardly.

Stoke were unchanged in pursuit of a fourth consecutive win, Mancini made three changes after the 4-1 victory at Fulham. Richards for Zabaleta was one, the others saw Milner back for Yaya Touré, who was injured, and Mario Balotelli restored up front. Jô, relegated to the bench, got on at the death, providing the collectors' item Jô [90].

City were palsied in the first half, and Mancini's claim that they had "played very well and deserved to win" was ludicrous. As Pulis observed: "What game was he watching?"

Thirty-five minutes had elapsed before City produced their first worthwhile strike at goal. In contrast, Stoke were constantly on the front foot and threatened regularly. Their persistence would have been rewarded had Ricardo Fuller summoned the accuracy an inviting through pass from Kenwyne Jones merited. Fuller, Etherington and Jermaine Pennant all spurned decent opportunities in the first half, prompting Pulis to say: "At the interval I was desperately disappointed not to be winning the game. When you're playing against one of the best teams in the league, you have to take your chances, and that's one thing we need to improve."

City improved in the second half, but Stoke defended with steely determination and might have taken the lead after 77 minutes when Milner blocked Jones's close-range contact on the goalline. It was City who did score four minutes later, but the Blue Moonies started singing too soon. Justice was done with Etherington's second goal of the season.

Helped by a translator, Mancini whinged nonsensically, leaving it to Pulis to supply a fitting summary.

The no-nonsense Welshman said: "You can have all the money in the world, and the top players, but a team playing against you as a team ? playing as one ? takes a lot of beating."

THE FANS' PLAYER RATINGS AND VERDICTCHRIS BALDWIN, Stoke.VitalFootball.co.uk When they scored, most people probably thought, "Well, that's it" but we kept going. It would have been a shame not to get anything out of the game because we deserved to be winning at halftime. A draw was a fair result, although if we'd taken our first half chances we might have sneaked it. Whitehead and Shawcross had good games and Pennant played really well. It was a shame he went off. I think that was one of the reasons it changed second half. I was half-expecting a goal when they scored, as they'd been pressing. Man City are a good side but it's difficult to come to Stoke - plenty of teams have proved that.

The fan's player ratings Begovic 7; Wilkinson 7 (Wilson 63 6), Huth 6, Shawcross 8, Collins 6; Pennant 7 (Tuncay 46 7), Whitehead 8, Delap 6, Etherington 7; Jones 6, Fuller 7 (Walters 75 6)

ENA PARKINSON, Observer reader The problem with following City is that it's angels and demons. You go to Fulham and destroy them, then in the first half today they were banging into each other as if they've never played together. You still don't know which City side will turn up. Look at Richards. Having scored a brilliant goal, he then became a demon with a stupid, unnecessary tackle that resulted in the free-kick that brought their goal. We really missed Zabaleta today, but Silva is a magician. Someone said to me last week, 'Let's see how he does at Stoke' and he IS tiny, but he wasn't bullied off the ball. He'd be the first one on my teamsheet every week - even before Tevez.

The fan's player ratings Hart 5; Richards 4, Toure 5, Kompany 6, Kolarov 6; Silva 7, De Jong 6, Barry 5, Milner 3 (Johnson 82 n/a); Tevez 7, Balotelli 5 (Jo 89 n/a)

To take part in the Fans' Verdict, email sport@observer.co.uk

This is not a news report and may contain views expressed by the author which are not supported by GNM.

Share your thoughts

Latest News, Blogs & Podcasts

Newspapers
 
Blogs
 
Podcasts
 
MCFC News - 6 hours ago
Karen Bardsley has been charged by The FA for violent conduct following an on-field incident which was not seen by the match officials but caught on video.
MCFC News - 8 hours ago
Nick Cushing praised his side’s defensive control but admitted the weather made for a frustrating opening to the FA Women’s Super League campaign.
• Kolarov: ‘I’d like to return to Italy, but it’s difficult’• Serbian could be on the way out in City clear-out• The Rumour Mill: Emmanuel Adebayor to ChelseaThe Manchester City defender ...
Manchester City - 9 hours ago
Manchester City defender Aleksandar Kolarov admits a return to Italy appeals to him.
Manchester City - 9 hours ago
Manchester City defender Aleksandar Kolarov admits a return to Italy appeals to him.
Manchester City are steadily improving their youth team set-up with players like Brandon Barker, pictured, impressing in the UEFA Youth League. When Manchester City were subject to a shock ...
Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini speaks after his team's 3-0 victory over West Brom  ...
MCFC News - 12 hours ago
A slightly reduced loan watch this week as Europe’s top leagues all took a week-long hiatus for the international break.
MCFC News - 13 hours ago
The Ticket Office and Supporter Services opening hours for the Easter Bank Holiday are as follows...
Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini speaks after his team's 3-0 victory over West Brom Manchester City's form has them set to finish in 5th place this  ...
MCFC News - 15 hours ago
City are this morning being linked with a quadruple Serie A swoop as the transfer rumours shift up a couple of gears.
MCFC News - Yesterday
Of the four internationals played on Sunday involving City players, Aleksandar Kolarov’s Serbia were the only nation playing a European Championship qualifier.
The Manchester City midfielder's brother, Kolo, has already quit the international scene and the former Barcelona man could follow suit
Manchester City - Yesterday
Leeds United are the worst behaved fans in Britain, according to a survey with Manchester United and Manchester City also included in the list of shame.
Manchester City's Yaya Toure says he will decide about his international future with the Ivory Coast this week.
MCFC News - Yesterday
City Women were forced to settle for a point in the first game of the new FA Women’s Super League season after a hard-fought stalemate with Birmingham City Ladies.
Manchester City - Yesterday
Edin Dzeko is surplus to requirements at the Etihad but his prayers may well have been answered, in spectacular fashion, by the Camp Nou.
Manchester City - Yesterday
Chelsea and Manchester City are set to fight it out for Everton star Ross Barkley, but will need to shell out £50m for his services.
MCFC News - Yesterday
It’s not a headline City fans will want to read but according to the Sunday Mirror, James Milner could be on his way to Merseyside this summer – with Everton’s Ross Barkley lined up as a replace ...
Midfielder was helpless from the comfort of his suite as he watched New York City FC lose 1-0 to Sporting Kansas City

Latest Photo Galleries

4 years ago
Our award-winning photographer Tom Jenkins is at the game to bring you all the action from the first Manchester derby of the season
4 years ago
All the best images from tonight's Europa League matches featuring Liverpool and Manchester City
4 years ago
Tom Jenkins's best pictures from today's clash at Eastlands
   
Kick4Life - changing lives through football