STOKE CITY were stung by the predatory instincts of Mexican international Javier Hernandez as they slipped to a second successive Barclays Premier League defeat against Manchester United in the live televised match at the Britannia Stadium.
Despite Turkish international Tuncay scoring a stunning 81st minute equaliser, City's first goal in five meetings with United, the striker nicknamed Chicharito popped up with the winner three minutes from the end to seal the three points for United.
Hernandez, playing in the absence of Wayne Rooney, bagged a double on the afternoon after giving Sir Alex Ferguson's side the lead with a twisting header.
City's disappointment at not being able to hold onto a point for the second time in eight days was made all the more frustrating by the fact that they felt United should have played the entire second half with ten men following a controversial decision by Andre Marriner.
Gary Neville was lucky not to get his marching orders for a second bookable offence after bringing down Matthew Etherington when he was already on one yellow card.
Nevertheless, the Potters battled their way back and substitute Tuncay gave them hope of taking something from the game until Hernandez won it for United.
Pulis made just the one change to his starting line-up, one enforced by the suspension served by Dean Whitehead and that handed a chance to Marc Wilson.
The first threat came from United as Darren Fletcher slipped the ball through to Hernandez and after one or two uneasy moments, the City defence managed to clear.
Sorensen then had to race out of his box to clear when Paul Scholes played the ball through to Berbatov as United asked more questions of the home defence.
The situation wasn't helped by the fact that City were having to face a low sun as they defended and that was Faye's problem when he had difficulty clearing a through ball.
The Potters' first spell of pressure ended with them almost being caught on the break as United had three on two at one stage, but they recovered to clear the danger when Hernandez attempted to head a Nani cross into the path of Berbatov.
There was an anxious moment for Van Der Sar when he raced out of his box and cleared into the middle of the park. With the Dutchman well off his line, Delap had an open goal to take aim at, but his long range left shot flew tamely wide.
City were beginning to gain some momentum and a long throw-in from Delap was glanced on by the head of Robert Huth, but it was well of target.
United took the lead in the 27th minute from a well-worked corner which saw Hernandez produce a remarkable piece of finishing.
After exchanging passes with Evra, Nani sent the cross over from the right which was headed back across goal by Vidic and the Mexican managed to produce a clinical finish with the back of his head which beat Sorensen's desperate dive.
Faye looked uncomfortable in dealing with a ball through the middle and when Sorensen cleared, it hit Hernandez and flew over the bar, much to his relief.
United went close to stretching their lead just before the break when Evra found room in the box and planted a header just past the upright from Nani's corner.
There was a controversial end to the half when Gary Neville, who had already been booked for one foul on Etherington, brought the winger down again in full flight. Astonishingly, the referee didn't even see fit to speak to the former England defender.
It was perhaps not surprising in the circumstances that Neville was replaced immediately after the break with Wes Brown coming on in his place.
What added to City's frustration was that both Danny Collins and Wilson were both shown yellow cards for their first offences in the second half.
Collins' afternoon ended early when he limped off after picking up a knock in a challenge with Nani which saw him come off the worst, and he was replaced by former United defender Danny Higginbotham at left back.
While that substitution was enforced by injury, Pulis then made a further switch when Tuncay was brought on in place of Walters.
But City had a let off in the 71st minute when Berbatov burst down the left and delivered a centre that was volleyed back across goal by Hernandez, but fortunately wide of the upright.
The Potters were showing plenty of endeavour, but were struggling to create any clearcut chances as they attempted to get back on level terms.
But with 10 minutes remaining, they equalised in stunning fashion as they scored their first goal in five meetings with United.
Wilson threaded an excellent ball out to the right hand side where Tuncay advanced forward, cut inside onto his left foot and unleashed a powerful shot into the top corner.
But the joyous scenes that followed that equaliser turned to despair six minutes later when United got themselves back in front through Hernandez.
As United drove forward in search of a winner, Fletcher's deep ball into the box found Evra in space and he pushed the ball into the path of the Mexican who scored from close range.
The visitors could have added a third in injury time as Nani had a shot from the edge of the box that was pushed around the post by the diving Sorensen.