STOKE CITY survived an almighty scare by non-league side Wrexham at the Britannia Stadium on Sunday afternoon before prevailing triumphant to secure a spot in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Wrexham, the lowest ranked team left in the competition come kick-off, looked on course to record a famous giant-killing in the Potteries courtesy of Mark Carrington's superbly taken header 17 minutes from time.
However, Marko Arnautovic pegged the visitors back from close range seven minutes later before substitute Stephen Ireland turned the game on its head with a strike from 10-yards after the Dragons' backline had failed to clear their lines.
Former Manchester City man Ireland added a superbly taken second deep into stoppage time to finally kill off the spirited visitors and deny them of what they may have felt would have been a deserved replay in North Wales.
Wrexham-born Mark Hughes named a strong line-up ahead of kick-off despite making seven changes from the side that held Manchester United to a 1-1 draw on New Year’s Day.
Only skipper Ryan Shawcross, Geoff Cameron, Mame Diouf and goalscorer Arnautovic retained their spots in the eleven as Hughes utilised his squad to full affect following hectic festive schedule.