MICHAEL KIGHTLY made a spectacular start to his Stoke City career as his new club had to settle for another draw in their final pre-season game against Sp Vgg Greuther Furth in Germany.
The England Under-21 international, who completed his move from Wolverhampton Wanderers earlier this week, scored with his first touch as the Potters took an early lead against the Bundesliga newcomers.
But for the fourth successive pre-season fixture, City had to be content with a share of the spoils after Bernd Nehrig scored from the penalty spot shortly before half time following a foul by Matthew Upson.
While Kightly wasted no time in making his mark, the game was also notable for an impressive performance from another new boy, American international Geoff Cameron after he was granted a work permit.
Cameron looked comfortable in both a central midfield role for much of the game and then a central defensive position in the closing stages, almost marking his debut with the winner right at the death.
Pulis seized the opportunity to bring new signings Kightly and Cameron into his line-up in the final game of their pre-season build-up ahead of the Premier League opener at Reading, while Wilkinson and Pennant were called up following their recovery from injury.
The enthusiasm of the Greuther Furth supporters, who generated a good atmosphere in the lead-up to kick-off, was soon muted by the Potters taking an early lead.
Kightly could hardly have made a better start to his City career as he latched onto an astute Crouch knock down and squeezed home his shot from a tight angle after cutting in from the left hand side where he operated in the early exchanges.
Indeed, the former Wolves man was involved in some neat inter-play moments later which paved the way for Walters to try his luck from long range, but although the striker made clean contact, his shot was too high to trouble the Greuther ‘keeper Grun.
The opening stages of the game were also notable for some neat touches and surging runs which Cameron made from the centre of midfield, although the Bundesliga newcomers had a couple of opportunities to get themselves back into the game.
In both instances, they resorted to trying their luck from long range as first Edgar Prib drew a smart save from Begovic after cutting inside from the left and then in a carbon-copy move Mikkelson forced the City ‘keeper to palm his shot over the bar.
Crouch, having set up the opening goal, then released Walters with another flick and after the Republic of Ireland international allowed the ball to run before having a shot blocked, his follow-up saw a left foot shot soar harmlessly over the bar.
Greuther had the ball in the net when Nothe converted a close range effort, but Nehrig had been flagged offside as he teed up the opportunity.
It was, however, Nehrig who got himself on the scoresheet five minutes before the break when City were penalised when defending a set-piece for the second successive game after conceding a penalty in the 1-1 draw with Yeovil on Tuesday.
This time, it was Upson who was adjudged to have fouled Asamoah as he met a right wing corner with his head, leaving Nehrig to step up and fire home the equaliser from the spot with an excellent finish that gave Begovic no chance whatsoever.
Greuther went close to going in front just before the break when Sararer cut in from the right to fire a low shot to Begovic’s left, but the giant Bosnian got down smartly and got a good hand to it to push the well-placed shot to safety.
Pulis made two changes during the half-time interval with Sorensen replacing Begovic and Whitehead coming on for Whelan in midfield.
A further switch was made shortly after break as Pennant made way for Shotton, and within seconds City put together a good move.
Cameron started and finished it, sending Walters away with an excellently-weighted through ball before advancing forward to accept a return pass. Although his left foot shot was firmly struck, it deflected off a Greuther defender to safety.
The Potters were then denied by the woodwork as Kightly threaded a pass into the path of Shotton whose first time shot across the ‘keeper hit the foot of the post. Despite his best efforts, Kightly couldn’t make the most of the rebound.
Pulis shuffled his pack again to give runouts to Jerome and Palacios in place of Wilkinson and Upson; Shotton moving to right back, Cameron dropping into the centre of defence, Walters switching to the left hand side and Kightly on the right.
Further changes followed as Crouch and Walters were also brought off midway through the half as Ness and Jones came on in their places.
With City adjusting to those changes, Greuther had the chance to go in front after Shawcross was cautioned for bringing down Nothe. Substitute Tyrala thought his curling effort was bound for the top corner until Sorensen pushed it away one handed.
The Potters also created their best chance from a free kick as Ness curled the ball into the danger zone and Cameron's clever flick forced Grun to move smartly to his right to prevent it creeping in at the far post.
Greuther almost snatched the winner with a couple of minutes remaining when City laboured in their attempts to clear the ball and Azemi was put through on goal only to sidefoot wide from the edge of the box.