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Bizarre Equaliser Denies City Win

Image by: Phil Greig

PUBLISHED

03:36 2nd August 2012

Tonge penalty cancelled out by Miller's last-ditch header

A BIZARRE injury-time equaliser from Kyle Miller denied Stoke City victory in the final game of their tour of the United States.


Kyle Miller managed to get his head to a clearance from Asmir Begovic and send a looping header over the stranded 'keeper from 30 yards.


The Potters had appeared to be on course for victory when substitute Michael Tonge earned and then converted an 84th minute penalty.


That was no more than City deserved when Tonge struck from the spot after they had created a number of glorious goalscoring opportunities.


But with time running out, Miller seized upon some sloppiness at the back to earn Sporting Kansas City a 1-1 draw at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park.

 

Tony Pulis was boosted by the fact that skipper Shawcross was able to take his place in the starting line-up after recovering from a knee injury while Jones was given a chance to partner Crouch in the Potters attack, meaning that Walters operated on the left.


Although City made a promising start in the scorching temperatures, it was Sporting Kansas who carved out the first opening of the encounter when Bunbury wriggled his way into a shooting position only to see his effort deflected wide of the target.


From the resulting corner, Saad’s delivery to the edge of the six yard box picked out the unmarked Dwyer who planted his header wide of the far post.


The opening passages of play were punctuated by a number of niggling fouls committed by both sides and chances were few and far between.


Walters, having gone down injured after being caught on the left knee, showed no signs of any long term effect when he burst forward past a couple of challenges and tried his luck from long range, but the well-struck shot drifted wide of the upright.


Pulis was forced into making a change in the 17th minute when Huth had to be withdrawn and Shotton was a straight replacement at right back.


The Potters carved out their best opening of the game when Palacios gained possession in the middle of the park and immediately released Jones one-on-one with Markovic, the Trinidad and Tobago international attempting to beat Kronberg at his near post with a powerfully struck effort, but only succeeding in hitting the sidenetting.


Moments later, there was another good opportunity for City to break the deadlock when Walters worked his way down the left hand side before sending over a cross for Crouch to meet with a cushioned header that shaved the top of the bar.


After those two excellent chances, City were lucky not to go behind with an opportunity which came out of nothing as Saad tried a speculative shot from long range which skidded off the surface and cannoned back out off the foot of the post.


Saad was heavily involved once again when he wriggled his way into the box and tried a left foot shot which was deflected behind for a corner.


The resulting corner saw Ellis plant a firm close range header into the arms of Begovic, but we was adjudged to have pushed Upson in the process.


The first half ended goalless with both sides have their chances, but it was soon apparent during the break that Huth was preparing to return to the action and when the action resumed, it was Shawcross that he replaced at the centre of defence.


Shortly after the restart, Pulis made a further change when Jerome was introduced for Jones and took up a position alongside Crouch in City’s attack.


The game opened up for a period as the Potters broke up a Kansas counter-attack and when Etherington threaded a pass into the path of Walters, his first touch took him clear of the defender, but Kronberg was swiftly off his line to smother the shot.


City forced another corner after persistent work by Jerome, but Etherington’s chip into the centre was glanced wide of the far post by the head of Huth.


That signalled another change by the Potters as Ness came on for Palacios and shortly after that they created another glorious goalscoring opportunity.


Whitehead delivered a free kick in from the right hand side which carried all the way through to the far post where Crouch stabbed it wide of the target.


The England striker was presented with another opportunity shortly after the hour mark when a mis-placed pass by Markovic fell his way, but his shot from the edge of the box was grasped by Kronberg moving smartly to his left in the Kansas goal.


It seemed only a matter of time before the Potters went in front and it took another excellent stop by Kronberg to take the sting out of a shot from Jerome and the ball rolled harmlessly across goal with no-one on hand to add the finishing touch.


There was a let off for City at the other end when Shotton was penalised for a clumsy challenge and Saad’s free kick from the left flashed across goal and was only inches away from Joseph getting a decisive touch at the far post.


Further changes were made by Pulis with Sidibe, Delap, Arismendi and Tonge all being given run outs in the closing stages.


For those who had been involved in the game for a long period, it was a case of taking on vital fluids in the intense evening heat.


It appeared that City had seen their best chances go begging, but then they went in front with six minutes remaining.


Tonge weaved his way into the box from a tight angle and as he shaped to cross, he had his shirt tugged by Warzycha.


Although Jerome initially picked up the ball, he left it to Tonge who calmly sent Kronberg the wrong way from the spot.


With three minutes of time added on, City looked to be on course for victory, but Miller had the last laugh with his long range header to give the home supporters something to cheer about, the goal appearing to come out of nothing.

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