Sam Vokes

STOKE CITY were forced to settle for a point against Championship strugglers Rotherham United on Saturday afternoon after surrendering a two-goal advantage.

Superbly taken goals from Sam Vokes and Sam Clucas had the Potters comfortably ahead at the break, before they capitulated during a hugely disappointing second 45 minutes.

Man of the match Jack Butland had already been forced into a sensational save before Will Vaulks halved the deficit with a glancing header just before the hour mark.

Fifteen minutes later the visitors were remarkably back on level terms.

This time it was Matt Crooks proving to be the hero, having only been introduced into the action a moment or two beforehand.

There was huge controversy surrounding his effort however, with the midfield man appearing to have been a couple of yards offside when he slid home at the back post.

Paul Warne smelled blood and made a couple of attack-minded changes in a bid to fashion a late winner, and it would have paid off had it not been for the late brilliance of Butland.

The stopper firstly made a decent stop by flicking Vaulks stinging effort over the bar before producing a stunning save to deny Crooks a second goal of the afternoon just six minutes from time.

There was even another late opportunity for Crooks to elevate the Millers out of the bottom three, but he got just too much on a header from eight-yards and watched it dip just over the crossbar.

Prior to kick-off Nathan Jones made two changes to his starting line-up having lost Tom Edwards through suspension and opting to drop Benik Afobe to the bench.

That meant a recall for Ashley Williams, who occupied an unfamiliar spot at right back, and Spanish maestro Bojan.

It was ironically Williams who seemingly set the ball rolling for a profitable afternoon with a stunning delivery from the right which Vokes finished with real aplomb.

Clucas then showed his predatory instincts inside the penalty area by lashing past goalkeeper Marek Rodak following good work on the left by James McClean.

However, things took a turn for the worse when Vaulks glanced home unmarked inside the Potters penalty area to drag the visitors back into the mix, before they clawed themselves back on level terms through Crooks.

It could have been an even more joyous finale for the Millers had they been able to capitalise on their late dominance, but they couldn’t find a way past Butland, who continued to enhance his credentials.