STOKE CITY’S Emirates FA Cup tie with Shrewsbury Town will go to a replay after the Potters had to settle for a 1-1 draw at the Montgomery Waters Meadow, writes Conor Shaw.
Ollie Norburn opened the scoring for the home side from the penalty spot, before Peter Crouch came off the bench to poke home the equaliser in front of the travelling contingent.
On a bitterly cold afternoon in Shropshire, Sam Ricketts’ side suffered an early injury blow and were forced into a change when experienced marksman Lenell John-Lewis went down under a challenge on the right flank. His replacement Aaron Holloway almost made an instant impact as he was fed through on goal by Rangers loanee Greg Docherty, only for the assistant referee to award offside against the youngster.
Neither side really managed to stamp their authority on the game within in the opening stages, and the Potters had their first sight of goal midway through the first half courtesy of Ashley Williams. A marauding run from inside his own half allowed the Welshman space to shoot on the edge of the area, with his effort sailing marginally wide of the mark.
Moments later and City had yet another opportunity to break the deadlock. At the other end of the park, Norburn saw his tame shot saved by Federici, which allowed the Potters to pursue a counter attack. After an impressive move forward from City, Ince forced keeper Steve Arnold into a quick reaction save with his strike from inside the area – with Luke Waterfall managing to clear the ball away from any danger.
Arguably the best chance in the first half for the Potters was squandered just minutes before the interval. Edwards burst down the right wing and sent in a pin-point cross towards the far post for James McClean – who volleyed over the bar, unchallenged inside the six-yard box.
Deep into first half stoppage time and Ricketts’ men took the lead. After a melee in the penalty area, substitute Aaron Holloway was adjudged to have been fouled by Edwards and referee David Webb awarded the spot-kick. Up stepped set-piece specialist Norburn who stroked the ball into the back of the net beyond Federici.
As the match approached the hour mark, Town should have doubled their advantage with Holloway causing more problems to the City defence. Docherty sent in an excellent cross for the 25-year-old, and with the whole goal to aim for, the striker guided his header over the crossbar.
After just four minutes on the pitch, Crouch found the leveller for the Potters. Fellow substitute Tyrese Campbell delivered the urgency his side needed to get back into the contest, and subsequently, did most of the hard work. The 19-year-old made a bursting run into the box, and lofted a cross into the area which scraped off the head of Mame Diouf. Crouch was lurking at the back post however, and bundled the ball beyond Arnold.
Despite their best efforts to find a winner in the closing stages of the encounter, City will have to face Ricketts’ side in a replay at the bet365 Stadium.