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Stoke snatch late point at Man Utd

Joe Allen

Joe Allen scored his first goal for Stoke in last weekend’s meeting with West Brom

Stoke snatched a point at Manchester United as Joe Allen capitalised on a spill from David de Gea to punish the hosts’ lax first-half finishing.

After a string of saves from Lee Grant before the break, United made the breakthrough when substitute Anthony Martial swept home a curling shot.

It appeared to be a fatal blow to a Stoke side who had rarely threatened.

But when De Gea failed to hold Glen Johnson’s shot and Jon Walters’ follow-up came off the bar, Allen poked in.

Paul Pogba rattled the bar with a header as United mounted a late siege on the Stoke goal, but Mark Hughes’ side clung on to the point that takes them off the bottom of the table.

Potters keep plugging away

Stoke have still won just once this season, but this result far outshines August’s 4-0 EFL Cup win at Stevenage.

Hughes’ side briefly looked like they could be overwhelmed after conceding the opening goal, but they recovered their composure to take the final opportunity that came their way.

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Manchester United peppered the Stoke goal with shots (see left) while the visitors were limited to fewer efforts. Shots on target shown green, blocked shots shown yellow, off-target efforts are red.

Johnson’s shot from the edge of the area took a slight deflection, but De Gea appeared to be caught between pushing the ball away and catching it and ultimately did neither.

The Spanish goalkeeper is one of the few United players whose stock has risen in the turbulent post-Sir Alex Ferguson era at Old Trafford, but he was not allowed to forget his rare error as Allen – who had missed his side’s best chance until that point – pounced.

Stoke’s resilience was rewarded and the visitors will go into their league meeting with bottom side Sunderland after the international break with renewed confidence.

Style points, but not three points

Jose Mourinho’s arrival in the summer was seen as a guarantee of improved results at Old Trafford, but his side are three points behind the total collected by predecessor Louis van Gaal at the same stage last season and are five off current leaders Manchester City.

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Pogba (no.8) was pressed forward, with his average position just behind the strikers in the graphic on the right. He had licence to roam far and wide though as his touch map on the left shows.

However, the attacking style of football – the half of United’s tradition that some feared Mourinho would fail to deliver – is began to re-emerge in a performance the Portuguese described as United’s best of the season.

Wayne Rooney, on the bench for the second league game running, watched on as his team-mates prospered in his absence in the first half.

With Ander Herrera sitting deeper, Pogba was free to push into an advanced position and his determination and vision set up a great chance for Zlatan Ibrahimovic after only two minutes, before the Frenchman slid a shot wide at the end of another incisive move.

Pogba’s enthusiasm occasionally got the better of him as he was tempted by increasingly ambitious long-range efforts, but he kept demanding the ball and came within inches of a dramatic winner.

While his improvement continues, the February 2014 decision to grant Rooney a lucrative contract until the end of 2018-19 season is likely to come under increasing scrutiny.

Straight in at number one

After Jack Butland broke his ankle on England duty in March, Stoke conceded 33 goals in 13 games, winning just one.

But in Grant, they may have found some to keep the gloves warm until Butland – who hopes to begin training next week – returns.

The 33-year-old signed on loan from Derby in August, and his start in last weekend’s draw against West Brom was his first in the league since January.

But he produced a string of superb first-half saves to keep Stoke level, getting down sharply to deny Ibrahimovic one-on-one and then plunging to his right to turn away Jesse Lingard’s effort from close in.

Allen’s late goal might grab the headlines but it would have been a mere consolation but for Grant’s heroics at the other end.

Man of the match – Lee Grant

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Grant made eight saves in the game, the joint-most by a goalkeeper in a Premier League game this season. Stoke have conceded twice in his two league games, compared to 13 in the previous four.

Stats of the day

  • Manchester United have won 13 points from their opening seven games this season; three fewer than their total at this stage of 2015-16 under Louis van Gaal.
  • Mark Hughes has failed to win his last 10 Premier League matches against Manchester United at Old Trafford as a visiting manager, drawing one and losing nine.
  • Stoke have failed to win any of their opening seven games to a top-flight season for the first time since 1973-74.
  • Anthony Martial scored his first substitute goal in the Premier League since his debut against Liverpool.
  • Martial ended a run of 10 games in all competitions without a goal for his club.
  • Joe Allen scored in consecutive Premier League games for the first time since October 2011.
  • All five of Stoke’s Premier League goals this season have come in the second half. Indeed, they are the only Premier League side yet to score a first half goal this term.

What they said:

Stoke manger Mark Hughes: “I’m really pleased with the performance we put in today. We had a good game plan and executed to the letter.

“You have to play well to get anything from Old Trafford. We were solid and looked dangerous on the break.

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Draw huge result for Stoke – Hughes

“Joe Allen was immense for us today. He has got great energy and awareness and sees things earlier than most people.

“When you come to places like Old Trafford your keeper has to have a good day and that happened. He saved many number of shots. He’s a good keeper, a good character, and we’re pleased he’s with us.

“We’re more like the Stoke that we know we can be. We’ve got players back, continuity at the back so that’s helping us. We’ve found a form and a mix of players which will help us short term, if not long term.”

What’s next?

Manchester United travel to rivals Liverpool after the international break. The teams meet at 20:00 BST on Monday 17 October. Stoke play Sunderland on Saturday 15 October.

Live Text

Match ends, Manchester United 1, Stoke City 1.

Second Half ends, Manchester United 1, Stoke City 1.

Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Bruno Martins Indi (Stoke City).

Foul by Paul Pogba (Manchester United).

Joe Allen (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Ryan Shawcross.

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Joe Allen.

Substitution, Stoke City. Phil Bardsley replaces Xherdan Shaqiri.

Paul Pogba (Manchester United) hits the bar with a header from very close range. Assisted by Marcus Rashford with a cross.

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Erik Pieters.

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Lee Grant.

Attempt saved. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Paul Pogba with a through ball.

Foul by Paul Pogba (Manchester United).

Joe Allen (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Erik Pieters.

Substitution, Manchester United. Memphis Depay replaces Ander Herrera.

Goal! Manchester United 1, Stoke City 1. Joe Allen (Stoke City) left footed shot from very close range to the centre of the goal.

Attempt saved. Glen Johnson (Stoke City) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Xherdan Shaqiri.

Anthony Martial (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City).

Daley Blind (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke City).

Substitution, Stoke City. Peter Crouch replaces Wilfried Bony.

Substitution, Stoke City. Jonathan Walters replaces Marko Arnautovic because of an injury.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Marko Arnautovic (Stoke City) because of an injury.

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Ryan Shawcross.

Attempt saved. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Erik Pieters.

Attempt blocked. Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Daley Blind.

Attempt blocked. Eric Bailly (Manchester United) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Daley Blind with a cross.

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Bruno Martins Indi.

Attempt blocked. Daley Blind (Manchester United) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Anthony Martial.

Goal! Manchester United 1, Stoke City 0. Anthony Martial (Manchester United) right footed shot from the left side of the box to the top right corner.

Attempt missed. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Marcus Rashford.

Substitution, Manchester United. Anthony Martial replaces Jesse Lingard.

Substitution, Manchester United. Wayne Rooney replaces Juan Mata.

Attempt missed. Ander Herrera (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Jesse Lingard.

Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Juan Mata.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/37465187