Stoke City and Manchester Untied played out a 1-1 draw in the first English Premier League encounter of 2015 at the Britannia Stadium on Thursday. The home side opened the scoring as early as the second minute when Ryan Shawcross volleyed in a Peter Crouch header to give the Potters the lead. United looked like they were struggling defensively after conceding and could have gone two down when Mane Biram Diouf bullied Jonny Evans off the ball with only David De Gea to beat but he was not able to find the back of the net.
The visitors struggled to get past the Stoke defence as they put many men behind the ball but after some persistent play they were able to net their equaliser, ironically from a set piece of their own, when Radamel Falcao turned in a Michael Carrick flick. Both sides looked to get ahead in the game with attack after attack but neither was able to break the deadlock before the half-time break. In the second half Louis Van Gaal’s men looked to up the tempo of the game and take control as they put pressure on the hosts with two attacking set pieces however they were not able to breach Asmir Begovic’s goals.
Mark Hughes’ men on the other hand came mighty close to taking the lead in the 70th minute when a Crouch header just clipped the post and the rebound was thumped away by Robin Van Persie. In the final minutes both sides pressed for the winner but were unable to find a way through as the game finished 1-1.