A Kenwyne Jones header earned Stoke a well-deserved point against Everton as the Potters kept up their fine home record, but Marouane Fellaini is likely to face disciplinary action for a headbutt on Ryan Shawcross that went unpunished.
The result means Stoke have now gone 15 games unbeaten at the Britannia Stadium, while also having conceded just three goals there this season.
The home side, however, gifted their opponents the lead when Shawcross diverted Steven Pienaar’s dangerous delivery into the top corner, leaving Asmir Begovic with no chance.
Stoke came out fighting in the second half and were rewarded for their efforts when Jones equalised not long after the break with a thumping header as he rose to meet Shawcross's long ball forward to find the bottom corner.
Stoke continued to up their performance levels but as the match went on both sides' chances started to dry up, with the main talking point Fellaini's vicious headbutt on Shawcross which is likely to attract the FA's attention, even if referee Mark Halsey missed it.
Everton started by far the brighter, playing some lovely passing football, and they were nearly rewarded when Seamus Coleman picked out Nikica Jelavic in the box. However, Shawcross was there to put in an important block as he got in the way of the striker’s goal-bound shot.
Stoke took a while to get going but their direct style soon started to take effect and they begun to peg the visitors back, with both Matthew Etherington and Jones attempting shots from distance.
The home side should have taken the lead when Jonathan Walters knocked back Glenn Whelan’s corner across goal to the unmarked Steven Nzonzi but he could only head straight at Tim Howard.
Everton fought back and should have taken the lead themselves only for Shawcross to clear Steven Naismith’s chipped shot over Begovic off the line. The Potters captain soon went from hero to zero though just minutes later as his header opened the scoring for the visitors.
And the away side should have doubled their lead soon after when Leighton Baines picked out Leon Osman in the middle of the box, only for the midfielder to shoot wide when he had all the time in the world to compose himself.
Stoke came out fighting in the second half and were nearly rewarded immediately only for Charlie Adam to fail to connect with a volley from close range following a long ball into the box. Moments later, though, their pressure was made to count as Jones converted his header, leaving Howard with no chance.
Jones nearly doubled his and his side’s tally soon after when he flicked Whelan’s long ball past Howard. Phil Jagielka, however, closed him down and the striker could only send his effort wide of the post.
A stunned Everton eventually clawed themselves back into the game and came close twice as Pienaar’s delivery was flicked wide by the boot of Jones before Begovic made a good save to deny Jelavic.
Then a major turning point in the match came as Fellaini headbutted Shawcross, with the Stoke captain tumbling to the ground. Referee Halsey failed to spot it though and the Everton man was lucky to remain on the field.
With Tony Pulis sensing his side could in fact take all three points he sent on Cameron Jerome and Peter Crouch. The pair soon made a real impact as a mistake from Darron Gibson gifted the ball to Jerome, who shot first time only for Howard to make the save. Crouch followed up with the rebound but Sylvain Distin was there to head clear off the line.
As the game continued both space on the pitch and chances became a premium and the game became destined to end all square – a result that was probably fair in the end.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Kenwyne Jones (Stoke) - The striker put in a real shift, working hard all day and constantly causing Everton's defence real problems. Scored a cracking goal and could have easily doubled his tally.
STOKE CITY: Begovic 7, Cameron 6, Shawcross 7, Huth 7, Wilkinson 7, Walters 6, Whelan 7, Nzonzi 6, Adam 5, Etherington 7, Jones 8. SUBS: Jerome 7, Crouch 6, Kightly 5.
EVERTON: Howard 7, Coleman 6, Baines 8, Jagielka 7, Distin 7, Naismith 5, Gibson 6, Osman 6, Pienaar 8, Fellaini 5, Jelavic 6. SUBS: Barkley 5.
- Sports & Recreation
- Kenwyne Jones
- Ryan Shawcross
- Marouane Fellaini