Manchester United 1-1 Stoke City: Wasteful Red Devils punished by Joe Allen

Getty Images
1 Comment
  • Anthony Martial scored off the bench
  • Joe Allen equalized with 8 minutes left
  • Stoke City moves off the bottom of the table

Manchester United was the better side for much of the game, but unable to capitalize on their plethora of chances, the Red Devils left the door open for Stoke City, and Joe Allen made them pay.

United looked dangerous through much of the opening 45 minutes, but could not find a way past Lee Grant. Anthony Martial finally gave the home side an opener minutes after coming on in the second half, but without the appropriate haul from their first-half dominance, the one-goal lead was not enough.

The game started with electricity, and Manchester United had an early chance under two minutes in when Paul Pogba sprung Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but the prolific striker struck his wide-open effort right at Stoke City keeper Lee Grant.

It went the other way on 15 minutes when a brilliant touch from Ibrahimovic released Pogba, but the Frenchman’s first-time shot dragged wide. Stoke had its moments with Geoff Cameron going close just before Pogba’s miss, but it was mostly Manchester United asking the questions throughout the first half.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Grant was required again twice before the half-hour mark, first as Juan Mata looked for a chipped effort but the on-loan Derby keeper was there to acrobatically tip it over. Then, Ibrahimovic swung in a venomous cross along the end line in to Marcus Rashford from point-blank range at the near post, but the on-loan Derby keeper was there again to cut off the angle.

The second half began in a more cagey nature than we saw in the first, but Manchester United looked far less dangerous than they had for much of the opening half, and Stoke looked to take advantage. The visitors held much of the ball through the early stages of the second half, but produced little.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Finally, United had a second-half chance past 65 minutes as Ander Herrera blasted a low effort on net but it scuffed just wide left. Jose Mourinho responded by bringing Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial off the bench in favor of Mata and Jesse Lingard, and the substitutes proved immediately fruitful.

Rooney with the top of the box laid off to Martial on the left, and the young striker struck the ball beautifully into the top corner, finally beating Grant for the game’s opening goal just two minutes after entering the fray.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Following the goal, United pummeled Stoke’s goal looking for a second. Seemingly everyone had a go, but a number of the efforts were blocked and Stoke barely held on. Old Trafford came to life with United’s new-found energy, and the hosts poured forward. Grant saved a low drive from Ibrahimovic, and the pressure was alleviated.

Mark Hughes responded by withdrawing an injured Marko Arnautovic and a useless Wilfried Bony, bringing on Peter Crouch up front. Waiting for their chance, Stoke capitalized to stun United with a moment of chaos in front of goal. It all began with David De Gea spilling a long, deflected shot. It came back at the United net, coming off the bar and falling to Joe Allen right in front who struck it home to stun the home crowd.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Suddenly level, United poured forward once again. Rashford sent a perfectly weighted cross in for Pogba, but the header was denied by the crossbar. The visitors successfully navigated the four minutes of injury time, and the while the point leaves Stoke City just 19th, it does serve to pull them off rock bottom and provides a building point moving forward. For United, all three points would have pushed them into third, but with the draw, they can only move one place ahead to eighth.