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Match Reports

Norwich City v Stoke City

22 August 2015


NORWICH City had to settle for a point against Stoke City despite a dominant second half performance as it finished 1-1 at Carrow Road.

The Canaries found Jack Butland in fine form between the sticks for the visitors as he spectacularly denied Nathan Redmond, Graham Dorrans and Cameron Jerome after the break.

Mame Biram Diouf had nodded Stoke into an early lead but Russell Martin, with his second goal in as many games, drove his team level just before the half hour mark.

Alex Neil will have been delighted with the amount of chances City created in the second half, but would have felt hard done to see his charges come away with only a draw from Carrow Road.

The performance, however, keeps up the Canaries' positive start to the Premier League campaign, with a trip to Southampton on the agenda next Sunday.

Neil stuck with the team that won so convincingly against Sunderland last weekend, with Cameron Jerome starting against his former club for the first time.

Stoke handed a debut to their record signing Xherdan Shaqiri, who signed earlier this month in a £12m deal from Inter Milan. Ex-Canary Peter Crouch was named among their substitutes.

City went into the the game looking for their first Carrow Road Premier League points of the campaign but the Potters took hold of possession from the off and went ahead on 11 minutes.

After Robbie Brady was penalised for handball, Shaqiri stepped up to whip a free-kick into the box, where Diouf had peeled away from Tettey to steer a low header beyond John Ruddy.

Neil's team weren't controlling the ball as effectively as they had done against Sunderland but they grew steadily into the game, seeing long-range efforts from Nathan Redmond and Alex Tettey go wide of Butland's goal.

Mike Dean exercised his right to call for a drinks break midway through the half in the summer Norfolk conditions, and the rehydrated Canaries pounced for their equaliser on 28 minutes.

Seconds after he had seen an initial effort tipped clear by Butland, captain Martin was in the right place once again, collecting Redmond's excellent pass before firing beyond the Stoke 'keeper to follow up his strike last weekend.

The home crowd responded but City could have fallen behind again in embarrassing circumstances on 33 minutes, luckily Diouf was offside after Tettey had been caught out by Ruddy's short pass.

Brady's free-kick that whistled wide was the final chance of the half, and both teams went in for the break with all to play for.

HALF-TIME: Norwich City 1-1 Stoke City

City spurned two opportunities to take an early second half lead within five minutes of re-emerging.

Firstly, Jonny Howson threaded a delightful through ball to Jerome, who with only Butland to beat nudged his effort wide.

Moments later, Hoolahan was left free in the box by the Stoke defence - Brady picked him out with a pinpoint cross from the left, but the diminutive Irishman nodded the wrong side of the post.

Under intense pressure, Stoke's defence allowed Graham Dorrans space to charge into the box, and Butland produced a fine fingertip stop to deny him, and the visitors will have been relieved to come out of that period still all square.

Mark Hughes altered things by introducing Stephen Ireland and Joselu from the bench, and the game became more stretched as the half wore on.

Bradley Johnson replaced the influential Hoolahan with just under 15 minutes left on the clock, and City re-established their dominance but just couldn't force the winner.

A well-struck Dorrans effort was kept out by the inspired Butland, who also threw himself in front of a close-range Jerome effort with just minutes remaining.

Despite having two further corners in stoppage time, the spoils were shared at Carrow Road as the home side recorded their first draw of the campaign.

FULL-TIME: Norwich City 1-1 Stoke City

GOALS: Canaries: - Russell Martin (28) Potters: Mame Biram Diouf (11)

NORWICH CITY: Ruddy; Whittaker, Martin (c), Bassong, Brady; Redmond, Dorrans, Tettey, Howson (O'Neil 86); Hoolahan (Johnson 77); Jerome. Subs not used: Rudd (GK), Wisdom, Grabban, Hooper, R Bennett.

STOKE CITY: Butland; Johnson, Cameron, Muniesa, Pieters; Whelan (c), van Ginkel (Adam 79); Arnautovic (Joselu 57), Afellay (Ireland 57), Shaqiri; Diouf. Subs not used: Given (GK), Wilson, Crouch, Wollscheid.

REFEREE: Mike Dean


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