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Kenwyne Jones’s first Barclays Premier League goal in 16 months ensured Stoke emerged with a point from a 1-1 stalemate against fellow draw specialists Everton.
The Potters fell behind in the 36th minute through an own goal from captain Ryan Shawcross, who inadvertently glanced in a Steven Pienaar cross.
Jones, retaining his starting place up front with Peter Crouch again named as a substitute, equalised in the 52nd minute, heading Shawcross’s long-range delivery past Tim Howard. The previous time Jones - who also hit a post - had netted in the top flight was in August 2011.
A draw was probably a fair result for both ninth-placed Stoke and Everton, in fourth, and given that the sides had drawn eight top-flight games each this season before this encounter, it perhaps came as little surprise that the points were shared.
Everton made a lively start to the contest, with Nikica Jelavic seeing his shot from Seamus Coleman’s tee-up blocked by Shawcross in the ninth minute.
Two minutes later the visitors appealed for a penalty when Pienaar’s strike appeared to hit Glenn Whelan’s arm but referee Mark Halsey waved for play to go on.
Just after the half-hour mark, the hosts passed up a gilded opportunity when Whelan swung in a corner, Jon Walters headed the ball back and an unmarked Steven Nzonzi could only nod it into the arms of Howard.
Soon after Shawcross was on hand to hook Steven Naismith’s goal-bound attempt away from danger before Howard - making his 200th consecutive league appearance - dived to keep out a curling Etherington shot.
Stoke’s defensive record has been formidable and they had only let in two goals at home in the league this term going into this game. It was, therefore, somewhat fitting that when Everton managed to make a breakthrough, it was not a Toffees player who scored.
Instead, the ball went over Asmir Begovic and in having come off the head of the unfortunate Shawcross, who had been trying to clear Pienaar’s cross.
Having gone in front, Everton swiftly looked to go for the jugular and Leon Osman might have made it 2-0 but blasted wide from Leighton Baines’s cut-back.
Stoke appeared full of purpose after the restart and within three minutes, Howard was called into action to save a mishit close-range volley from Charlie Adam.
Another four minutes passed before the American was beaten as Jones headed in from Shawcross’s long ball into the box.
Having broken his long scoring drought in the league, Jones looked in the mood for more and moments later he dinked the ball over Howard, only to see it hit the woodwork.
Potters manager Tony Pulis shuffled his attack by introducing Cameron Jerome for Adam and Crouch for Jones and the two new men were soon in the thick of the action.
With 12 minutes of normal time remaining, Jerome found himself through on goal but his shot came off the legs of Howard, with Crouch’s follow-up lob headed away by Sylvain Distin.
As both sides threw caution to the wind late on another Potters substitute, Michael Kightly, fired off-target in the closing stages, while Pienaar followed suit at the other end.
Stoke manager Tony Pulis: “Had we gone in at half-time 2-0 down, it would have been very difficult for us to come back. I told my players to push up another 10-15 yards after the break to see how they would respond when they had to defend and we created four or five good opportunities. So we are disappointed in the end that we haven’t won the game.
“I was delighted for Kenwyne that he got the goal; it seemed to give his confidence a lift and he caused them problems until he tired late on. Once again, the supporters played a big part too. They’re like a pulse which runs through the side and they helped get us going.”
Everton manager David Moyes: "We didn't play that well today but we had a great chance to make it 2-0 before half-time through Leon Osman, but we didn't get it. I've told Tim [Howard] that I expect him to save the header from which Kenwyne Jones scores from. I'm disappointed that we didn't come away with a little bit more.
"We have been playing really well but not today. We made the wrong decisions at times; when to play and when not to play, and because of that it caught us out a little bit. We defended well and had a couple of scary moments that were brought on by ourselves, we weren’t under desperate pressure at any time. It was a hard game, credit to the lads because they kept going and made sure we got something out of it."
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|26 Dec 2012||v Liverpool (H)|
|29 Dec 2012||v Southampton (H)|
|01 Jan 2013||v Man City (A)|
|12 Jan 2013||v Chelsea (H)|
|19 Jan 2013||v Swansea (A)|