For match photos, scroll to PHOTOSTREAM above left; for match stats, click on the stats tab. Manager reaction below
Stoke City and Cardiff City battled out a 0-0 draw at the Britannia Stadium to remain level on 14 points in the Barclays Premier League.
Both sides made two changes following defeats at the weekend, Marc Wilson and Marko Arnautovic returned for the hosts while Declan John and Aron Gunnarsson started for the visitors.
A scrappy start saw neither team impose themselves on proceedings and it was not until the 20th minute that the game had its first chance on goal. It went to the hosts as Ryan Shawcross rose at the front post to meet a Charlie Adam corner, however the defender's header flew wide of goal. Just after the half hour Stoke threatened again as Arnautovic and Adam linked well down the right, the Scot's low cross was aimed at Crouch but he was unable to bundle the ball past David Marshall.
Asmir Begovic was only tested once by Cardiff in the first half, Don Cowie fired a corner in from the right but Jordon Mutch's header was punched clear by the Bosnia goalkeeper. Cardiff threatened first after the break through Peter Whittingham, but the midfielder's free-kick was straight at Begovic and he held the ball easily.
The introduction of Stephen Ireland gave the hosts some creative spark in the midfield and within minutes of coming on he had a hand in a good opening. Ireland released Oussama Assaidi down the right and the Moroccan delivered a perfect cross to Crouch, but he could not direct his header on target from six yards. Stoke continued to press for the winner as Ireland sliced a shot wide late on, before Declan John went close to stealing a stoppage-time win when he was superbly denied by a fine save from Begovic.
Stoke City manager Mark Hughes: "I thought we did well up to a point - at the top end, which is a problem for us. But in terms of controlling the game I thought we did well we were the only team likely to win the game.
"In terms of performance I thought we stuck at it without creating too many clear-cut chances.
"We're disappointed not to win the game, I thought our performance merited that. I don't recall too many chances for them but I thought we stuck at it.
"We have got to keep our home form nice and solid, we have been decent enough but we need to take maximum points."
Cardiff City manager Malky Mackay: " I am delighted how brave we were. In this league it's about chipping away and picking up points as we go along. We've come to another very tough place, been very resilient and been well worthy of our point tonight.
"We managed to restrict Stoke, so I'm happy with my team. It (the draw) is probably fair, we had a couple of chances, but overall a draw was a fair result. And the fourth clean sheet of the season, which is something I'm delighted about."
|07 Dec 2013||v Chelsea (H)|
|14 Dec 2013||v Hull (A)|
|21 Dec 2013||v Aston Villa (H)|
|26 Dec 2013||v Newcastle (A)|
|29 Dec 2013||v Spurs (A)|
|01 Jan 2014||v Everton (H)|