Stoke City 2 Sheffield United 2

Last updated : 01 November 2003 By Footymad Previewer

Stoke had never beaten the Blades at the Britannia Stadium but with Tony Pulis trying to stop City's slide down the League he was hoping he could change that statistic.

In a vast contrast to last week, Stoke were bright and lively right from the kick-off and it only took them three minutes to score when Kris Commons supplied Gifton Noel-Williams from a left-sided corner.

The striker powered the ball towards goal and, despite Alan Wright's attempt to clear off the line, the linesman judged his effort to be in.

Sheffield United's back line looked brittle and came close to breaking again when Phil Jagielka's back header did not go the distance allowing Ade Akinbiyi to intercept but his lob over keeper Paul Gerrard was poor and fell wide.

The Potters did get a second goal in the first half and it was Commons and Akinbiyi that linked up perfectly again. The powerful forward flicked the ball out to the left for youngster Commons who returned the favour with a pinpoint cross for Akinbiyi who headed home into the keeper's top right corner.

The Blades came out looking a lot more prepared after the break and pulled one back almost straight away when Michael Tonge spread the play to the right side of the box for Robert Kozluk who, despite being surrounded by red shirts, got a shot away that went straight under Ed de Goey.

United's pressure crushed Stoke and in stoppage time substitute Chris Greenacre brought down Jack Lester in the box to give away the penalty which the Blades striker then stepped up himself to convert.

Stoke manager Tony Pulis said: "We were bitterly disappointed that we did not hang on until the end of the game. To give away the penalty in the last minute was a shame.

"We looked solid at the back until we lost Clint Hill, John Halls and Wayne Thomas and then we were left light for defenders. The lads deserve a lot of credit for that."