Man City held to 1-1 draw by Stoke

Stoke midfielder Matthew Etherington stunned Manchester City

with an injury-time equalizer Saturday to salvage a 1-1 draw and

put the visitors further adrift in the Premier League title

race.

Etherington received a clever backheel from substitute Tuncay

Sanli and put the ball past City goalkeeper Joe Hart, who got a

hand to the ball but could not prevent it going into the net.

Micah Richards thought he had scored a late winner for City in

the 81st minute when latched on to a ball from James Milner and

rifled a shot into the corner.

City remained in fourth place with 26 points, five behind leader

Manchester United which routed Blackburn 7-1. Chelsea can go level

with United when it plays Newcastle on Sunday.

City found themselves under pressure for long spells in the

first half and were lucky to be level going into halftime. Stoke

had its first chance in the fifth minute when a long throw from

Rory Delap was flicked on by Ryan Shawcross. Jermaine Pennant got

on the end of it, clearing the bar with his effort before Delap

caused further confusion in the City penalty area.

Ricardo Fuller found himself clear following a long throw, only

to see his shot blocked by Vincent Kompany.

The home side should have taken the lead in the 16th minute when

Fuller and Kenwyne Jones played a neat one-two. Fuller was released

in the area but failed to test Hart, steering his effort wide of

the post.

City were again forced on the back foot in the 22nd when Robert

Huth cleared the bar from a good position.

The visitors launched a quick counterattack in the 31st when

David Silva released Carlos Tevez. The striker found James Milner

but the move broke down following a timely challenge by Andy

Wilkinson.

Stoke were nearly undone in the 42nd following a mistake by

Danny Collins. He played a casual back pass to Begovic, unaware

Tevez was lurking on the edge of the area. However, Begovic raced

out of his goal to divert the ball to safety.

Mario Balotelli had started the half with purpose for City and

showed good strength and pace to rattle in a shot in the 52nd that

went narrowly wide.