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Stoke 2 – 2 M’boro

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D’Margio Wright-Phillips struck an added-time equaliser for Stoke as they snatched a 2-2 draw at home to Middlesbrough.

Former England centre-half Phil Jagielka’s own goal – on his 40th birthday – looked set to hand Boro all three points.

But with Chris Wilder’s side ready to celebrate their first victory of the season, 20-year-old sub Wright-Phillips – grandson of former Arsenal striker Ian Wright – showed the family finishing skills to snatch a point in injury time.

Jacob Brown’s second goal of the season put City in front before Duncan Watmore made it 1-1.

Watmore stole ahead of Jagielka to level the scores after 38 minutes and then forced the defender to put through his own net after 63 minutes.

Both teams kicked off in the bottom six with Boro kept out of the relegation places only on goal difference from West Brom and Luton.

Boro they made the early running, creating a half chance for Ryan Giles in the first 12 seconds and then forcing three successive corners.

So, it was against the run of play when Brown side-footed City in front after 18 minutes.

Boro were convinced Jordan Thompson fouled Isaiah Jones in the Stoke half. Instead, referee Michael Salisbury allowed Dwight Gayle to break on the back-pedalling visitors’ defence.

Gayle acrobatically attempted to convert Will Smallbone’s cross as Stoke searched for a second.

But it needed Joe Bursik’s legs to deny Riley McGree an equaliser from the latest run and cross by Giles.

If Boro felt hard done by, they had a let-off after 36 minutes when Thompson’s lofted cross finished in the back of the net. Referee Salisbury this time adjudged Gayle had fouled keeper Zack Steffen.

But it was all square seven minutes from the break. Jones supplied a low cross to the near post for Watmore to nip ahead of Jagielka to equalise.

McGree should have made it 2-1 after 48 minutes but failed to hit the target with a side-foot attempt from Paddy McNair’s pull back.

Marc Bola was more accurate, but Bursik turned away his low shot for a corner as Boro continued to dominate.

And their attacking approach was rewarded as Jagielka turned in a Giles left-wing cross. Middlesbrough, however, couldn’t find a third goal.

Even when skipper Lewis Baker missed a great chance to equalise, Stoke kept pressing and Wright-Phillips converted from close range from Baker’s assist.

What the managers said…

Stoke’s Michael O’Neill: “He was a bit unlucky. I think the ball hit his trailing leg. But I thought he did very well. It is not easy playing against Duncan Watmore who is running in behind. Jags is defying father time and he showed he is still a quality player.

“His appetite for the game is that of a 21-year-old; even how he trains. Normally when you get a player of that age, he may train one or two days a week. But he wants to train every day, so you must put the reins on him. The reason he is still playing is because he has a love and enthusiasm for the game.”

Middlesbrough’s Chris Wilder: “We all back our teams and sometimes look through rose-tinted glasses. I am a balanced guy in terms of stats and how I see things. But I never felt one bit of pressure all night. You expect it in the Championship, you expect it when you come away to a big club in the Championship like Stoke City are. But even the most ardent and passionate Stoke supporter, when they put their head on the pillow, will wonder how their side hasn’t got beaten and beaten comfortably.

“We can look at ourselves and say we haven’t put them to bed. But I have been in the Championship a few years and don’t think I have ever come away having dominated with any team to the extent we dominated. I believe the way we were playing we had the ability to take it from two to three from three to four. That would then end up a comfortable night and reflect the flow of the game.”



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