Peter Crouch’s first goal for Stoke City earned a point against Barclays Premier League leaders Manchester United in an enthralling contest at the Britannia Stadium.

Nani had earlier given the visitors a half time lead with a fine individual effort, as David De Gea’s heroics kept Stoke at bay.

But come the second half the Spaniard was powerless to stop Crouch, who powered a header home from Matthew Etherington’s corner.

Without Wayne Rooney, and for most of the game, Javier Hernandez, who went off injured after an early clash with Jonathan Woodgate, United were under pressure immediately, with The Potters' physical approach troubling the away side’s defence.

United eventually come to the fore just before the half hour mark, as Nani exchanged passes with Darren Fletcher, turned past Woodgate, and fired past Asmir Begovic.

Their lead should have lasted less than a minute, but De Gea’s exceptional save from Andy Wilkinson’s wicked volley, kept United ahead at the break.

After seven minutes of the second half, Stoke's pressure finally told, as Crouch rose to head his first Stoke goal since his deadline day move from Tottenham Hotspur.

The England forward should have doubled his tally just a minute later, but the frame of De Gea kept him at bay, as Stoke showed few signs of signs of tiring despite their midweek Carling Cup exploits.

The league leaders offered precious little in the second 45 minutes, with Ryan Giggs’ late volley, which went harmlessly wide, the closest Sir Alex Ferguson’ side came to salvaging a sixth successive win of the season.

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