Stoke City dropped two much needed points as they played out a 0-0 draw with Cardiff City at the Britannia Stadium.
Mark Hughes made two changes to the side that lost 4-0 to Everton at the weekend, bringing in Marc Wilson and Marko Arnautovic in place of Marc Munesia and Jon Walters - who missed the chance to play his 103rd consecutive game with a thigh injury.
Both teams had chances to go in front inside the opening 10 minutes with Ben Turner heading over and Stoke being awarded a free kick from 25-yards out but ultimately the chance was squandered.
The game then turned scrappy with both teams attempting to take the upper-hand, before Stoke were then denied a penalty after Peter Crouch was blocked off by Turner inside the area and referee Michael Oliver waved play on.
Asmir Begovic was called into action a few minutes later when he was forced to pull off a fine save to deny Jordan Mutch’s header from a set-piece.
Geoff Cameron thought he had broken the deadlock in the 44th minute after tapping in Ossama Assaidi’s cross but the American was denied his second goal for the club by the offside flag.
After coming back into the team, Arnautovic was trying to ensure he kept his place, but this wasn’t helped when he wildly fired over the crossbar after Cardiff failed to clear a free-kick.
Stoke were denied another penalty in the second half, Turner again bringing down Crouch but the referee was still not convinced and gave Cardiff the free-kick.
Crouch tried to make amends when he was on the end of Assaidi’s cross from the left but he couldn’t direct the header on target and it trickled agonisingly wide.
Cameron and Assaidi combined to try and ensure the three points for Stoke in the closing stages but the defender was denied by his shoddy shooting skills.
Marc Munesia was brought on late in the second-half and after seeing the defenders taking shots at goal, he struck a rebound towards goal after Arnautovic’s initial shot was blocked, but it was well wide. Stephen Ireland burst into the area and unleashed a shot moments later, but he couldn't finish for the Potters.
Stoke had a final chance when the referee awarded a free kick on the edge of the area but the goalkeeper punched the ball out and Ireland couldn’t direct the rebound on target.
Cardiff will see it as a good point to take from a game at the much feared Britannia Stadium but as Stoke look forward to a home game against Chelsea before the trip to Hull, they could be seeing out the festive period in the relegation zone.
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