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Stoke City 2-2 Norwich City: Canaries on brink of Premier League despite fourth straight draw


Ashley Williams scored Stoke's first equaliser at the start of the second half.

Ashley Williams scored Stoke’s first equaliser at the start of the second half

Championship leaders Norwich City moved to the brink of promotion to the Premier League despite being held to a fourth successive draw by Stoke City.

The draw, combined with Leeds’ defeat by Brentford, leaves Norwich six points above the third-placed Whites with two games to go, and a goal difference superior by 10.

Norwich would have secured promotion on Monday had they held on after twice going ahead through Onel Hernandez’s crisp shot and Teemu Pukki’s glancing header.

But an Ashley Williams header and Tom Edwards’ unerring finish meant the Canaries still need a point from their final two games to be completely assured of their top-flight place, although it seems a formality.

Norwich’s run of four straight draws, two of which have required late levellers to rescue a point, has prevented the promotion party beginning early despite extending their unbeaten streak to 12 matches.

However, while second-placed Sheffield United have not buckled, Leeds have now lost their past two games to 10-man Wigan and mid-table Brentford, rendering Norwich’s slight stutter irrelevant.

Leeds’ loss in the late kick-off made the point Norwich collected in Staffordshire earlier on Monday even more crucial because, despite leading twice, they could quite easily have left empty-handed.

Sam Clucas wasted two great chances for the Potters, heading wide unmarked and later blazing over, both from around six yards, with the score at 0-0 and 1-1.

After Clucas’ first miss, Norwich assumed control with Stoke keeper Jack Butland foiling a close-range Pukki header before he was left helpless by Hernandez’s vicious near-post strike.

But Williams’ header from a corner again showed up the Canaries’ recent defensive shortcomings, only for Pukki to nod Norwich back in front from Mario Vrancic’s cross – the Finland striker’s 28th league goal of the season.

The lead lasted just three minutes as Edwards arrowed a fine finish into the bottom corner from just inside the area as Stoke, who remain 16th after a 20th league draw of the season, earned a deserved point.

Stoke City boss Nathan Jones told BBC Stoke:

“In the first half we showed Norwich too much respect, we sat off them – we didn’t press them and work and graft and they were able to play in front of us.

“I thought we were disciplined. They only had one chance that they scored from, so it’s not like they were carving us open in any way – it’s just we needed to be a bit more proactive and get tighter.

“We were far too passive in the first half, but second half we stepped onto them and worked harder. We showed a real desire to go and win the game, I thought we were excellent and we should have scored more than two goals today.”

Norwich City manager Daniel Farke told BBC Radio Norfolk:

“We stay 12 games unbeaten. I’m not concerned about nerves, but we have to learn the lesson out of it [the result].

“To be honest, it’s what I expect when I work with a young side. It’s not like I can press a button and the Premier League [promotion] is coming easy.

“I expect it to be the hard way, and it looks like we go the hard way. There is no need to doubt ourselves. We go again on Saturday.”

Live Text

Match ends, Stoke City 2, Norwich City 2.

Second Half ends, Stoke City 2, Norwich City 2.

Attempt blocked. Maximillian Aarons (Norwich City) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Ben Godfrey.

Corner, Norwich City. Conceded by Ryan Shawcross.

Marco Stiepermann (Norwich City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by James McClean (Stoke City).

Attempt saved. Ben Godfrey (Norwich City) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is saved in the bottom left corner.

Corner, Norwich City. Conceded by Danny Batth.

Attempt missed. Kenny McLean (Norwich City) left footed shot from more than 35 yards misses to the left.

Attempt missed. Marco Stiepermann (Norwich City) header from the left side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Emiliano Buendía with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Norwich City. Conceded by Danny Batth.

Attempt saved. Mario Vrancic (Norwich City) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Emiliano Buendía.

Attempt blocked. Jamal Lewis (Norwich City) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Moritz Leitner.

Attempt missed. Jamal Lewis (Norwich City) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Mario Vrancic.

Teemu Pukki (Norwich City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Benik Afobe (Stoke City).

Substitution, Norwich City. Moritz Leitner replaces Onel Hernández.

Substitution, Stoke City. Nathan Collins replaces Thomas Edwards.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Thomas Edwards (Stoke City) because of an injury.

Marco Stiepermann (Norwich City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Ashley Williams (Stoke City).

Emiliano Buendía (Norwich City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Ashley Williams (Stoke City).

Corner, Norwich City. Conceded by Danny Batth.

Attempt blocked. Jamal Lewis (Norwich City) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Mario Vrancic.

Attempt saved. James McClean (Stoke City) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

Attempt missed. James McClean (Stoke City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Sam Clucas.

Attempt missed. Maximillian Aarons (Norwich City) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Marco Stiepermann.

Goal! Stoke City 2, Norwich City 2. Thomas Edwards (Stoke City) right footed shot from the right side of the box to the bottom left corner.

Attempt blocked. Tom Ince (Stoke City) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.

Substitution, Stoke City. Tom Ince replaces Thibaud Verlinden.

Goal! Stoke City 1, Norwich City 2. Teemu Pukki (Norwich City) header from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Mario Vrancic.

Foul by Onel Hernández (Norwich City).

Joe Allen (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Sam Clucas (Stoke City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is just a bit too high.

Attempt missed. Joe Allen (Stoke City) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Thomas Edwards with a cross.

Christoph Zimmermann (Norwich City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by James McClean (Stoke City).

Foul by Kenny McLean (Norwich City).