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Stoke 2-2 Middlesbrough: D’Margio Wright-Phillips heads late leveler

D’Margio Wright-Phillips’ celebration was even better than the goal itself

Stoke City substitute D’Margio Wright-Phillips dived to head a superb 91st-minute equalizer to rescue a point for the Potters and deny Middlesbrough a first win of the season.

After going a goal down to Jacob Brown’s strike, Duncan Watmore turned it round for Boro with his first strike of the season seven minutes before the break, then forcing the error that brought his side’s second.

But, just 13 minutes after coming on for Dwight Gayle, Wright-Phillips evaded his markers to meet skipper Lewis Baker’s teasing right-foot cross and go full length to head home unattended from eight yards out.

Stoke went ahead on 19 minutes when Gayle made a quick break and had the presence of mind to look up and pick out Brown, whose right-foot shot found the bottom right corner.

Duncan Watmore had not scored for Middlesbrough since 2 April
Duncan Watmore had not scored for Middlesbrough since 2 April

Gayle then thought he had added a second, only for Boro to be reprieved for a foul on keeper Zach Steffen.

Gayle’s second disallowed goal in as many games then proved costly when, on 38 minutes, Isaiah Jones curled over a low right-foot cross from the right touchline, which Watmore met with a neat near-post finish.

Then, on 63 minutes, Boro hit the front when Paddy McNair put over a teasing ball from the left.

Watmore and Phil Jagielka met it together at the near post – but the Stoke defender was credited with the final touch for an own goal.

On a night when Boro dominated possession and carved out more chances than their injury-hit hosts, that looked it for Stoke, especially after Baker missed a great late chance to level, but Wright-Phillips had the final word.

And, in the manner of his famous granddad Ian Wright and father Shaun, he also had the celebration to match his full-length diving header – a spectacular series of somersaults that would not have looked out of place at the World Gymnastics Championships.

who’s next?

Stoke, who are close to signing young forward Liam Delap on loan from Manchester City, are at home again on Saturday when they entertain Sunderland.

Boro are back on their travels when they go to Paul Ince’s Reading, conquerors of early leaders Blackburn.

Jacob Brown, Stoke's 14-goal top scorer last season, has now netted in successive home games this time around
Jacob Brown (right), Stoke’s 14-goal top scorer last season, has now netted in successive home games this time around

Stoke City boss Michael O’Neill told BBC Radio Stoke:

“We had to dig deep. With the injuries we’ve got we’re asking a lot of our younger players but they got their rewards.

“The fans cheered us when we scored and then booed us off but I can’t control that. The players gave us everything.

“Dwight Gayle slipped a nice pass in for Jacob Brown – and it was a very good finish. He’s keen to get off the mark and it’s frustrating for him having another goal chalked off but we had to protect him by bringing him off. He’s had to play a lot in a short space of time after not playing for such a long time.

“Their second goal goes in off Jags’ trailing leg. I’m not sure if Watmore’s got any contact. But it was a good response by us. Lewis Baker is a big character. He missed a penalty on Saturday and missed a good chance here too but it was a great ball in and a good finish by D’Margio.”

Middlesbrough boss 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. 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.”

Line-ups

Stoke

Formation 3-5-2

  • 1Bursik
  • 32taylor
  • 6Jagielka
  • 16Wilmot
  • 24Fosu-HenrySubstituted forSparrowat 78′minutes
  • 18SmallboneSubstituted forCampbellat 70′minutes
  • 8bakerBooked at 51mins
  • 7clucasSubstituted forKilkennyat 74′minutes
  • fifteenThompson
  • elevenGayleSubstituted forWright-Phillipsat 78′minutes
  • 9BrownBooked at 41mins

substitutes

  • 3Fox
  • 4flint
  • 10Campbell
  • 13bonham
  • 22Kilkenny
  • 29Wright-Phillips
  • 39Sparrow

Middlesbrough

Formation 3-5-1-1

  • 1Steffen
  • fifteenDijksteelBooked at 90mins
  • 26Lenihan
  • 27Ball
  • twojones
  • 17McNair
  • 16Howson
  • 4Mowatt
  • 3Giles
  • 8mcgreeSubstituted forCrooksat 83′minutes
  • 18watmoreSubstituted forForssat 71′minutes

substitutes

  • 6fry
  • 13Hoppe
  • 14Smith
  • twenty-oneForss
  • 23roberts
  • 25Crooks
  • 31finch

Referee:
Michael Salisbury

attendance:
18,345

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