26 Dec Tom Ince ends long wait to score but Stoke claim a share of the spoils
Tom Ince’s first Premier League goal since February 2014 was cancelled out by Ramadan Sobhi’s second in four days as Huddersfield and Stoke drew 1-1.
Ince, who last registered a top-flight goal with Crystal Palace, finally ended his drought with his 45th shot in the division this season in the 10th minute.
The Terriers then somehow survived a crazy period when they made four goal-line clearances in quick succession, including one sensational stop from goalkeeper Jonas Lossl, before Ramadan stepped off the bench to level on the hour mark.
The Egyptian had scored his first in the Premier League on Saturday to complete a crucial 3-1 win over West Brom and this strike was equally important in a contest where both sides felt they should have had second-half penalties.
Ince’s long wait for another Premier League goal arrived early thanks to some lax defending.
Collin Quaner reached the byline via a Tommy Smith one-two that bypassed three Stoke defenders, and his stab back was latched upon by Ince, who reacted quickest to earn his reward.
His reaction was one of relief and it was replicated on Huddersfield fans’ faces as Stoke somehow failed to find a 27th-minute leveller, thanks to a quartet of goal-line clearances and the help of the woodwork in a 20-second flurry.
Lossl saved Ryan Shawcross’ header from a Xherdan Shaqiri corner before last-gasp blocks from Jonathan Hogg and Chris Lowe kept out Kurt Zouma’s effort and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting’s back-heel respectively.
Stoke kept the attack alive, though, and Zouma’s header was flicked to Choupo-Moting by Christopher Schindler, with the Stoke forward’s overhead kick clawed off the line and onto the post by Lossl, who then smothered the rebound with a host of red and white shirts closing in.
The visitors were convinced referee Anthony Taylor was going to award the goal but replays showed around an inch of the ball had not crossed the line.
It was also a brave act from Lossl, three days after suffering a suspected broken nose when Charlie Austin kicked him in an act that later earned the Southampton striker a retrospective ban.
When he was beaten by Choupo-Moting in stoppage time, the assistant’s flag came to his rescue for a marginal offside call which was close but correct.
Ince’s strike was the 41st Stoke had conceded in the Premier League this term and the fear of more increased when Shawcross’ injury forced them into a defensive reshuffle.
Steve Mounie dispatched an overhead kick onto the roof of the net and Jack Butland saved from Rajiv van La Parra and Ince before Shawcross’ replacement Ramadan equalised.
His chance was put on a plate by Joe Allen, who ran down the left, received a pass back off Choupo-Moting and delivered a back-post cross that Ramadan converted.
Both sides chased a winner but received no help from referee Taylor with penalty shouts, much to both managers’ fury.
The Terriers’ appeals were waved away as Allen, trying to block out Aaron Mooy, went to ground and failed to hook the ball away as the Australian fell to the turf.
Shortly after it was the Potters who were left disappointed as Taylor once again remained unmoved when substitute Mame Diouf looked to have been tripped by Schindler.
Both David Wagner and Mark Hughes felt aggrieved, but would also surely have done so had there been a winner.