Sam Vokes’ first Stoke City goal earned the Potters a point against Aston Villa on a day the Club paid homage to legendary goalkeeper Gordon Banks OBE.
The Welsh international striker netted his first goal since arriving from Burnley in the fifth minute, ensuring a dream start to an afternoon in which both sets of supporters joined as one in celebrating the life and career of one of our country’s greatest sons.
Vokes, rounded off a flowing move down the left , showing some speedy improvisation in flicking Sam Clucas’ dangerous ball across goal into the back of the net.
Frustratingly, his effort wasn’t enough to secure Nathan Jones a second victory as boss as the visitors earned themselves a deserved share of the spoils thanks to Albert Adomah’s second half strike.
Charlie Adam came back into the XI for the first time since suffering a calf injury last month. Jones was forced into making a change to his side with Vokes suffering a groin injury. His withdrawal paved the way for Senegalese international Mame Diouf, who hadn’t previously featured under Jones, to make a return to the action. The Potters largely dictated the tempo of the first 45 minutes with Danny Batth forcing Jed Steer into a decent save from a corner, before Adam pulled a strike from distance just wide of the target.
The second half changed however, as the visitors looked far brighter and more determined to make things happen, having played second fiddle to Jones’ men during the first 45.
Batth was twice forced into making crucial blocks to deny Tammy Abraham whilst Butland produced a fine save to thwart Jonathan Kodjia after the former Bristol City man manoeuvred just enough space for himself to pop off a shot inside the penalty area.
City attacks were sparse, with Tom Ince the only player to seriously test the Villa ‘keeper during the second half, forcing Steer into a good save down to his right after thumping McClean’s centre towards goal. For Stoke that was it as an attacking force
Jones made a couple of changes to try to regain control, introducing Ashley Williams and Benik Afobe at the expense of Adam and Ince.
Stoke would have loved all three points to round off a day that will long be remembered for the tributes to Banks, a Butland save at the end was a fitting finale to a sunny and poignant afternoon in Stoke.