Callum Robinson earns Cardiff a point from 2-2 draw at Stoke
Stoke and Cardiff showed no signs of rust from the Championship’s World Cup break as they played out an entertaining 2-2 draw at the Bet365 Stadium.
Neither side showed any sign of cobwebs after the 28-day lay-off as they battled out a fast-paced and frenetic contest.
The visiting Bluebirds notched an early opener when Ryan Wintle slotted home inside six minutes.
Tyrese Campbell’s leveller moments later sparked the Potters into life and instigated a quickfire comeback.
Manchester City loanee Liam Delap completed the turnaround with less than 18 minutes on the clock in an action-packed start.
Cardiff’s persistence in their pursuit of a second-half equaliser was rewarded with Callum Robinson ensuring both sides had to settle for a point.
After suffering defeats prior to the World Cup break, both sides started energetically and with a point to prove.
Ben Wilmot came close to handing the hosts an early advantage when he fired from an acute angle into the side netting.
And the defender’s miss was soon punished when Cardiff snatched the lead – the 10th time Stoke had conceded first in Alex Neil’s 15 games in charge.
As Gavin Whyte’s cutback dropped behind the intended Mahlon Romeu, an arriving Wintle fired in a precise opener.
Despite the Potters’ habit of conceding the first goal under Neil, the Scotsman would have been pleased by his side’s immediate reaction.
Campbell levelled proceedings within five minutes of Wintle’s opener in impressive fashion.
The forward collected a fierce Josh Tymon pass on the edge of the box, steadied himself and fired low beyond Ryan Allsop for his third strike of the season.
And their positive response did not stop there, with Delap ending his eight-game goal drought to turn the tie on its head.
A Campbell effort deflected off Joe Ralls fortuitously into the path of the on-loan youngster, who happily obliged to convert into an empty net.
Mark Hudson’s shellshocked Cardiff side rallied to find a way back into the tie in a lively encounter.
However, the Bluebirds were stifled and frustrated by an inspired Harry Souttar, who continued his impressive displays for Australia in Qatar.
The visitors came close to levelling inside the hour mark when a venomous Ralls shot deflected dangerously off Wilmot, but Jack Bonham did well to adjust and save.
Although Cardiff looked destined to suffer a third successive league defeat, their improved second-half display eventually bore fruit.
Callum Robinson returned to haunt his former Preston boss Neil as he prodded in a scruffy equaliser after Stoke failed to clear.
An unpredictable fixture threatened to take more twists when substitutes Kion Etete and Mark Harris both came close to landing the visitors a late winner.
However, neither side could be separated in an engrossing affair in the Potteries.
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.