other end, Michael Carrick had a low drive blocked by Ryan Shawcross, the former United player at the heart of the Potters’ defence.
Amos’ first touch of note was a clean catch from Peter Crouch’s header following Marc Wilson’s deep cross, however referee Mike Jones found fault with the Stoke centre-forward gaining leverage on a Reds defender.
Scholes, scorer of the first goal in United’s previous home game, almost seized the same role in this contest when his turf-skimming missile was deflected narrowly off-target.
Evra, so much in the spotlight on Saturday, tried to grab some limelight when he broke into the area and went down for only half-hearted penalty appeals from the crowd, and then whipped the ball into the side-netting from United’s next attack. Stoke’s other flank came under flak from in-form Antonio Valencia but Thomas Sorensen dealt effectively with the Ecuadorian’s angled drive, diving through the forest of defenders’ legs to push the ball away.
Sorensen could only look on and pray however when Carrick fed Park and ran on to collect Berbatov’s ball into space behind the Stoke defence. The midfielder fired across the keeper but, agonisingly, his effort ran past the far post and United’s best chance of the half so far went begging.
Thankfully a better chance came along moments later, created by Scholes with his back to goal, flicking the ball into the path of Park who was upended by Pennant in the box. It wasn’t the most clear-cut of calls for referee Mike Jones and he was surrounded by Stoke players in protest. But Chicharito paid no attention, kept his head and tucked the spot-kick into the bottom left-hand corner with Sorensen diving in the other direction. Pennant was doubly punished with a yellow card for his sin.