Stoke hit back to snatch last-gasp win at Bristol City
Substitute Nathan Lowe snatched a late winner as Stoke came from two goals down to clinch a 3-2 Championship victory over Bristol City at Ashton Gate.
The home side took a fifth-minute lead when Stoke dithered over clearing Kal Naismith’s near-post corner from the right and Sam Bell pounced to fire a low left-footed shot past Mark Travers from a narrow angle.
It was 2-0 after 15 minutes, Nahki Wells intercepting an under-hit back pass to Travers from Ki-Jana Hoever and taking his time before clipping a right-footed shot past the exposed Stoke goalkeeper.
Stoke reduced the arrears five minutes later, Mehdi Leris picking out the top corner with a sweet left-footed drive from outside the box.
Two minutes after the break the Potters were level, Sead Haksabanovic firing low past Max O’Leary from a Hoever cross.
The comeback was complete in the 89th minute as Lowe arrived unmarked at the far post to slot home a right-wing cross, sending the 1,600 travelling fans behind the goal into raptures.
The hosts made a fast start, Jason Knight heading over a first-minute cross from Cameron Pring and Bell testing Travers with a low third-minute shot.
They soon raced into a two-goal lead and looked to be on course for a comfortable victory, with Stoke struggling to contain the front three of Bell, Wells and Mark Sykes.
It was a bolt from the blue when Leris pulled a goal back, but for the rest of the half the visitors raised their game and had an equal share of possession.
Hoever made some amends for his earlier error by making a goal-saving challenge on Bell as the young striker looked to get on the end of a right-wing cross to the far post.
Bristol City were finding it harder to create openings, but Wells should have done better in first-half stoppage time when, unchallenged 25 yards out, he sent a wild shot high and wide.
Stoke began the second half strongly with Haksabanovic’s leveller.
Four minutes after setting up the goal, Hoever produced another timely challenge on Bell to prevent the hosts going back in front.
Home boss Nigel Pearson made a quadruple substitution after 53 minutes, sending on Andreas Weimann, Harry Cornick and Ephraim Yeboah to replace his front line and Taylor Gardner-Hickman to take over from George Tanner at right-back.
The replacements made a quick impact and Cornick went close at the end of a spell of pressure. Then Ben Pearson’s timely challenge denied Yeboah as he prepared to shoot from eight yards.
It was end-to-end stuff as Stoke’s Daniel Johnson shot straight at O’Leary and Cornick was denied by a diving save from Travers.
The match looked set to end all square, but Lowe had other ideas as he put the finishing touches to an impressive Stoke fightback.
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