Stoke City were saved from falling into the Championship bottom three by an old friend last night.
Ryan Shotton’s last-gasp block on Reds winger Adama Diakhaby stopped Nottingham Forest from storming to a 3-2 win away at Middlesbrough, with Sabri Lamouchi’s side instead having to settle for a points.
But it was so almost a defeat for Forest who, until Lewis Grabban scored a late and controversial equaliser with just five minutes left to play.
The win for Boro would have been enough for them to leapfrog Stoke, dropping the Potters into the bottom three.
But, instead, Jonathan Woodgate’s side are not just a point from safety.
Middlesbrough were on course the take the win they needed to leapfrog Stoke this evening against Sabri Lamouchi’s side – that was until the final minutes at the Riverside.
Forest took the lead on the night but found themselves behind at the break after two late first-half goals.
But the games’ main talking point came in the final moments as Grabban backed into Boro shot-stopper Arnsley Pears and with a delicate flick of his heel was able to force the ball over the line.
And it was an ex-Stoke City man who stopped Forest from winning the game as Ryan Shotton, Fenton-born, blocked a goalbound Adama Diakhaby shot late into stoppage time.
MAN UNITED FAN ON COLLINS LINKS
Premier League giants Manchester United are understood to be scouting Stoke defender Nathan Collins ahead of a potential move in the summer, according to reports in the national press .
The Red Devils have been linked with the 18-year-old before, who has built an impressive reputation despite minimal senior appearances.
The youngster has racked up nine appearances in the Championship, including the full 90 minutes in the midweek stalemate with Blackburn Rovers.
Sky Sports report that Old Trafford officials are ‘keeping an eye’ on Collins, who they see as a potential star for the future.
DIOUF ON O’NEILL AND RELEGATION BATTLE
Stoke ace Mame Biram Diouf has called for his teammates to come together ahead of what promises to be a tense final ten games of their Championship season.
The Senegal international was the nineteenth man on Saturday and travelled with the squad for their away trip to Luton Town knowing that only an injury to a teammate in the warm-up would see him do anymore than watch from the stands.
One first-team player will travel with the Potters to each and every away game knowing the same, but Diouf has explained how he does not grumble and that he must stick by manager Michael O’Neill and his teammates in every decision they make between now and the end of the season.
Diouf has made just six appearance so far this season, most recently in the club’s 2-0 win against Swansea City in January, but he has made a point of reminding O’Neill that when he is needed, he will be ready.
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DEFENDER NOT SURPRISED BY LATE PENALTY CALL
James Chester has joked – through gritted teeth perhaps – that he knew exactly what was happening when he conceded a 90th-minute penalty at Luton on Saturday.
Chester was trying to clear the ball at Kenilworth Road when Callum McManaman darted across him and made sure he went to ground to win a penalty for Luton’s late equaliser .
Chester was appearing on the BBC Five Live podcast with former Stoke City midfielder Charlie Adam , who said: “It was never a penalty, was it?
To which Chester replied: “I’m glad you’re in my corner, Charlie.”