Butland braves broken finger to save Stoke

Jack Butland keeping the ball safe in his grasp. The Stoke goalkeeper played through the pain barrier in his side's 1-1 draw at Norwich.
Jack Butland keeping the ball safe in his grasp. The Stoke goalkeeper played through the pain barrier in his side's 1-1 draw at Norwich.PHOTO: ACTION IMAGES

LONDON • Stoke's record signing Xherdan Shaqiri set up an early opener for Mame Biram Diouf on his debut. But it was goalkeeper Jack Butland who earned the plaudits after their 1-1 draw at Norwich.

Butland produced a fine display, saving from Graham Dorrans, Nathan Redmond and Stoke old boy Cameron Jerome to earn the visitors a point in the Premier League on Saturday. The one-cap England international's performance was even more heroic given that he had broken his left index finger at Friday's training.

"Butland was excellent," conceded Norwich manager Alex Neil.

"But we should have taken at least one of those chances."

The result left Norwich, who dominated the match, in eighth place in the nascent standings, two points above Stoke, who are still waiting for their first win of the season.

Stoke manager Mark Hughes made one change to his team, with Shaqiri replacing Jon Walters.

The latter was left out of the squad following reports that he was the subject of an unsuccessful bid from Norwich earlier this week.

Shaqiri had been suspended for last weekend's 2-2 draw at Tottenham Hotspur but took less than 11 minutes to make his mark in the red-and-white stripes.

The Swiss international, formerly of Inter Milan, sent a free kick dipping into the Norwich box from wide on the right. The unmarked Diouf stooped to head home his second goal in two games.

Butland preserved Stoke's lead by rushing out to save at the feet of Steven Whittaker but Norwich equalised in the 28th minute.

Redmond's flick found Martin strolling into the Stoke box and the centre-back coolly finished between Butland's legs.

Robbie Brady threatened to put the home side ahead shortly before half-time but his free kick curled narrowly wide.

Norwich pressed on, with Jerome shooting wide and Butland tipping an effort from Dorrans onto the post before producing a superb save to parry a shot from Redmond.

Norwich continued to push, but again Butland thwarted them, repelling another long-range effort from Dorrans and then blocking Jerome's overhead kick at point-blank range.

Both sides saw substitutes squander gilt-edged chances at the death, with Joselu blazing over from close range for Stoke and Bradley Johnson doing likewise for Norwich.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 24, 2015, with the headline 'Butland braves broken finger to save Stoke'. Print Edition | Subscribe